Stop putting masks on Hachiko, Tokyoites urged

Despite today being Hachiko Day, local tourism association chairman implores people to save masks for practical use

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors
Hachiko statue in Shibuya wearing mask 2020

Photo: Jungo Kanayama

As Tokyo and six other prefectures in Japan are put under a state of emergency due to the escalating cases of Covid-19 coronavirus, the city is slowly shutting down non-essential businesses and people are staying home more and more.

Today, April 8, is the first day of the emergency and coincidentally is also Hachiko Day, which commemorates the faithful canine's death in 1935 due to heart infection. Every year, fans gather at the Hachiko statue in Shibuya to pay their respects by offering flowers. This year, however, perhaps as a show of love, some concerned members of the public have instead put a face mask on Hachiko.

Sure, it is an adorable and heartwarming sight, but Jungo Kanayama, the chairman of the Shibuya City Tourism Association, implores Tokyoites to refrain from putting masks on the statue. As the city and the rest of the world are fighting the spread of the coronavirus with diminishing resources, Kanayama advises us not to be wasteful of masks, which are already in short supply. Furthermore, as nobody knows for sure if these are used masks, they could potentially be a health risk to the cleaners who look after the area.

In case you're wondering, current evidence suggests pets have little-to-no risk of catching or transmitting the coronavirus, let alone a stone statue.

So in memory of Japan's most beloved dog, here are ten things you didn't know about Hachiko. And, if you have time on your hands and can't find any masks in store, here are four easy ways to make your own.

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