Hanako, a female elephant at the Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo, died in May at the age of 69. The news was widely reported because Hanako was a famous fixture of the zoo, where, according to then-Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, she “gave dreams and hopes to children,” a strange observation if you review Hanako’s long life.

A friendship gift from Thailand to Japanese children in 1949, the elephant did not adapt readily to her new home at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. In fact, she killed two men, one a zookeeper, the other a drunk trespasser. Difficult to control, she was chained up and lost weight. Eventually the zoo transferred Hanako to Inokashira, where the head zookeeper took special care of her.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.