On March 12, 1935, a formal funeral service was conducted on the grounds of Dr. Ueno’s grave at Aoyama Cemetery in Minato-ward, Tokyo. It was a heartfelt tribute to Hachi, a soul who had captured the hearts of many.
Unprecedented Display of Reverence
In a touching display of reverence, sixteen Buddhist monks from the Shibuya-ward Buddhist Association offered their prayers at the service. The sheer number of monks was extraordinary, much more than would normally preside over a human funeral. Such was the compelling nature of Hachi’s spirit.
Next, a wooden tablet inscribed with the words “Soul of Loyal Dog Hachi-kō,” written by the head monk of Myōyū Temple, was placed upon Hachi’s small grave. Hachi had found his eternal resting spot, while a gentle camellia tree stood next to his grave, as if watching over him with unwavering devotion.
A Gathering of Hearts
Approximately sixty individuals attended the service, including Dr. Ueno’s beloved widow, Yae, and Shibuya Stationmaster, Yoshikawa Tadaichi. Others were present, united by their deep respect and affection for Hachi.
Interestingly, one of the attendees was Kuma-kō, Hachi-kō’s only son, who was four years old at the time. Kuma-kō was born to Hachi-kō and a Fox Terrier named Debbie, who belonged to Itō Yoshitarō, a resident of the neighborhood where Dr. Ueno’s former gardener, Kobayashi Kikusaburō, lived.
Honoring Hachi’s Legacy
Every aspect of Hachi’s funeral service was unprecedented. It served as a testament to how extraordinary Hachi was as a dog and the profound impact he had on people’s lives. The outpouring of grief and reverence was a reflection of the indelible mark Hachi left on the hearts of all who knew his story.
If you wish to delve further into the captivating life of Hachiko, we invite you to explore the pages of the new Hachiko biography, available here.
And stay tuned to our blog for regular Hachiko Snapshots, where you can follow his incredible journey from a sickly puppy to a worldwide icon. Join us 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.