Page 7 - 2018 Issue 2
P. 7

(Continued from page 6)                          was sent to Miss Keller from her admirers in Japan.
                                                          Kenzan-Go lived with Miss Keller until his death
         Orient and Japan in 1937 where she commenced a   around 1944 or 1945.
         grueling ten-week speaking tour, visiting 39 cities, and   So started the unusual introduction of the Akita
         giving 99 lectures to more than a million people. Her   to America, and the ensuing interest in this exotic dog
         tour would take her eventually to Akita City, a town of  from Japan which finally culminated in recognition of
         about 60,000 residents at that time. During an   the Akita breed in America by the American Kennel
         interview with reporters earlier, she had indicated that  Club in 1973. Three events which in combination
         she would like to have an Akita dog. The notion   contributed significantly to focusing attention on the
         probably came to her while in Tokyo where she had   Akita dog during the two decades preceding World
         learned of the Akita dog Hachi-Ko and was touched   War II were: the saga of Hachi-Ko, the tour of Japan
         by his story. At Akita City, Mr. Ichiro Ogasawara, a   by Helen Keller and her involvement with the breed,
         member of the Akita Police Department, presented   and the declaration of the Akita as a natural
         Miss Keller with one of his own new puppies,     monument. Had these events not occurred, one must
         Kamikaze-Go. It should be remembered that purebred  wonder if the Akita, as a distinctive and identifiable
         Akitas were at that time virtually nonexistent outside   breed, would have survived.
         of Akita Prefecture, and very scarce even there.     After the Akita was declared a natural
             Kamikaze-Go returned to the United States with   monument, there is ample recorded evidence of a
         Helen Keller aboard the liner Chikchibu Maru. "Kami,"  strong surge of activity, in the Odate area in
         as he was affectionately called, went to live with   particular, to restore the Japanese Akita dog to its
         Helen Keller at her estate in a suburb of New York.   original state. It is fortunate indeed that the road back
         Unfortunately, Kami became ill and died in November  for the Akita started in the 1920s, for had it not, World
         of the same year at the tender age of eight months.   War II, which further decimated the ranks of the
             In June of 1939, a second Akita, Kenzan­ Go,                                  (Continued on page 8)

             Kin-Go, circa 1932. Kin-Go was a Natural Monument designate.

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