Today is Hachiko Memorial Day in Japan, so...
In honor of my favorite dog, I'm thrilled to introduce a brand new, in-depth book by historian Mayumi Itoh on the true life story of Japan's most famous dog. Ms. Itoh details little known facts about Hachiko's life - full of twists and turns and is certainly “stranger than fiction.” It's a totally fascinating read that will have you riveted!
Mayumi Itoh is a former Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has also taught at Princeton University and Queens College, City University of New York. She is the author of several books and has written extensively on Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics in academic journals.
Itoh in her 2010 book, "Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy: The Silent Victims of World War II", writes: "Let us not forget Mahatma Gandhi’s axiom, 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'
It is to be hoped that mankind has learned its lesson from the march of folly during World War II and other wars in recent years, in which countless animals have perished. It is also to be hoped that animal protection groups and wildlife conservationists in the world will gather their resources to further raise public and governmental awareness of a responsibility toward animals in times of war and disaster on the part of humans.
It is further to be hoped that international organizations—such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) —will mobilize their forces to lobby governments to ratify an international treaty concerning the protection and care of captive animals in times of war and disaster, in the near future. This application to animals of 1949 Geneva Convention concerning the treatment of non-combatants would mark the moral progress of mankind, as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi, if belatedly."
Itoh digs deep about Hachiko, professor Ueno, and shares a historical perspective on the impact between the famous dog of Japan and Japanese society of that era. I learned more about Hachi in one day than in years. It's compelling and a must read for any true Hachi lover!
Wishing You a Very Happy Hachiko Memorial Day!!
(The Flower Festival, Buddha's birthday, is also celebrated on this same day)
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"!