Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog

Grade 1-4-In 1932, a dog won the hearts of the people of Japan after a newspaper article described his loyalty to his owner. Every afternoon, Hachiko would wait at the train station for Dr. Ueno. After the man died suddenly in 1925, the animal returned to the station every day to wait for him, until his own death in 1935. A bronze statue was placed at Shibuya Station to honor this extraordinary canine, and a festival is held there every April. The story is told through the eyes of a young boy named Kentaro, and his imagined interactions with the dog make the events come alive as he worries about and befriends this special creature. Years later, he is saddened by the news of the animal’s death. The softly hued watercolor illustrations have a simplicity that brings to mind the style of Japanese woodcuts. Each small image of Hachiko expresses the personality of this furry, gentle creature. An author’s note clarifies "The Story behind the Story." This touching tale will capture the hearts of young dog lovers. Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Average: 5 (4 votes)


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Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog

Field of Interest/Specialty: East/SE Asia & Global Studies
Posted On: 01/03/2015

Hachiko is a beautiful, true story about a loyal dog who waits for his owner, Dr. Ueno, outside Tokyo’s Shibuya train station every day. This story is told through the eyes of a fictional boy, Kentaro, who befriends Hachiko in Shibuya station. Even after Dr. Ueno’s death, Hachiko continues to wait faithfully in the same spot for his owner’s return, every day for ten years. After Hachiko’s death, a statue is placed in his honor, which can be visited today in Shibuya Station.
School Library Journal has this listed as grades 1-4 and my PK and third grader loved it equally, though appreciated it in different ways. For both girls, it was a good book for discussing human experiences such as love, loyalty, and loss. The book also introduces Japanese cultural terms and vocabulary such as: samurai, tabi socks, and soybean cake. My four year old was able to understand that the story took place in another country and we talked about basic geography such as where Japan, Tokyo, and Shibuya Station is. My third grader was able to delve deeper into some of the information shared at the end of the story, such as the fact that the original statue was melted down during WWII. That initiated an interesting discussion about war, resources, and weaponry.
I give Hachiko five stars because I think that it is a great book that speaks to common values and human experiences that children focus on in early years. Though the book is not heavy with Japanese culture or history, the shared human experiences are told through the story of a dog in Japan, and the book opens doors to talk about that specific culture. It gives young students common ground to feel something for Hachiko, the statue that stands in Tokyo, that many other Japanese children also feel. Additionally, ceremonies for Hachiko are held at the time of the cherry blossom festival, which gives more to talk about, in addition to the discussion of smelting the statue during WWII.
It is also worth mentioning that there are two films made about Hachiko, one in Japanese and one in English. Hachi-ko Monogatari was released in Japan in 1987 and an English language version of the film, Hachi, was released in the US with Richard Gere in 2009. The latter was filmed in Rhode Island at Woonsocket Depot Square where a permanent replica statue of Hachiko was dedicated during an annual Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

Heartwarming story of a loyal friend.

Field of Interest/Specialty: Reading
Posted On: 12/16/2014

This is a heartwarming story of a professor who befriends an Akita dog named Hachiko. Hachiko walks the professor to the train station every day and returns to walk home with him every evening. This process continues every day for a year until the professor doesn't return by train. The professor's absence doesn't deter Hachiko from keeping to his schedule. Every day for nine years Hachiko returns to the station to wait for his master. The public took note of his loyalty and Hachiko became famous. Newspapers write about him and he is memorialized by a bronze statue placed in the exact location that Hachiko waited for his master. This statue can still be seen in Shibuya, Tokyo Japan. I would use this book as a read aloud for students first through third grade. Students 4th through 6th grade could use it in literature circles. There is a movie titled "Hachi:A Dog's Tale" that could be used as an additional resource.

Wonderful dog book

Field of Interest/Specialty: early childhood/ elementary
Posted On: 11/21/2013

By Pamela Turner
Review by: Jessica Glenn- Elementary Substitute- Central PA
Hachiko is a true story about a dog named Hachiko and his owner Dr. Ueno. Hachiko walks to the train station every morning with Dr. Ueno and waits for him there every afternoon. One afternoon Dr. Ueno does not come back to the station and the dog waits and waits for him to return. The story is told by Kentaro, a fictional young boy who checks on the dog to make sure Hachiko is okay because he knows Dr. Ueno is dead. He becomes Hachiko’s friend. Hachiko shows up at the station faithfully each and every morning for almost ten years until he becomes too old to do so. Hachiko is a beloved figure in Japan, a symbol of a loyal friend.
I thought this was a decent story. This story would be great to be used with children in fourth grade. The story is kind of sad at some points so I would make sure that you read the story first and are prepared to deal with these parts. This story would be a great story to a help a student who is going through a loss of a pet or even a family member.

Great Story!

Field of Interest/Specialty: Technology
Posted On: 05/14/2012

What a wonderful story about the loyalty of a dog to the man who loved him. About a year ago, I'd seen the movie starring Richard Gere, so I was familiar with the story already. However, I still found it just as heartwarming as the movie. I did not know that they held a festival every year at the location where the dog waited every day. How exciting for a nation to celebrate the loyalty of an animal - on a yearly basis! I would recommend reading this personally, as well as to all elementary school-aged children! Excellent lesson in loyalty, devotion, and love!
--S. VanKirk