Akita Dogs Involved In Revival - Mutsuo Okada


Akita Dogs Involved In Revival - Mutsuo Okada

Translated by Tatsuo Kimura. 

Translated 1-/5/2001.



My previous articles with many photographs indicate that the appearance of the Akita dog was affected due to crossbreeding. Those who wanted to restore the Akita dog to the Japanese dog type, put forth great efforts and began to see the fruits of labor after many years, and this soon ushered in a golden age around 1965.


This restoration process had been restarted soon after World War II with only a few Akita dogs that were available.  The first Akita dogs to gain the limelight were from the Dewa line centered around Kongo-go.  However, these dogs were dark grey (including chocolate), which were not the original colors found in Japanese dogs. These dogs also lacked the ajiwai (characteristics, flavor) of Japanese dogs.


These dogs were soon replaced by Goromaru-go and Tamakuno-go of the Ichinoseki line.  The foregoing two dogs became the two main bloodlines with many descendants.


Through these two bloodlines, excellent Akita dogs such as Tetsuyuki-go, Kumomaru-go, and Shin-no-o-go were produced.  Their descendants, in turn were bred through interchanges within the foregoing three dogs and they soon came to be regarded as the ancestors of the Akita dogs of today.  Through such coordinated programs, many Akita dogs of higher purity were produced.  After seeing some of these dogs, some felt that the "restoration of the Akita dog" was accomplished.


I now want to present some photographs of Akita dogs that I believe are excellent.  Since many of these dogs show only slight differences qualitatively, one may have some difficulties in deciding which is the best.  I would like to show as many as a hundred such photographs, but this is not possible in this article. However, as the saying goes, "Mitusreba kaku ("Every tide has its ebb")," the once great popularity of the Akita dog (Akiho's membership once totaled 12,000, while that of Akikyo was 2,000) began to wane.  Due to repeated judging scandals, Akiho's headquarters shows were banned from time to time by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.  As for Akikyo, being based in the metropolis, changing conditions there began to create increasing difficulties in raising dogs.  Declining membership added to the problems. Furthermore, Akita dogs also have undergone some changes when compared to the dogs that are shown in this article.  Some of the questions raised about the Akita dogs of today are the round foreheads (referred to as "helmet" heads), steep stops, shorter muzzles, and soft coats, which perhaps detract from the image of a Japanese dog.  Many of the dogs are insufficient in size.  These problems have been noticed for a long time, and continue to be seen today.


Akita dogs shown in this article could be used as references. With proper body forms, these dogs have tight bodies that were developed through rigorous exercise programs.  Their kihaku (courage, composure, intensity) were also at their best.  These dogs were admired by the true dog Akita fans and one can say that these dogs had progressed to a certain point in restoration.


Japanese dogs originally from Akita were similar in appearance to Japanese dogs found throughout Japan.  However, dogs from Akita were slightly larger.  Many of these dogs were white, according to documents, oral histories of the elders and the few available photographs.  However, very few white Akita dogs were seen immediately after the war.  Of the few that were available, their white coats had tinges of red or were of cream color with the undesirable red pigmented noses.  Mr. Katsusuke Ishihara made the following statement in a special edition on Japanese dogs in the November 1973 issue of the Aiken No Tomo (Dog's Friend) magazine: "(The first part is omitted) Many white Japanese dogs of today surpass in quality over dogs with colored coats. Much credit go to our members who breed toward purification.  However, this does not mean that one should limit their use to only white dogs (The last part is omitted)."


Nostalgia came to me as I was selecting photographs of Akita dogs for this article. I came to the deep realization that the restoration of Akita dogs had to be started with mixed breeds and impure types of the immediate postwar period.  And many years have also passed by since the golden age of the Akita dog.  My heart is greatly saddened whenever I reminisce about people and dogs of that bygone era.  Could we say much water has gone under the bridge?


(Mutsuo Okada was born in Tokyo in 1937.  He graduated from Keio University in 1959 with a degree in economics.  From his junior high school days, he began to learn much about the Akita dog from Mr. Hyoemon Kyono.  He is a former vice-chairman of the Akitainu Kyokai (Akikyo) and is currently chairman of the Royal Ham Company in Tokyo.)




  1. 1919 White female dog that Mr. Kyono found in Kita Akita District after a search throughout Akita.  Everyone agreed that this was the best dog at that time.


White Female 1919


  2. Maru-go.  A matagi dog recommended by Mr. Hirokichi Saito to be used for breeding in order to produce Akita dogs with standing ears.




3. Dogs on a postcard during the mid 1920s.  Less than 2 shaku (approximately 60.6 cm, 23.9 inches).  (Photo by Mr. Hirahima) Caption:  Pure Akita Dogs.  Shiro-go and two month old puppies, Odate City, Akita. Owner:  Yaichiro Tayama


Shiro-go 1920s


4. Teteuyuki-go (male) of the Kyoun-go Kennel. As a wakainu (10-18 months of age).  Photo taken in the garden of the Kyono residence. After the passing of Mr. Kyono, Tetsuyuki was sent to Mr. Kanbe of Tokyo to be used widely as a stud dog. Littermate of Kumomaru-go.




