80th Anniversary of Hachiko’s Passing: New Statue Celebrates Professor Ueno’s Professional Accomplishments

Hachi fans will be delighted to learn that on March 8th, a new statue featuring Hachi and Professor Hidesaburo Ueno will be unveiled. The bronze memorial will stand on the University of Tokyo campus where Professor Ueno (1871-1925) taught at the agricultural department This latest monument emphasizes the joyful affection between the professor and his beloved canine friend. In addition, this monument brings attention to Professor Ueno in another way. Accomplished in his own right, his advances towards the technology of arable land readjustment and drainage were utilized for the imperial capital revival after the devastating Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. Professor Sho Shiozawa, a professor of irrigation drainage and rural engineering at the university, was instrumental in spear-heading the project. An internet fundraising effort raised about half of the targeted 10 million yen ($99,000) required to complete the new statue. While Hachiko’s Shibuya statue depicts the heart-broken Akita waiting for his master’s return, Shiozawa believes that the bond, rather than the separation, needs to be memorialized. “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,” says Shiozawa. “We hope the statue will become something of a mascot at the university and draw many visitors.” Tsutomu Ueda, 39, a sculptor in Nagoya, was thrilled with the chance to create another iconic sculpture of the beloved Hachiko. “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.” I visited the statue and could feel the intense bond radiating between the celebrated pair. I can truly say that the excitement in Hachi’s eyes is palpable and powerful. Just look at his eyes! 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. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tokyo. Can you feel the emotions in this newer statue?