• Kyodo

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An English-language website featuring stories about Akita dogs, a popular breed known for their good looks and loyalty to their owner, has been launched by a local newspaper company in northeastern Japan.

The English version of the Akita Inu News by the Akita Sakigake Shimpo opened with four articles. The company plans to add more English articles to the website on a regular basis.

One of the four pieces introduced the YouTube channel “Akita Inu Genki,” which depicts the daily life of an Akita dog and its owner, with one of the posts on it attracting more than 28 million views. Another highlighted masks adorned with illustrations of Akita dogs, which are sold in their namesake prefecture.

The daily started a special monthly page dedicated to articles about Akita dogs in January and opened a Japanese website in July.

The Akita breed has grown popular overseas, in particular in Russia, after President Vladimir Putin received one as a gift from the governor of Akita Prefecture in 2012, following Moscow’s support after the 2011 devastating earthquake that hit northeastern Japan.

In 2018, Russian Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova was given an Akita puppy by a Japanese group preserving the breed, which she named Masaru, meaning victory in Japanese.

American author and political activist Helen Keller (1880-1968) treasured the companionship of dogs throughout her life, including two Akita dogs that in the 1930s became the first of their kind known to have entered the United States.

The news company, established in the late 19th century, said it plans to translate into English articles on Keller’s 1937 visit to Akita, during which she was given a dog as a gift, and post them on the newly launched website.

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