5. Kumomaru-go (male) of the Kyoun-so Kennel. Sire: Nanun-go. Dam: Makome-go. Winner of Akiho's Meiyosho.  Was not shown at Akiho due to his red brindle coat. Date of birth:  1964. Produced famous dogs successively with the white females.



6. Shin-no-o-go. Date of birth:  1967.    Grandson of Kita-no-o-go. Dogs from this bloodline had the desirable dark nose pigment, coat length and other qualities, which caused quite a stir.




7. Hoppohime-go female).  Ancestor of Shin-no-o-go. Sire:  Hokutomimaru-go. Dam: Akane-go. This dog inherited the red coat from is which came from the prewar Akita Nikkei line.  Hoppohime-go and Hakuho-go produced the Akikyo's Gold Medal winner, Kita-no-o-go. This bloodline produced white dogs with dark nose pigments.  When this dog was born, the tsumuji (whirl of hair on the head) so characteristic of ancient Japanese dogs was present at the stop.  We were delighted to see that this was throwback to the ancient dogs.  This dog closely resembles the white female dog is photograph 1.  Height:  2 shaku 1 sun (approximately 63.7 cm, 25.1 inches).



8. Tamayu-go (female).  Winner of Akiho's Meiyosho and Akikyo's Gold Medal thus winning the championships of both Akita dog organizations. Sire: Kumomaru-go.  Dam: Tenbuki-go. The coming of this dog determined that the restoration of the Akita dog was complete.  Her dam was a white dog.




9. Shinhakuho-go.  Sire: Shin-no-o-go.  Dam: Tamazakura-go (daughter of Kumomaru-go). Winner of Akikyo's Gold Medal.  Tight body developed as a result of rigorous running exercises at the Akita Yuri Honso Kennel.




10. Shiragiku-go (female) of the Hitachi Jiyugaokaso Kennel.  Sire: Kumomaru-go.  Dam: Hakuhome-go.  A famous bitch that was born at the kennel of the famous Mr. Sasai.  Littermate of the females; Tamagusa-go and Toshime-go that took the Akita world by storm.  Dam of Tenko-go. Shiragiku's dam, Hakuhome-go was a white female that was received as a gift from Mr. Kyono.




11. Tenko-go (male) of the Hitachi Jiyugaokaso Kennel.  Sire:  Nagaharu-go (Choshun-go) (son of Tetsuyuki). Dam:  Shiraglku-go (daughter of Kumomaru).  Winner of Akikyo's Gold Medal.  Winner of Tokuyu and first place at Akiho's regional shows as a soken (18 to 30 months).  This dog underwent a well planned running program.




12. Fuujinmaru-go (male). Sire: Matsukaze-go (son of Tetsuyuki-go).  Dam: Shushun-go (Hideharu-go) (daughter of Shin-no-o-go). Winner of the Meiyosho and first place winner at Akiho's headquarters show. Akikyo's Saiyushu Hyokainu (Highest valued dog).




13. Shinsachizakura-go (female).  Sire: Banroku-go. Dam:  Mako-go [Shin-no-o-go x Chigasakime-go (Kumomaru x Toshime)].  Winner of Akikyo's Gold Medal.



14.Takamaru-go (male). Sire: From the Shin-no-o-go line.  Dam: From the Kumomaru-go line. Winner of Akikyo's Silver Medal.




15. Shin-goyu-go (male) of the Yuzawa Ishibashi Kennel.  Sire:  Goyu-go (From the Shin-no-o line).  Dam:  Seikime-go. Winner of Akikyo's Silver medal (The Gold Medal went to Tenko-go).  Tenko-go and Shin-goyu went through rigorous exercising programs.




16. Gyokurin-go (male).  Sire:  Masakado-go.  Dam:  Kosachi-go.  Gyokurin-go was unable to obtain the Meiyosho due to his period of Akiho Headquarters Show ban by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.  An excellent dog that was used widely for breeding.  Gyokurin came from the Tetsuyuki line.


No Picture


17. Tamatora-go (male).  Akiho's first place and Tokuyu winner with a beautiful brindle coat color.




18. Kingo-go (male) (first view).  Face as a yoken (6 to 10 months).  Winner of the Akikyo's Silver Medal later.




19. Kingo-go (a second view).  Body developed through a rigorous running exercise program.  An example of the austere facial expression due to this regimen.





20. Shin O Ryu-go of the Mita Aki Kei Kennel, Red Coat


Shin O Ryu-go


21. Horiki-go of Chigasaki of Ueno. Male, Akikyo No. 71606


Horiki-go of Chigasaki of Ueno


22. Hokuryume (Kitayanagi?). Daughter of Hikuro (KitaOkami)




23. Shinhakuho-go of the Iyooke-so Kennel of Murakami. Akikyo No. 76172, White, Akikyo’s Silver Medal Winner. Not to be confused with Shinhakuho-go, Akikyo No. 52018.


Shinhakuho-go of the Iyooke-so Kennel of Murakami


24. Rauko of Mita Akikei Kennel


Rauko of Mita Akikei Kennel


25. Chika-go. Female, Winner of Akikyo’s Silver Medal, Sire: Shin-no-o-go.



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