A country’s awesomeness is directly proportional to how many of its celebrities are dogs.

It seems that anyone can become a celebrity online these days, even animals. In fact, with their positive attitudes, boundless energy, adorable faces that you just want to squeeze, and complete removal from the oftentimes-miserable human world, animals are in some ways the perfect internet celebrity.

That’s why today we’re counting down the top five most famous pet dogs in Japan. While there are plenty of famous animals from other species, the list would be far too long to include them all, so we’ll just focus on man’s best friends for today. Have no fear, Japan’s famous cats and other animals will have their time in the sun soon enough.

So let’s get to it! Starting off with…

Honorable Mention: Mari

First up on the list is Mari the Siba Inu. She may not have nearly as much of a following as the other dogs on this list, hence her position as an honorable mention, but it’s the quality of the content she makes that earns her a spot.

Other dogs on this list have talents and are cute, but Mari has something else they lack: an attitude. This girl is sassy, and all of her videos have us in stitches watching how she treats her owner.

▼ One of Mari’s most popular videos, where her owner tries
to give her a kiss, but she thwarts him from every angle.

▼ Mari “helping” her owner cook is legitimately
one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen.

That’s just the tip of the wet nose for Mari, and if you want to see more of her stuff be sure to check out her “helping” her owner study for his exams, her doing her best at her first day on the job, and of course her official YouTube channel.

#5. Shiba, the tobacco shop dog

Next up on the list is a Shiba Inu (aptly named “Shiba”) who made headlines around the world in 2014 when a video showing him “running” a tobacco shop in japan went viral. Shiba would open the window for customers and accept payment in the form of head rubs and cucumber snacks.

▼ The original video showing off Shiba to the world.

▼ This video shows off just how popular Shiba was, with a guestbook filled
with messages from people all over the world who came to visit him.

Unfortunately Shiba has gone into retirement as of 2015 following the closure of the store, but you can still follow his adventures over on his official Instagram account.

▼ Running a shop is hard work. We couldn’t expect Shiba to do it forever!

▼ Never fear, though! Shiba still gets plenty of cucumbers.

#4. S-kun and H-chan

Here we have the only doggy duo on our list, the cosplaying canines known as S-kun and H-chan. Of the two, S-kun is the boy (the purple shuriken in the photo above) and H-chan is the girl (Naruto in the photo above).

What sets these two apart from the rest is the fantastic cosplays that their owner makes for them. Not only do they have an incredible variety of costumes – everything from Meiji chocolate bars to mythical Japanese yokai – but they wear them so well.

▼ Easily the cutest Death Note and
death god Ryuk we’ve ever seen.

One Piece’s Luffy…

▼ …and Chopper!

▼ These two are just two peas in a pod.
Er, two cherries in a pod.

If you want to keep up with S-kun and H-chan’s near-daily antics, then be sure to join their tens of thousands of other followers on Twitter.

#3. Francis

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching an episode of Cooking with Dog, then you should probably remedy that immediately by watching this:

Cooking with Dog is just as much a cooking show
as it is a relaxing and soothing experience for all of the senses.

There’s just something about watching Francis and his anonymous human friend “Chef” make all sorts of recipes, while Francis narrates in his “exotic Japanese accent” that sounds more like a Japanese person trying to sound French while speaking English. It’s just the right amount of bizarre, informative, and nice to look at and listen to that gets each video hundreds of thousands if not millions of views.

▼ Another one of Francis and Chef’s most popular videos
that is a lot more complex than the custard pudding.

▼ Sometimes Francis had to take the wheel and do the cooking himself,
just to show how easy it is to do.

Unfortunately Francis passed away in November last year, and the more recent episodes have had to replace Francis sitting on the table with a stuffed animal dog, which is simultaneously the saddest and cutest thing imaginable.

▼ The outpouring of grief and support online following Francis’s
passing away is a testament to just how many lives he touched.

Even though Francis is gone, all of his videos are still available online on his and Chef’s YouTube channel for viewing. Francis wouldn’t want us to sit around mourning his loss and eating junk food; he’d want us to get out there and cook!

#2. Maru

Now we’re getting to the heavy-hitters. Maru the adorable Shiba Inu isn’t just one of the most famous celebrity animals in Japan, he’s one of the most famous celebrities in Japan… period.

The reason Maru is so popular isn’t because of any special talents; he can’t cook or cosplay like other dogs. But what he can do is melt people’s hearts with his amazing smile in every single photo.

▼ Oh… oh my goodness.
I can feel the crusty layer of cynicism peeling off my soul.

And that’s how Maru looks in nearly every photo, exuding pure joy, which has resulted in him having over 2.5 million followers on his Instagram account.

▼ Maru hanging out in a bookstore surrounded by books
and merchandise… about himself! That’s when you know you’ve made it big.

▼ There is no happiness in the world greater than
the happiness Maru feels for this pillow.

Maru is indeed a huge celebri-dog, but there’s still one Japanese pet dog that is even more well known.

And the #1 most famous pet dog in Japan is…











1. Hachiko

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If you’re a dog-lover or a Japan-lover, then chances are you knew this was coming. Out of all the famous dogs in the world, Hachiko is near the top, and he is of course an Akita dog from Japan.

For those who don’t know the story, Hachiko would greet his owner – a professor at Tokyo University – every day at Shibuya Station on his way back from work. However one day his owner died while at work and did not return to the train station. Still, Hachiko waited for him, and he returned to the train station at the exact time his owner should have come home every day for over nine more years.

To honor Hachiko’s memory and incredible loyalty, a statue was erected right outside of Shibuya Station where he waited every day, and it remains there to this day.

▼ It’s one of the most popular statues in Tokyo,
acting as both a tourist location and perfect meetup spot.

Hachiko’s story has inspired books, movies, television episodes, and even an annual festival at Shibuya Station where hundreds of dog owners turn out every year to remember Hachiko and his love for his owner.

Instagram celebrity Maru may have 2.5 million followers, but over 2.5 million people use Shibuya Station every day, and they all probably know Hachiko’s story, not to mention the millions of others in Japan and around the world who know the name of the loyal dog.

Even though Hachiko’s story is a sad one, Tokyo University did their best to give it a happy ending in 2015 when they erected a statue of Hachiko finally reunited with his owner after almost 100 years of waiting.

▼ Gah! Geez, this wasn’t supposed to be an article that made people cry!
Oh well, I suppose tears of happiness are fine.

So there you have it, the top five most famous pet dogs in Japan. Did we miss any well-known dogs from Japan that you like? Let us know in the comments, and if you know any other internationally-famous dogs, let us know where they’re from using the top five kanji used to represent foreign countries.

Top image: GAHAG (edited by RocketNews24)

W.T.F. Japan will be back next Thursday. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter and let me know if there’s any topics you’d like to see covered. See you next week!