The Akita, the Japanese dog who conquered foreign hearts - The360 PlayBuzz

Recent Posts

  • Friday, November 29, 2019

    The Akita, the Japanese dog who conquered foreign hearts

    The Akita, the Japanese dog who conquered foreign hearts

    What do American actor Richard Gere, French cinema icon Alain Delon and Russian skater Alina Zagitova have in common? They are all dog lovers Akita, a Japanese breed that is attracting growing interest all over the world. 

    In recent years, the number of foreign owners of these husky-looking dogs has jumped, surpassing domestic demand.

    And the fame of this species grew even more at the beginning of the year when Alina Zagitova proclaimed her love for these dogs after seeing them while she was training in the archipelago. In the process, local officials promised to offer him one.

    This enthusiasm does not surprise Osamu Yamaguchi, a 64-year-old Akita dog breeder in Takasaki, Gunma region, north-west of Tokyo.

    "My clients were previously half Japanese and half foreign, but recently the number of foreigners has increased," he told AFP in his garden, where he raises about twenty dogs.

    According to figures from the Akita Dog Preservation Association, the number of animals listed as having foreign owners was 33 in 2005, 359 in 2013 and 3967 last year.

    Long bred for hunting, these dogs owe their name to the region of northern Japan from which they originate. They are tall, measuring between 60 and 70 centimeters and weighing between 40 and 50 kg, with ears very straight, eyes a little sunken and a head that can evoke that of a bear.

    "Natural treasure"

    It is one of six Japanese breeds officially recognized as "Natural Treasure" of the country.

    If the Shiba, smaller, is still very popular, both in the archipelago and elsewhere, the Japanese have gradually diverted from the Akita, with less than 3000 new canids recorded per year in the last ten years, against 40,000 in the 1970s.

    "A lot of people would like to have one, but they can not because their building rules forbid it or because they live in a place that is too small," says Kosuke Kawakita, head of the Tokyo branch of the city. Akita Dog Preservation Association.

    The foreigners have taken over and Osamu Yamaguchi makes about 20 trips a year to deliver in person his Akitas, sold around 200,000 yen ($ 2400 CAD), especially in the United States, Russia, China, but also in France in Egypt, Kuwait or Indonesia.

    According to him, this dog is appreciated for his "sensitivity". "He understands how you feel, just by being near you, and he is loyal."

    The Japanese all know the true story of Hachiko, an Akita dog who, in the 1920s, was waiting every day for his master to come back from work at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. One day, his master died during one of his classes at the Imperial University of Tokyo, but the dog kept waiting for him in front of the station for ten years.

    A statue of Hachiko sits today in Shibuya, and he inspired a film in 2009, with Richard Gere in the role of professor.

    "The Akita breed has become very popular" around the world after this film, says Kosuke Kawakita, who himself has owned more than 30 dogs in some sixty years.

    The governor of Akita has for example offered one to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And in China, they have become so popular that shops sell "fake Akitas", falsifying pedigree certificates, he adds.

    Osamu Yamaguchi hopes that Japan will continue to raise Akitas, despite the slightest infatuation with the Japanese. He is worried about seeing them disappear "if their country of origin stops producing them".

    No comments:

    Post a Comment