Canine sentry – around the world

Snow Dog – Belle Isle, Detroit, Bill Schwab
(From Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Group)

Seeing this evocative image sent me on a mental journey half way around the world – to Tokyo, where a famous sculpture of a faithful dog resides. In the 1920s, Hachiko, an Akita, met his owner Professor Ueno every day at the train station as he returned from teaching at the University of Tokyo. Even after the professor took ill and passed away at work one day in 1925, Hachiko returned every day for ten years to the station, waiting for his owner. Hachiko became famous throughout Japan for his devotion, and in 1934 a bronze sculpture in his likeness was erected at the Shibuya station where he kept sentry. Today, the exit closest to Hachiko’s sculpture is known as the “Hachiko exit,” and is a very popular meeting spot.

I walked by Hachiko’s sculpture many times on my last trip to Tokyo, but now I can’t help but wonder – is the “Hachiko exit” sacred ground for any of the hundreds of young people milling about the sculpture waiting for friends? And what is the story behind this sculpture of a dog on Belle Isle, braving the snow here so patiently? I would really like to know its history.
Thank you, Bill, for posting this photo.


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