Since 1931, the Japanese government has bestowed honour on the Akita breed of dog by declaring them a national treasure.

The Akita breed is a descendant of an ancient breed from about 660BC. Today they are used by police as a guard dog.

Mr Masataka Kakajo, senior advisor ot the Kumon Childrens Research Institue said, upon receiving a copy of a children's book of Greyfriars Bobby said, "These stories are good examples for promoting kindness to animals".

Hachiko

Mirroring the story of Greyfriars Bobby is a tale of loyalty by a dog from Japan. The dog was named Hachiko, a Japanese Akita, a large powerful hunting dog. The breed is revered in Japan.

Owned by a Tokyo professor, Hachiko used to greet his master on his return from work each evening at Shibuya railway station in Tokyo city, to escort him home.

When the professor died in the 1930's Hachiko continued to visit the station every evening to greet the train expecting to meet his master - who did not arrive! For over nine years the station staff and passengers used to notice the dog's loyal daily vigilance. No one was able to distract the dog in its lone vigiliance.

Eventually when Hachiko himself died, they erected a bronze statue at the west exit of the railway station to honour and celebrate the dog's loyalty.

The statue of Hachiko has become a well-known tourist spot in Tokyo.


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