The warm smiles soothing our heart, large body with triangle-shaped pointed ear, and bushy fur developed to adjust winter climate… The Akita-inu is Akita local dog which is considered a national treasure. Today, we will rediscover Akita-inu from various aspects.
The hidden story of Hachi
The most famous character of Akita-inu is its faithfulness to the owner. Behind its popularity as a faithful dog, there is a hidden story about one Akita-inu named “Hachi.” The university professor Eizaburo Ueno got one Akita-dog in 1924 and named him Hachi. They started to live together in Shibuya, but their peaceful life suddenly came to an end in 1925 when Ueno died of illness. After losing his owner, Hachi was sent around from one owner to another, and then finally came back to Shibuya two years after Ueno’s death. From around this time, he started to go to Shibuya station often to meet his owner who will never come back. No matter how the weather is, he kept going to the station. Sometimes he was bullied by passengers or other dogs, but he never tried to leave there for over 9 years. In 1935, he passed away at 13 years old. (90 old in human beings) Lots of people extended their sympathy to him and he became commonly famous as “Hachi-ko.” His story has been written in many books and filmed in TV programs or movies again and again. It was filmed even in Hollywood as “HACHI, A Dog’s Tale.” The bronze statue of Hachi in Shibuya which was built to remember Hachi is famous among Japanese as a meeting spot. There is another bronze statue in Odate, Akita since Hachi is originally from there.The origin of Akita-inu
There are little known facts about the origin of Akita-inu. First of all, it is said that the original breed of Akita-inu is the hunting dog called “Matagi-inu” which served Matagi, the traditional bear hunter in Akita. Then, later it crossbred with local fighting dogs to generate larger dogs. The characteristics as a fighting dog are still seen in Akita-inu in their large body or high physical ability.Popularity of Akita-inu
It is said that keeping Akita-inu needs readiness and experience because of its natural character of strong cautiousness to foreigners and aggressiveness derives from natural instinct to protect him/herself and owner. Some self-governing body even suggests owners to keep Akita-inu inside of cage. But still, its charming looks and loyal character are popular among dog lovers. Some companies, organizations, and universities in Akita introduce Akita-inu for the design of their logos or Mascot characters. When you visit Akita, you may have a chance to see Akita-inu.