“Genkuro” in Yokote City Has Many Fans for His Loveliness

  • 2024-01-31
  • 2024-01-31
  • NEWS
  • 14view

Hitoshi Kanno, an office worker in Akasaka, Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, and his family keep a tiger-haired Akita dog named Genkuro (four-year-old male), who has a smaller build and adorable eyes. Genkuro’s Instagram (@genkuro_the_akita) is very popular, with 14,000 followers. We went to meet Genkuro, who has charmed many people.

Genkuro lives in Yokote City, where there is heavy snowfall. His tiger-like fur shines in the pure white snow.

Yokote City is a heavy snowfall area. Although there was less snowfall than usual in early January 2024, the mountains and fields were covered with snow. When we visited Mr. Kanno’s home, Genkuro, Hitoshi, and his wife Mayumi welcomed us. Genkuro gazed at us with sparkling eyes as if he wanted us to play with him. He was so cute that we felt like forgiving him for anything within seconds of meeting him.

Genkuro uses his paws to play with toys.

Soon, Genkuro began to play with stuffed animals and balls. His family surrounded him with smiles. When Mr. Kanno’s eldest daughter, Aiko (15), brushes Genkuro’s hair, he involuntarily leans on her and begins to doze off. Seeing his eldest son, Shotaro (17), and Aiko playing with Genkuro is “the great joy” for Mr. Kanno.

The baby basket in the entryway is a favorite spot for Genkuro and has often appeared on Instagram. The children of relatives have used it for generations, and although it is a little small for Genkuro, he curls up and sleeps in it as if wholly wrapped up by the basket.

Genkuro sleeping in his favorite baby basket. Is it a little too small for Genkuro?

Mayumi introduces their daily lives on Instagram from Genkuro’s point of view. Initially, she kept acquaintances updated on what they were up to. Still, Mayumi started receiving comments such as, “I got a tiger-haired Akita dog because I admired Genkuro,” and an overseas enthusiast asking for advice on naming an Akita dog.

“I want a dog.” About ten years ago, Mr. Kanno learned that Aiko had written a letter to Santa Claus asking for a dog. At the time, they lived in an apartment, and he could not fulfill her wish. When the family moved to a new detached house in October 2019, Mr. Kanno began his search for a dog.

About two months later, a chance encounter occurred with an Akita dog. When Mayumi went to Akita Furusato Village (Yokote City) on business, an Akita dog exhibition event happened to be held. Whenever she took a break, she looked at the dogs intently. She was approached by a man involved in the event, who asked her if she would like to adopt one.

Aiko is playing with Genkuro, who is relaxing on her lap.

Mayumi was surprised, thinking that only special people, such as those with some license, could own an Akita dog, but the man said he would introduce her to Genkuro, who was born at a nearby kennel. She immediately told her family and headed out the following week to visit. When they held Genkuro, about three months old at the time, the whole family “wanted to take him home right away,” Mayumi said. Thus, on December 25, 2019, Genkuro joined the family as a “Christmas present” for the children. Aiko bought a collar and leash with her allowance and was overjoyed, saying, “I don’t need anything else for the rest of my life!”

Of course, there were times when it was difficult for the Kanno family. For the first three days, Genkuro cried so much at night that the whole family was sleep-deprived, and in no time at all, their newly built home was gnawed on everywhere by Genkuro. When they were having a hard time dealing with the mischievous Genkuro, it was the “masters,” veteran owners of Akita dogs, who came to help them out.

Genkuro peeks out of a small window in the entrance hallway.

One of the “master” Akita dog owners came to check on the Kanno family every week and gave sound advice for raising Genkuro. As recommended, they had him interact with neighborhood children to get him accustomed to people, allowing Genkuro to grow into a friendly character. Mayumi said, “It’s a new house, and at first, I was repairing all the damage, but I’ve stopped that now and decided to keep it. It provides proof that Genkuro is alive and well.”

Genkuro, whose body has turned white from the snow.

Genkuro is now a part of the Kanno family, and they “can’t imagine life without him.” Mayumi said, “The cuteness outweighs the difficulty of keeping him,” and Hitoshi said, “I hope he lives a long and healthy life.”

>Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Akita Inu (dogs), with their fluffy coat, round eyes, and an adorable tail that curls up, are now famous worldwide. Akita dogs have a strong body and are best known for their loyal personality. The number of Akita dogs raised overseas continues to increase. In Akita Prefecture, the Akita dog's birthplace, there is an active movement to utilize them for tourism promotion. Akita Sakigake Shimpo, entitled "Akitainu News," will circulate various domestic and international information about Akita dogs. The goal is to connect the world and Akita through Akita dogs.