Otaku USA Magazine
Hachiko Turns 100! Shibuya’s Famous Pup in Anime

One hundred years ago on November 10, Japan’s legendary and most loyal pup, Hachiko was born. Hachiko, the Akita dog, who was immortalized as a statue outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo, became a national symbol of unwavering loyalty and holds immense cultural significance for the archipelago. 

The statue’s origins trace back to the heartwarming story of Hachiko faithfully waiting for his deceased owner at Shibuya Station for nearly a decade. His loyalty captured the hearts of the nation and later the world. Due to its familiarity with Japanese people, especially those who frequent Shibuya, the Hachiko statue became a popular meeting spot that transcends into pop culture, anime, and games. 

“Let’s meet at Hachiko”

The statue serves as a meeting point and landmark in the bustling Shibuya district. Amidst the urban chaos, it provides a familiar and easily identifiable location for locals and tourists alike. If you’re planning your own trip to the Shibuya Scramble, it’s worth taking in the views and stepping outside to the west side of Shibuya Station to see Hachiko with your own eyes. Just follow the convenient signs from your train line to the aptly named “Hachiko exit”. 

If you look closely, you’ll see just how ingrained Hachiko’s legacy is in various anime shows and games, such as the poignant series Nana and Death Note, and in more recent titles. 

We collected a short list of some of our favorite Hachiko references in anime, that way you can enjoy them as well.

In Nana, Hachiko’s namesake is passed to Nana Komatsu, who is likened to a loyal dog. She’s often referred to as a shortened version: Hachi. In the series, a recurring comedic element involves Hachi spontaneously manifesting dog-like ears and a tail whenever she experiences immense joy.

Similarly, in the first Death Note film, the Hachiko statue subtly surfaces, illustrating its prevalence in anime. Its inclusion pays homage to the dog’s legacy and further embeds his narrative within the consciousness of anime enthusiasts.

In recent anime series such as My Dress-up Darling, Hachiko is prominently featured in the background of a shopping excursion between Marin and Gojo in episode 10. Similarly, you can see the famous meeting spot in episode two of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War season 2.

Those who have played either The World Ends With You games will immediately recognize the Akita’s statue. Most notably on Day 4 of NEO: The World Ends With You and by visiting the Hachiko cafe. 

As November marks Hachiko’s 100th birthday anniversary, it’s a fitting time to reflect on the enduring legacy of one of this world’s goodest of boys. His statue stands not merely as a tribute to a beloved pet but as a symbol of loyalty, resilience, and the enduring power of love—a testament that transcends time, culture, and even the boundaries of anime.

Which Hachiko reference is your favorite? Let us know which ones we missed.

Brianna Fox-Priest

Brianna Fox-Priest is a freelance journalist based in Tokyo. Covering video games and Japanese pop culture, her work can be seen in Otaku USA, Anime USA, Jotaku Network, and Sprudge.