Hachiko, the faithful Akita Inu dog who waited for his master’s arrival at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, would have been 100 in November. A well-known Hollywood film and a big bronze statue outside the station have both memorialized his story.

Stephanie Carletti, 20, of Bergamo, northern Italy, will go to Japan for the first time this summer to see sites associated with Hachiko, including the Aoyama Cemetery, the Shibuya area, and the National Museum of Nature and Science. Hachiko was adopted as a newborn by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at Tokyo Imperial University. She was born in Odate, Akita Prefecture, in 1923. His story sparked a lot of interest after being published in the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.

His great-great-grandchildren, Kai Ueno, 25, and Shin, 21, are overjoyed that the dog their grandpa owned is still cherished today. Shin learned about the dog through Kazuto, Shin’s grandfather, and Ueno’s grandson. Shin had read fan letters and other items given to the famous dog and felt a connection to him. Carletti emailed the prefectural office after finding that an Ueno granddaughter lived in the area. Kazuto responded to the Italian admirer with a letter and started conversing with her. Kai is looking forward to seeing Carletti when she comes to Japan.