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Hachiko Waits

Hachiko Waits

4.4 11
by Leslea Newman, Machiyo Kodaira (Illustrator)

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"What a good dog you are. What a fine dog you are. Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan."
Professor Ueno speaks these words to his faithful dog before boarding the train to work every morning. And every afternoon, just before three o'clock, Hachi is at the train station to greet his beloved master. One day, the train arrives at the station without


"What a good dog you are. What a fine dog you are. Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan."
Professor Ueno speaks these words to his faithful dog before boarding the train to work every morning. And every afternoon, just before three o'clock, Hachi is at the train station to greet his beloved master. One day, the train arrives at the station without the professor. Hachi waits.
For ten years, Hachi waits for his master to return. Not even Yasuo, the young boy who takes care of Hachi, can persuade him to leave his post.
Hachiko Waits, a novel inspired by a true story, brings to life the legendary Akita who became a national symbol for loyalty and devotion. This is a must-read for dog lovers of all ages.

Hachiko Waits is a 2005 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Hachiko embodies all the best qualities of a dog. He is loyal, brave, gentle, and childlike. Based on a true story from Japan, this is a beautiful tribute to a historic dog.” —Book Sense Pick of the List, Fall 2004

“Lesléa Newman has done an amazing thing. She has written a book that is both profoundly sad and hopeful at the same time. When the world needs such a story, Hachiko Waits shows us the very best in life: loyalty, devotion, our ability to love, to nurture, to care about someone other than ourselves--all taught by a beloved, intelligent and heroic dog. The voice and the art are authentically Japanese, though the heart of the book and its meanings cross all cultures. This book is for all ages. I love it.” —Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Award-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall

“This will be popular with dog lovers; consider having a packet of tissues on hand.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Older readers who enjoyed Pamela S. Turner's picture book Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog, illus. by Yan Nascimbene (reviewed May 17) will want to delve into Newman's (Cats! Cats! Cats!) novel about a dog's devotion to his owner. Her many details about Tokyo and passages of dialogue give life and heft to the tale, while Kodaira's blocky pen-and-ink drawings add genuine Japanese touches-street signs, clothing and interiors. In the opening chapters, the author gives readers a glimpse of the daily routine of Professor Ueno, who teaches at Tokyo Imperial University, and his beloved pet, Hachi the Akita (a husky-like breed). Every afternoon, the pooch waits for his master's 3:00 arrival at Tokyo's Shibuya train station. When the professor dies unexpectedly, Hachi continues to arrive at the station each day for his master's train, expecting him to return. Befriended and fed by a boy named Yasuo, the dog waits daily on the platform for his master until his own death 10 years later. The Station Master's words offer Yasuo consolation about Hachiko's reunion with his master ("There is a special train to bring those who have obtained Enlightenment up to Heaven. Every day for the past ten years, Professor Ueno has met this special train to see if his beloved Akita-ken is on it"). As these two versions attest, the story holds enduring fascination for animal lovers. Ages 8-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Based on a true story that is still honored and celebrated in Japan, this may well be the book of the year most guaranteed to leave its readers with full hearts and streaming eyes. Professor Ueno's faithful Akita, Hachi, waits for his 3:00 train every day at the railway station, while he is off teaching his classes at the university—until one day the professor, dead from an unexpected heart attack, fails to arrive on time. Hachi proceeds to continue to wait for him—and does so for a full ten years, cared for by the kindly station master, and in Newman's fictionalization of the tale, by a young boy who grows into maturity while witnessing the dog's touching faithfulness. At the ceremony dedicating the statue of Hachi placed in the station after his death, the young boy, now a young man, speaks: "Hachiko taught us that we must never give up. He taught us about loyalty and devotion. He taught us about hope and faith. He taught us about patience and responsibility. But above all, Hachiko taught us the true meaning of friendship." The Japanese flavor of the story is strong both in Newman's evocative text and in Kodaira's detailed and realistic black-and-white illustrations. This beautiful story manages to be simultaneously a heart-piercer and a heart-breaker and a heart-warmer. 2004, Henry Holt, Ages 7 to 10.
—Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Newman adds characters and incidents to flesh out this true story of an Akita who became a national symbol for loyalty and hope by waiting-for 10 years-at a Japanese commuter train station for his dead master to return. Hachi accompanies Professor Ueno to Shibuya Station every morning, then returns at three o'clock to welcome him back. After his owner dies suddenly at work, the dog continues his afternoon vigil for the rest of his life, earning such notoriety that the honorific "ko" is attached to his name. After his death, a statue in his memory is erected near his accustomed spot on the platform. Newman gives Hachiko a young human friend, Yasuo, who over a span of years helps to provide the dog with food and water. He later proposes to his future wife under that statue. Kodaira's ink-and-wash illustrations feature a noble-looking pooch surrounded by human admirers. Although the dialogue tends to be stilted, this more-developed alternative to Pamela S. Turner's Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog (Houghton, 2004) will effectively draw readers.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Four

From that day on, Hachi walked to the train station with Professor Ueno every morning and met his train every afternoon. The Professor knew that Hachi ran home after his train left the station because his housekeeper told him so. Hachi kept himself very busy while the Professor was at work. He cleaned his paws and chased his tail. He sniffed the wind and chewed on sticks. He often took long naps in the sun under the cherry tree in the yard. But he always woke up in time to return to the station to meet his master's train.

