Japanese photographer Masayo Ishizuki aka ISSY-RIDER captures the beauty of Hitachi Seaside Park in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture, through her artistic muse – Hachi, a Shiba Inu dog. With her lens, she snaps photos of Hachi posed against gorgeous floral backdrops of the millions of flowers that bloom inside the park.
Just like the iconic flowers the canine likes to frolic in, the Shiba Inu is a symbol of Japan. The Shiba is the smallest of the six original Japanese dogs (Akita Inu, Shikoku Inu, Kishu Inu, Hokkaido, and Kai Ken) which were all bred before the 19th century.
Ishizuki told she started taking photos of Hachi and posting them to his own Instagram page back in 2012 because as she said, “he looks really sharp in flowers and is ridiculously cute.” Well turns out his human mom isn’t the only one who thinks he’s a looker, the adorable Shiba Inu now has 18.1K Instagram followers.
Hachi the Shiba Inu loves playing in flowers almost as much as his owner loves taking pictures of him posing with them
Ishizuki has been a photographer, working with a single-lens reflex camera, since 2016 – only one year before she got Hachi. Through the photos, this sweet pup gives off an infectious warmth, but his owner said it was not always like that for this rescue dog, “He was very scared of dogs, but now he is very friendly with everyone.”
Because of their lineage and personality, Shibas are the number one companion dog in Japan, according to the American Kennel Club. These dogs are high in energy and while they can be standoffish to strangers they demonstrate fierce loyalty to their owners. Hachi is not Ishizuki’s first Shiba Inu, “Before that, I lived with Shiba Inu “Ron”, but he died in December 2015.”
Shiba Inus have become so intertwined into Japanese culture that they have three different words to describe ‘the essence of a Shiba.’ Kan-i – which refers to their alertness and bravery; Ryosei – which means being good-natured, loyal, and obedient; and soboku – which describes their easy, natural good looks.
Shibas may be good-natured, however, on the other side, they demonstrate what one could call diva qualities. When under distress these dogs release a human-like wail. Possible causes of stress can include baths or having their nails clipped. Luckily Shibas are also known for being very clean dogs almost akin to cats and will lick their paws or avoid walking in puddles. Their coats are dirt-repellent so their owners don’t need to wash them as much as other breeds.
Photoshoots with Hachi are set at Hitachi Seaside Park, which is home to a wide variety of colorful flowers and grasses that bloom throughout the seasons. For example, the park houses an estimated 4.5 million nemophila plants which, when in season, make the fields look as blue as the sky above them. Other flowers that can be found are tulips, sunflowers, narcissi, poppies, and kochia, which turns the fields red in the autumn. Hitachi spans over 350 hectares, 200 hectares of which are open to the public.
Now that’s one happy-looking dog, wouldn’t you agree?