If you’ve seen a movie about Japan, you’ve probably seen Shibuya Crossing. It features heavily in one of my favorite films, Lost in Translation.
The “scramble crossing,” as it is so called, is one of the most photographed areas of any city in the world. Almost every car traveling near Shibuya Station stops as pedestrians flood the intersection. Thousands of people at any given moment can be in this area, surrounded by cars, buildings, and lights. As impressive as it looks on a movie, it’s even more impressive in person.
So too is the endless urban landscape filled with everything imaginable, signs, restaurants, shops, arcades. Tokyo is an extraordinary place.
This is why it’s easy to miss, when walking around Shibuya, a small bronze statue of a dog.
A dog named Hachikō.
Hachikō was an Akita, then a breed dying out, owned by a university professor named Hidesaburo Ueno. Each day Ueno would take a train out of Shibuya to the University of Tokyo. And when he would return, there was Hachikō, waiting for him.
But one day, Ueno did not return. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the university. Hachikō waited and waited. At some point, presumably, the dog went home.
The next day, Hachikō returned and waited for Ueno again. And when he did not arrive at the station that day, he came back the next. And the next.
And faithful, loyal Hachikō did this for 9 years, 9 months, and 15 days.
When Hachikō died in March, 1935, he was already famous. So famous, in fact, that he overshadowed his accomplished owner. He became a symbol of loyalty in Japan, a culture so richly imbued with the importance of family and connection.
Today, we are shocked by the news of a mass killing inspired by nothing but pure hate, whatever the person who did it may say.
In the midst of this, it is worth remembering that evil is repelled by love.
True love, the love of our Savior, is a love that never ends. As the author of Hebrews says, our God is a consuming fire. He will not forget us, not ever. He is always with us. And He always draws us to Himself.
In our world today, filled with anger and hate, we should recall this. We need this.
Which is why we can take heart in remembering the example of humble Hachikō. He was not only a dog, but a symbol of something much greater. A symbol of what true, dedicated love looks like. Magnify that to eternity, and we can perhaps begin to glimpse how our Lord sees us.