The Station Master checked the time as soon as Hachi arrived. "Five minutes to three," he would announce, looking at the big clock hanging from the station's ceiling. "Hachi, you are always right on time. I could set that clock by you."

A year passed, and the Professor's routine did not change. He and Hachi walked to the train station in the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloomed, and in the summer, when the rains came. They walked to the train station in the autumn, when the leaves changed color, and in the winter, when the snow fell. The Professor was always the last one to step onto the train before it left in the morning, and he was always the first one to step off the train after it arrived in the afternoon. And Hachi was always there to meet him. He was never a minute early and never a minute late. And as soon as he saw the Professor, he always ran to his master, licked his fingers, and spun in joyful circles before him.

One morning in early May as the Professor and Hachi were taking their morning walk to the train station, Professor Ueno stopped to admire the many-colored fish-shaped banners hanging from bamboopoles outside the houses they passed. "Hachi. Sit. Look, little friend," the Professor said, pointing. "Those flags look like a type of fish called carp, and they have been hung in honor of Tango-no-Sekku, a special holiday that celebrates all the boys of Japan."

Hachi's eyes followed his master's finger toward the waving banners.

"It is traditional to hang a special carp flag for each boy in the family," the Professor told Hachi. "When I was young, a big red-and-white carp flag that looked exactly like that one flew for me." He gestured toward an especially large banner rippling in the wind.

"The carp is very strong and very brave, little friend. He must swim upstream against the current, and that takes great determination and perseverance. But once he does so, he knows he can overcome all of life's obstacles and difficulties. Every boy, including you, Hachi, must strive to be as strong and brave as the carp."

Hachi sat completely still with his ears thrust forward, listening carefully to the Professor as he always did when receiving such lessons from his master.

"Come, Hachi. It is time to catch my train. Heel." The Professor started off again, and Hachi fell into step beside him. It was a mild spring day, yet by the time Professor Ueno and Hachi walked up the steps to the train station, the Professor's face was covered with sweat. He removed his glasses and wiped his forehead with a clean white handkerchief.

"Good morning, Professor." The Station Master greeted Professor Ueno with a bow. "Hello, Hachi."

"Good morning, Mr. Yoshikawa." The Professor lifted his handkerchief and wiped his brow again.
well?" the Station Master asked, his voice full of concern. "Would you like a glass of water?"

"No, thank you. That is very kind of you, but I am fine," the Professor said, putting his handkerchief into his pocket. He showed the Ticket Taker his pass and walked through the doorway.

"Hachi!" Yasuo called. The Professor and Hachi crossed over to the platform.

"Happy Boys' Day, Yasuo," said the Professor.

"Thank you." said Yasuo. He ran his hands up and down the fur around Hachi's neck. "He has gotten so big."

"He stands almost two feet high now and weighs one hundred pounds. That is a good size for a male Akita," said the Professor, who never let an opportunity to teach go by.

"Feel his coat here." He guided Yasuo's hands to Hachi's chest. "This fur is his undercoat. It is n0 thicker and softer than the rest of his fur. Once the undercoat has come in, the Akita-ken is full grown."

"I am still growing," said Yasuo. "I am going to be very tall."

"Taller than I am?" teased the Professor, who was not tall at all.

"I hope so," said Yasuo, standing up on his toes.

"Yasuo!" said his mother in a scolding voice. "The Professor is a man of respect. Do not be rude to him."

But Professor Ueno only laughed. "I am sure you will rise to great heights," he said to the boy.

The nine o'clock train arrived right on schedule. As everyone clamored onto it, Professor Ueno leaned down to say good-bye to Hachi.

"What a good dog you are." He repeated the same words every day. "What a fine dog you are. Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan." He patted Hachi's head and return at three o'clock," he reminded Hachi. "Farewell, little friend." The train pulled away, and the Professor waved as he always did.

Hachi stayed right where he was, watching the train as usual. But then he did something he had never done before. As the train picked up speed, Hachi chased after it and let out a loud bark.

"Wan-wan!" he called to Professor Ueno. And then again, "Wan-wan! Wan-wan!"
The Professor leaned out of the train with a worried look on his face. Was Hachi all right? But when he saw the dog standing on the platform and wagging his tail, he grinned and waved.

"Hachi, what a splendid voice you have," he called out proudly. "What a good dog you are. Farewell, little friend."

The Station Master walked over to Hachi and squatted down before him.

"What did you have to say to the Professor today that was so important?" he asked the Akita-ken.

