Saturday, May 24, 2008

The man who saved the Akita

It may be hard to believe now, but back in the mid-1940s, Japan's Akita breed of dog was on the brink of extinction, pushed there by wartime deprivation and the popularity of foreign breeds, such as the German shepherd.


Literally coming to the dogs' rescue was engineer Morie Sawataishi. His tale [get it?] is recounted in author Martha Sherrill's book Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain.


Of the hundred or so Akitas he owned, Sawataishi was closest to one named Samurai Tiger:

Sherrill writes about how Sawataishi, now in his 90s, chokes up when talking about Samurai Tiger, of how a conversation about the spirited dog can occupy an entire night and drain many glasses of sake.




Morie Sawataishi with Kurasawa-Toro.


—Mellow Monk


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