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Of bronze dogs & fidelity

Published Oct 27, 2022
Updated Nov 03, 2022

📍 Hachiko Memorial

We’re a part of art history that unfolds around us! Humans and their best friend (dog) is not only cherished as photographs, paintings, and stories, but also as statues for public art. The bronze statue of Akita dog named “Hachiko” stands as a cherished memory of the dog. Hachiko was Prof. Ueno’s domestic pet, who would wait for his owner by the Shibuya station. His loyalty and dedication are remembered for the dog would wait every day for nine years even after the owner’s death.

“Never mind, said Hachiko each day. Here I wait, for my friend who’s late. I will stay, just to walk beside you for one more day.”― Jess C. Scott, Skins, (paraphrased from Hachiko Waits and appears in) Animal Stories

The story has influenced several books, adaptations as movies and theatre performances.

But the art history of Shibuya statue highlights the history of Japan’s public and their sentiments for Hachiko. Originally cast in 1934 (before the dog Hachiko’s death), the bronze statue was used for its metal during the world war II. A new statue was commissioned in 1948. Two more Hachiko statues draw tourists in Japan. One statue was erected at Tokyo university and yet another one at the Hachiko’s hometown. Hachiko’s statue at Shibuya indeed stands at a confluence of an endearing story, memorialisation, and public art. 

____ Sources ____ 


>> Hachiko Waits: Leslea Newman, 2004

>> Skins, Animal Stories - Jess Scott, 2011

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