Internet’s Beloved ‘Ugly-Cute’ Stationmaster Akita Passes Away at 13

    A dog in Japan who served as a stationmaster and inspired a 2011 movie has passed away at the age of 13 on Monday.

    Wasao, a male Akita, lived an equivalent of around 90 years in human life, according to the support group Wasao Project.

    Image via @wasao_official

    The Japanese Akita is a large breed of dog originating from the mountainous regions north of the country.

    There is also a variety called the American Akita, though it also originated from Japan.

    Image via @wasao_official

    Both varieties are powerful, independent, and extremely loyal to their owners.

    In the past, their predecessors guarded nobility and even hunted predators such as bears, wild boars, and deer, according to the community page Akita World.

    Image via @wasao_official

    Wasao, who lived in Ajigasawa, Aomori Prefecture, gained nationwide popularity after business owner Setsuko Kikuya adopted him in 2007 and posted articles about him online.

    His unique appearance eventually earned him the nickname “busa kawaii,” a combination of the Japanese words “busaiku” (“ugly”) and “kawaii” (“cute”).

    Image via @wasao_official

    After achieving stardom, Wasao became involved in various activities, including visits to areas affected in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

    Image via @wasao_official

    The dog also served as a “tourism stationmaster” at his local JR Ajigasawa Station.

    Image via @wasao_official

    His unprecedented popularity also resulted in a 2011 movie named after him.


    After Kikuya died in 2017, Wasao’s hair began to sag and he became visibly upset.

    His condition deteriorated in April when he was no longer managed to stand, Wasao Project said.

    Wasao with late owner Setsuko Kikuya. Image via @wasao_official

    The group plans to hold a farewell event to honor Wasao, according to Kyodo News.

    Feature Images via @wasao_official (left, right)

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