Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman

Hachiko WaitsThere is no better example of a dog’s loyalty than Hachiko Waits. Though Newman’s book is a work of fiction, it beautifully illustrates the real-life tale of Hachi, an Akita dog in Japan who is devoted to his master, a professor. Hachi becomes accustomed to walking with his master to the train station each day to see him off, and returning each afternoon to accompany the Professor home again. One day, however, the Professor does not return and Hachi refuses to leave the station, his eyes searching every train that arrives. Eventually, the stationmaster learns that the Professor has unexpectedly passed away at work and the stationmaster, and several other locals, attempt to adopt Hachi. Hachi will not be deterred, however, and continues to return to the station every day at 3pm to search the passengers. He does this for almost 10 years, always waiting for his master.

Soon the Japanese and then the international media pick up the story of Hachi, who becomes a symbol of devotion and love and loyalty. People come from all over the world to rub his head for good luck and bring him treats. When he dies, a statue is erected at the train station (a copy of which can still be seen today; the original was melted down during WWII). To this day, April 8 is celebrated in Shibuyo Train Station as Hachi day, to remind people of enduring fidelity.

Numerous books and movies have been made celebrating Hachi over the years. One such movie is Hachi: A Dog’s Story, starring Richard Gere, available at PRPL.

Posted by: Cindy

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