But Hachi would not repeat himself. He merely turned and left for home.
b At three o'clock that afternoon when the train pulled into Shibuya Station, Hachi sat in his usual spot by the tracks, his eyes focused on the first car's door. It slid open, and a woman in a blue-and-white kimono with a tiny baby strapped to her back stepped out. A man carrying a newspaper followed. Two young girls in matching blue skirts and white blouses with red kerchiefs tied around their necks came next. Where was the Professor? Hachi sat still as a statue, waiting. Finally Yasuo and his mother stepped onto the platform.

"Hachi!" Yasuo called. The dog barely looked at him. "Okaasan, where is the Professor? He was not on the train."

"Per another car," Mrs. Takahashi said, her eyes searching the platform. "I do not see him," she said. "Hachi, your master must have missed his train. Do not worry. I am sure he will be on the next one."

"Do not worry, Hachi," Yasuo repeated, patting the dog on the head.

Hachi sat up very tall and straight with his ears held erect, staring at the train tracks. When the next train arrived, he looked at each person who stepped out, but none of them was the Professor. Other trains came and went, each one discharging many passengers. Some people hurried by Hachi; others stopped and ran their hands along the dog's soft fur. Hachi paid no attention to any of them.

Hachi waited all afternoon and all evening as train after train pulled in and out of the station. Mr. Yoshikawa brought him water and tried to share a bowl of rice with him, but Hachi would not eat. Finally it was midnight, and the last train arrived at the station. Professor Ueno was not on it.

"Where can the Professor be?" the Station Master wondered out loud. He took off his hat and scratched the side of his head. "This is not like him. He never misses his train."

The Station Master put his hat back on and pulled the brim down low over his eyes. "I am sorry, Hachi. I have to close the station now. And you must go home. Go." Mr. Yoshikawa pointed his white glove at the stairway.

Hachi's eyes followed the Station's Master finger, but the rest of him did not move.

"I am sorry, Hachi, but you must go." Mr. Yoshikawa was kind yet firm as he forced Hachi through the station toward the exit.

Hachi did not want to leave, but he had no choice. The station was l him.

Copyright © 2004 by Leslea Newman
This text is from an uncorrected proof.

Meet the Author

Lesléa Newman is a poet, an animal lover, and the author of Runaway Dreidel!, Cats, Cats, Cats!, Daddy's Song, and other picture books. Her awards include the Parents' Choice Silver Medal and a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has a B.S. in education from the University of Vermont and a Certificate of Poetics from Naropa Institute, where she was Allen Ginsburg's apprentice. She has worked as a preschool teacher, secretary, waitress, freelance reporter, and sales clerk, and now teaches writing for children and young adults at Spalding University. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Machiyo Kodaira is a native of Tokyo, Japan, and a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Hachi's story was Ms. Kodaira's first book for young readers.

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Hachiko Waits 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i luv this story it made me cry
Ry_Rk More than 1 year ago
perfect for the family..=)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MatthewKarns17815 More than 1 year ago
Hachiko's story of devotion and unending dedication to his master will touch the heart of anyone who loves or has ever loved a dog. This wonderfully written and illustrated book is a true testament to Hachiko and to the unbreakable bond between human and canine. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ayumi-chan More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing and great for all ages! I hope everyone gets to learn about this faithful dog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loyalty, devotion and love. A true story about a faithful dog, and his beloved owner, who live in Japan. Hachiko is only a puppy and has a special bond with Professor Ueno. They have increasing friendship and Hachiko even waits for his master to come home each night. When something happens to Professor Ueno, poor Hachiko doesn¿t know what to do. Hachiko waits all daylong but no Professor Ueno. Staying in the same spot, Hachiko can¿t even be persuaded to come home with Yasou, his new friend. This loyal pet eats, sleeps and dies sitting in the same spot. Hachiko has had a difficult and disappointing life, yet he is rewarded to join his beloved master once again. This book is full of loyalty, hope, love and courage. A book all about friendship, recommended for dog lovers. This story is based on a true story with some fiction characters. RECOMMENDED FOR ALL!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love dogs and how loyal they are to there owners this is a book for you. It is a book where Hachi comes back to the train station every day before 3:00. One day his master doesn¿t come back and Hachi waits for ten years. Hachiko Waits was written by Leslea Newman, and was illustrated by Machiyo Kodaria. It was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2004. The cost is $16.95. The conflict is when the professor doesn¿t come back on the train. The main characters are Hachi, the professor, Yasuo, and the ticket master. The theme is to never give up on anything like Hachi didn¿t give up on the professor. This story toke place in China. This book is for girls and boys 8-10. I think Hachi is very loyal to the professor because he always came back for him. That is why Hackiko Waits is one of the best books I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hachiko waits is a wonderful story about a dog who is very loyal to his master and shows up at shibuya station every day at three o'clock to meet his master when he gets of his train.But one day his master dose not return.
moosesrule882 More than 1 year ago
This book is booty-ful. I like it. t-t-t-tasty-tasty! fergalicious def, fergalicious def, the fergalicious definition makes them boys go loco.