Rare Candid Photograph of Japan’s Most Loyal Dog Hachiko Discovered

The true story of a loyal Akita named Hachi, who waited in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station each day to greet his master has become something of folklore in Japan.

Even after his owner’s sudden death in 1925, Hachi continued his daily waiting ritual for nine more years until he passed away aged 11.

Hachiko’s (hachi eight, ko affection) legacy continues to live on with a bronze statue in his likeness built in front of Shibuya Station even becoming a symbolic meeting point between friends.

While photographs of the celebrated dog are not entirely uncommon, a rare candid photograph of Hachiko waiting outside Shibuya Station was recently discovered by Takeshi Ando—the sculptor of the bronze Hachiko Statue.


Takeshi Ando via The Japan News

The photo found recently was taken around 1934 by the late Isamu Yamamoto, a former bank employee who lived in the Sarugakucho district in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

Yamamoto’s photograph was taken at a time when candid photos were less popular because film roll limited the amount of shots a person could take; therefore, most of Hachiko’s famous photographs have him posed and staring directly at the camera.

The above photograph instead gives us a rather refreshing—slightly heartbreaking look at Hachiko as he would have naturally been seen by commuters, waiting countless hours for his master to finally return.