Monday, August 19, 2013


In the Thornton King adventure number six, MEN AND TEIR TOYS, waiting to be published, Thornton and his new friend, Anne-Marie are dining at Fredericks.                          Anne-Marie works at Battersea Dogs Home and naturally the conversation at one point turns to dogs which includes loyal pets devastated by their master’s death and who pine for years over the grave. The most famous or well-known is probably Greyfriar’s Bobbie but I read on Facebook there is a Japanese one. His name was Hachiko.
 “‘So how are the kennels?’ Thornton asked.
‘Sad. They are always sad I’m afraid.’
‘Yes.’ He stayed silent for a moment, remembering his visit. ‘Does it depress you then? Working there?’
‘I have to admit it does sometimes get me down, when I see an animal that’s been cruelly mistreated or one that for some reason or other nobody wants and has to be…you know…after a period…put down. That is the worst of it.  Humans can be so insensitive when it comes to what they refer to as dumb beasts. The beasts, if you regard them more closely, aren’t nearly as dumb as humans make out. What is more, they may not be as intelligent as we but just like us, they do have emotions. They do have fears, they do suffer pain, they do show affection and they do have a certain intelligence. We are animals as well after all.’”
In Edinburgh there is a monument to Greyfriars Bobby and Hachiko also has one. Read his story.
“Hachiko was born in Odate, Japan in November 1923, a white male Akita dog. At the age of two months, he was sent to the home of Professor Ueno of the Agricultural Department of the Tokyo University. The professor's home was in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. The professor commuted to the agricultural department in Komaba and the agricultural experimental station in Nishihara.
Tragedy struck on May 21, 1925, when Dr. Ueno did not return because he had suffered a stroke and died at the university. Hachiko was eighteen months old. The next day and for the next nine years, Hachiko returned to the station and waited for his beloved master before walking home, alone. Nothing and no one could discourage Hachiko from maintaining his nightly vigil. It was not until he followed his master in death, in March l934, that Hachiko failed to appear in his place at the railroad station.
Hachiko was sent to homes of relatives or friends, but he always continued to await his master, who was never to return, at the train station.
The fidelity of Hachiko was known throughout Japan, owing to an article, "Faithful Old Dog Awaits Return of Master Dead for Seven Years" in the October 4, 1933 issue of Asahi Shinbun (Asahi News). Upon his death, newspaper stories led to the suggestion that a statue be erected in the station. Contributions from the United States and other countries were received. Today, the statue of the Akita, Hachiko, pays silent tribute to the breed's faithfulness and loyalty. A bronze statue of Hachiko was put up at his waiting spot outside the Shibuya railroad station, which is now probably the most popular rendezvous point in Shibuya. Hachiko was mounted and stuffed and is on now on display at the Tokyo Museum of Art.
“‘There’s also the Welsh tale of Gelert, Anne-Marie said. ‘Do you know about that one?’
‘I’m afraid not. Tell me about it. Cheers!’
‘Cheers!’ They delicately clinked glasses and Thornton knew as he looked at her that his eyes had gone all mushy but he couldn’t help it. ‘Cheers!’ They delicately clinked glasses and Thornton knew as he looked at her that his eyes had gone all mushy but he couldn’t help it. At that moment every romantic idea he had ever grown up with and harboured over the years was hovering around that table. Had she noticed? He had to concentrate very hard or he would have watched her mouth moving but not hear a word she was saying.”

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Good for the Japanese!
My half-nephew was once manager of the dog's home in Durban. I once visited, and almost every dog ran to the fence, yapping, "Take me! Take meee!