In late November 1923, a Akita Inu puppy was born on the outskirts of the Japanese town of Odate (Akita Prefecture). Strictly speaking, he later became a puppy of this particular breed, and at that time few people thought about its name in Japan. Soon, the puppy was sent a thousand kilometers to the Tokyo suburb of Sibuy, to a new owner, Professor Eisaburo Ueno of Tokyo Imperial University. The new pet was his eighth dog and was given the name Hachi, or Hachiko (in Japanese, “hachi” denotes the number eight).
Ueno and Hachiko lived in perfect harmony. In the morning, the dog accompanied the professor to the Shibuya railway station, from which he went to work, in the evening at exactly five o’clock, where she met her, and they spent weekends and holidays in the company of each other. But on May 21, 1925, Eisaburo Ueno died right at work from cerebral hemorrhage. It is said that in the evening, when the professor’s body was taken to Shibuya, Khachiko, disturbed by incomprehensible events, broke the glass door, burst into the house and spent the whole night in the living room at the feet of the deceased owner.
For now, what we found on the net about this amazing breed of dogs:
The Asahi newspaper, dated August 4, 1932, wrote an article about Hachiko’s loyalty, and Akita’s reputation became known throughout Japan. Hachiko was born in Odate in 1923 and ended up in Tokyo two months later. The owner was Hachiko Dr. Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo.
Dr. Ueno passed away when Hachiko was 1.5 years old. For the next ten years, Hachiko continued to come to the Shibuya station every evening to wait for his owner, who died.
Hachiko died in 1935.
Hachiko, waiting for the owner – 1932.
Akita-Inu – means dogs from Akita – a province located in the north of the largest island in the archipelago of Japan. The breed is very old. Probably, the ancestor of the breed was the so-called matagiina, which means “respected hunter” – a dog that met from the VIII century in the Odat Mountains and was used to hunt a bear and a boar. This name was awarded to the most skilled and successful hunters. The story of the Akita Inu began in earnest during the Edo period (XVII century), when hunting fun practically stopped and a dog was needed for the guard service. So in the 18th century, the Akita Inu migrated from the peasant huts to the palaces of the Japanese nobles. The change in class affiliation was due to the release of Generalissimo Tsunayoshi’s law, according to which a person who offended or killed Akita Inu was subjected to punishment. Soon only the imperial family and the ruling aristocracy could own the breed.
This greatly affected the development of the breed. Care for the Akita and feeding turned into a carefully designed ceremony, special leashes were made, denoting the rank of Akita and the social status of its owner. Special words were used to refer to the dog and talk about it. Each Akita was courted by a separate servant who dressed in a richly decorated costume, in accordance with the respect the dog enjoyed. The presence of an Akita Inu has become a symbol of happiness and prosperity of the family.
In the Meiji era, dog fights continued to be popular. At that time, Akita was called Odata dogs because of the name of their hometown. Around 1897, the Tosa fighting dogs were brought into Akita Prefecture. Then, Tosa, now known as Cauchy Prefecture, was one of two places where dog fights were popular.
At first, the Akita breed was stronger than Tosa. Gradually, the situation is completely changed due to the crossing of the Tosa with the European breeds. There was an active influx of blood of molossoid dogs: St. Bernards, English Mastiffs, German dogs, whose import from Europe became more and more intensive.
Akita Inu, unlike its ancestors, has become a more powerful physique with a characteristic slanting ear set.
The mayor of Odate, Mr. Shigeie Izumi, was very worried about crossing Odate with other dogs. In order to preserve the purity of the breed “Odate”, he founded the Akita-Inu Conservation Society in 1927. At the same time, the popularity of dog fights declined, reflecting the interests of the times. There are only a few photos of dogs of that era. Two dogs: a dog named “Tochi-2” and a bitch named “Babagoma”, owned by Mr. Kunio Ichinoseki, had a great influence on Akita breeding. Other breeds also affected breeding. However, few photos of other breeds of that era remained.
During World War II, most dogs in Japan were called up for military use. However, several people secretly kept Akita Inu. After the war, some officials in Akita Prefecture wanted to keep Akita at home.
These were very difficult times; many people were starving because there was very little food. However, Akita breeding was started again. For the revival of Akita, the dog “Tsubakigoma”, who survived the war, returned to the house of Mr. Ichinoseki.