Hachi fans will be delighted to learn that on March 8th, a new Hachiko statue will be unveiled! The bronze memorial will be erected on the University of Tokyo campus where Hidesaburo Ueno (1871-1925), a professor of agriculture once taught.
The most famous Hachiko statue is at Shibuya Station, and is one of the most popular meeting places in Japan. It depicts Hachiko patiently waiting for his master's return. The original statue was erected in 1934, but was melted down for its much-needed metal during the war. It was replaced in 1948 and still presides over the Shibuya Station entry.
This latest statue, conceived by the Agricultural department of the University of Tokyo, highlights professor Ueno’s accomplishments in agricultural engineering, and depicts the joyful affection between the two friends.
Professor Ueno's advances towards the technology of arable land readjustment and drainage was utilized for the imperial capital revival after the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. Ueno died of a cerebral hemorrhage in May 1925 while giving a lecture.
A fundraising effort on the Internet raised about half of the targeted 10 million yen ($99,000) so far, and the group asked Tsutomu Ueda, a sculptor in Nagoya, to create a model for the statue. Ueda, 39, was thrilled about creating Hachiko's sculpture.
“I have loved dogs since I was very young and became familiar with Hachiko through movies and by other means,” said Ueda. “My biggest aim will be to convey a sense of connection between the two.”
“We insisted on a design that depicts the person (Ueno) and his dog looking into each other's eyes and coveys the affection and bond between them,” said Sho Shiozawa, a professor of irrigation drainage and rural engineering at the university. “We hope the statue will become something of a mascot at the university and draw many visitors.”
Overshadowed by the professor's love of Hachiko, many fans are not aware of the scholastic and professional accomplishments of professor Hisaburo Ueno.
This monument will highlight his considerable efforts in the rebuilding of Japan.
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
I first spotted Hachiko's statue many years ago at Shibuya Station. Upon returning home, I adopted a dog and named him Hachi. When he passed away, I missed his reflective, welcoming and calm ways. We can all learn from the innate emotional grace of our animal friends and the Way of Hachi. I love sharing the story of the loyal dog of Japan, and hope he inspires more people to "Be Hachi"!