Faith­ful Hachiko

Fortean Times - - Letters -

I was in­ter­ested in the sto­ries of Dogged De­vo­tion [ Ft353:8-9], par­tic­u­larly the ref­er­ence to the Ja­panese dog Hachiko, whose story ev­ery Ja­panese knows, as do many oth­ers around the world, thanks to the Richard Gere movie, which you ref­er­enced. I live in Tokyo and of­ten pass through Shibuya sta­tion, the site of Hachiko’s de­vo­tion. There’s a statue of Hachiko just out­side the sta­tion, at the fa­mous scram­ble in­ter­sec­tion. When you want to meet some­one in Shibuya, you just say, “Let’s meet at Hachiko”. To re­cap the story, Hachiko walked to the sta­tion ev­ery day to meet his mas­ter re­turn­ing from work, and they walked home to­gether. Af­ter the mas­ter died and thus didn’t get off the train one day, Hachiko con­tin­ued to go to the sta­tion ev­ery day at the same time, would wait for a while, and then go home alone. So he’s loved not just for his de­vo­tion, but be­cause peo­ple feel sorry for him due to his 10 years of un­re­quited wait­ing.

How­ever, I have an­other take on the story. I think that Hachiko was not so dumb. He went to the sta­tion ev­ery day for a rea­son – which was that his mas­ter did get off the train ev­ery day. That is, the man’s ghost got off the train ev­ery day. And then the two of them would walk home to­gether. Bob Poul­son Tokyo, Ja­pan

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