“Hachi’s Cause of Death Revealed” — Hachi Snapshot #16: The Truth Behind the Myths

Hachiko’s last moments

On the morning of March 8, 1935, the loyal Akita’s body was discovered in an alley on the east side of Shibuya Station, near Inari Bridge.

On the day Hachi died, his necropsy was conducted by a team of veterinarians at the College of Agriculture of the Imperial University of Tokyo. It was quite unusual to conduct a necropsy of a dog, but Hachi was not considered an ordinary dog.

Hachi Health Revealed

It was determined that Hachi had been suffering from chronic heart worms (dirofilariasis), which had seriously damaged his heart and lungs. They also found fluid accumulation in the peritoneal cavity (ascites), a complication of heart worms.

In hindsight, it was as if Dr. Ueno gave his remaining life for Hachi. Among the five Akitas the professor had raised, Hachi became the only Akita to live beyond ten years old.

The Nation Grieves Hachi’s Death

Hachikō’s death made front page news, and the people of Japan deeply mourned his passing. Schools in Japan often cited Hachikō to their students as an example of loyalty, friendship and good character.

He was buried next to Professor Ueno.

The world will celebrate celebrate Hachiko’s 100th birthday this year. Despite his poor condition, Hachi became a legend in his lifetime and beyond.

For more about Hachiko’s true life story, please read his upcoming biography due to be released on March 8, 2023.

In each Hachiko Snapshot, you can follow Hachi’s incredible journey from sickly puppy to worldwide icon. On the 14th of each month, his birthday – right here on the blog.

Author Mayumi Itoh is considered the “official biographer” of Hachiko. Mayumi is a former Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has previously taught at Princeton University and Queens College, City University of New York. She currently teaches haiku writing at Princeton University.

Mayumi is best known to Hachi friends for Hachiko: Solving Twenty Mysteries about the Most Famous Dog in Japan.


Hands Up if you can relate to:

~ Feeling stuck & frustrated with the daily “sameness” of your life.
~ Struggling to get clear on priorities and your authentic self.
~ Filled with regrets over “the road not taken”.

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