Calendar | Games | Out and About | Tourism | Leisure Time

Book Reviews Elsewhere | Movie Reviews Elsewhere
(fresh daily from the Web)

Travel News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)

'Hachiko Waits'          Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 18, 2005]  "Hachiko Waits, by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira, 2004, Henry Holt and Company, 96 pages, ages 8-12

Review by
Louella Moreland

Leslea Newman's book Hachiko Waits is a quiet story of companionship, loyalty and love. What begins as a relationship between a man and his dog in the spring of 1924 continued to touch the hearts of Japanese people even after the two original personalities were no longer alive. Any reader who loves dogs will surely have the heart warmed by this simple and poetic story.

Professor Ueno, a teacher at a university in Japan, raised and trained an Akita from puppy to young adult. Each day they would walk together to the train station, where the professor would board his train to the city and tell Hachiko, "What a good dog you are. What a fine dog you are. Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan. I will return at 3 o'clock."

Each day, after the train pulled out of station, Hachiko would leave and return again at 15 minutes before 3. No one knew where Hachiko spent his day or how he knew what time to return to the station, but each day he met the professor as he returned home on the train.

The stationmaster and other commuters became familiar with both the dog and his kind master, building a community of people who looked forward to seeing each of them every day.

This pattern continued until the day Professor Ueno did not return home at the usual time. The professor had died of a sudden heart attack while he was at work.

[to top of second column in this article]

Hachiko still waited throughout the evening, scanning the faces of each person leaving each train. He left the station only when the stationmaster had to close for the night.

However, the next day and each day following, he returned to his accustomed spot to wait for his master. He continued this ritual until he became a very old dog, cared for by the stationmaster and all the other commuters who came to respect his loyalty.

One day, as the time neared for the 3 o'clock train, Hachiko sat up, howled and died.

The people of Japan wished to honor this loyal canine friend. A statue by a famous Japanese artist was commissioned and erected on the spot where Hachiko waited for the master who would not return again. The statue sits in the Shibuya train station today, for you see, this beautiful little tale is based on a true story from Japan.

To those who enjoy Hachiko Waits, I would also recommend stopping by the library to check out The Cat Who Went to Heaven, by Elizabeth Coatsworth. Perhaps it is the simple, understated way each story is told, perhaps it is the Japanese custom of deep reflection on values of loyalty and respect, or perhaps it is that I just love a story of animal loyalty that both of these books will remain in my memory forever.

[Louella Moreland, youth services librarian, Lincoln Public Library District]

Baker & Son Tree Service

Tree Trimming & Removal
Excellent Service & Cleanup
Free Estimates - Fully Insured

Phone: (217) 735-5066
Cell...: (217) 306-4397


< Recent book reviews

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor