Aoyama Japanese Akitas

On June 1, 1999, the FCI decided to divide the Akita into two separate "breeds" worldwide .    One breed is the Japanese Akita. The other breed has been named the "Great Japanese Dog" or "GJD".  The GJD consists of Akitas originally exported after WWII whose features were grossly altered by European and American breeding. The Akita standard set by the Japanese Akiho breeders has largely been ignored in the USA. The AKC (American Kennel Club) worsened the situation by refusing to register imported Japanese Akitas beginning in the seventies. This left a small gene pool of nonstandard Akitas from which the present day Akita in the USA has been inbred.  Recently, the AKC opened their registry to Akitas from Japan but only through the JKC/AKC reciprocal agreement of 1992. Now only JKC (Japanese Kennel Club) registered dogs are allowed into the AKC. Consequently, many quality Japanese Akitas are now not being exported.  Akiho, the original Akita registry, is a preservation society for Akitas. The Akiho does not desire the different breed standard set by the Japan Kennel Club (JKC). As only the JKC is affiliated with the FCI, Akiho breeders are reluctant to register their dogs with the FCI. 

 The  FCI announced this split in Mexico at the FCI World Show in 1999.   Not all countries are affiliated with FCI so the Akita remains one breed in several countries including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Canada. The Akita Club of America (ACA) voted not to split the breed in the United States. This vote caused much dissension amongst breeders and a decision to split the breed is denied for three more years. Once a decision to split the breed is made it will be final and cannot be reversed.
Thus, the United States of America recognizes only
One Akita.


Emperor Taisho's akitas
The Emperor Taisho of Japan, and his Akitas (1899)

Most American breeders refuse to acknowledge or accept the imported Akita into their breeding programs and continue to breed the "American" style of Akita. This practice has created two distinctly different style of dogs in the USA. The breeders who are unwilling to breed to one unified standard will eventually cause enough conflict that the Akita may become two breeds in the near future. It also confuses many lay people not familiar with the two types.

American Akita type Breeders are fearful of a split as most likely their dogs will become "Great Japanese Dog" (GJD) in the AKC Miscellaneous Class.  This would affect their prestige in the Dog World and also their puppy sales. 


Hideo Yoshizawa and Youkihi-Go Hideo and Youkihi
Photo by Sachiro

In February of 1999, Hideo Yoshizawa, President of Aoyama Kennels Co. LTD, All Breed Judge for 43 years for JKC and 23 years for KC of Japan, traveled to the Akita Prefecture of Japan to search for a top quality bitch puppy he had promised to find me. .He had been searching for over one year but just could not find the right
"Genuine  Akita".

  Finally, an opportunity arose to be introduced to a renowned Akiho Main Judge,
The man who introduced Hideo to Kodama, which is the only way to meet such a person in Japan, was dying in a hospital bed with tubes inserted into his nostrils. He was mutual friends with both men and offered the proper introduction required for such people to meet in Japan. He yanked out the tubes and walked out of the hospital with Hideo's assistance and the introduction was made. As Hideo said, It was his good fortune as it took 43 years for the introduction to Kodama.  They spoke of the future of the Akita worldwide and formed an immediate kinship.
Hideo and Kodama drove through the mountains in a severe wind and snow storm to meet a top Akiho breeder.

  Among three puppies, two females and one male,  Hideo preferred Himiko-Go and Kodama preferred Youkihi-Go.  Hideo, so impressed with both females, purchased both puppies and they were flown back to Tokyo. He promised both the breeder and Kodama to bring me back to Akita for a proper introduction. Hideo and I traveled back to Akita, Japan in April of 1999, to drink tea and talk about the Future.  It was still snowing. Hideo gifted me Himiko-Go and I desired and bought Youkihi-Go.

Suki and Kodama-San
Meeting renowned Akiho Main Judge, Kodama-San with his Akita in Akita Prefecture,Japan


Himiko and Youkihi
Youkihi and Himiko .

Hideo Yoshizawa  introduced me to his lifelong "teacher", Harada.  Harada was President of the KC of Japan for 22 years. He retired from this position in 1998 and is a remarkable man. Prior to his Presidency of KC of Japan, Harada was Assistant to Ishibashi Sakamoto, the President of the JKC, until his death. Sakamoto was friends with top government officials and was made President of the JKC in 1956. The two Vice Presidents were Fumio Kobayashi and Sawabe. Sakamoto and Sawabe died  leaving only Fumio Kobayashi. But Fumio Kobayashi declined the JKC Presidency. So the government made Takeosuke Kobayashi, no relationship to Fumio Kobayashi, the President of the JKC. After this appointment, Harada, and all of the talented people of the JKC, left the JKC and formed a new club, Kennel Club of Japan. Government officials filled all of the vacant positions in JKC with politicians. It was no longer dog oriented people filling important positions but politicians running the JKC. Fumio begged Hideo, a JKC judge at this time, to leave the JKC and become a judge for KC of Japan. Hideo had no strong opinion of either club but, due to his deep respect for Fumio Kobayashi, agreed and has been a renowned Judge with KC of Japan for 23 years.

Harada-San, President

Kodama and Takeda
Harada, KC of Japan President from 1956 to 1998

Kodama and Takeda discuss the Akita's future in
Akita Prefecture, Japan

 Very few of the people I met with wanted the representation by the JKC~AKC"reciprocal agreement" of 1992.  They would like to establish better communication between the breeders of Japan and the USA. Some Japanese breeders  desire better angulation and better size without losing important features of a Japanese Akita, such as the triangular eyes and coat texture.  Constantly I was asked to feel the coats of Akitas in Japan because I was told the coat quality is something which cannot be described in a breed standard but only felt to be properly understood. One noticeable difference of the Akitas in Japan was the consistent and refined temperament their dogs possess toward man.  They were very friendly animals upon approach.

Youki Puppy
Photo by Sachiro

Suki Mahar and Hideo Yoshizawa
Suki and Hideo
Aoyama's newest import bloodline
 Hachiko Akita Statue at Shibuya Train Station
Tokyo, Japan


Akita hunting Bear   Akitas hunting boar

Matagi Hunters hunted Bears and Boar with Akitas

fighting dogs

Akitas were used for Dog Fighting until the early 1900's.
In 1899, a fighting ring was constructed in Shinotomi-cho, near Odate, Japan which has since been destroyed. There was
attendance to the organized dog fights and it was a popular sport until the prohibition of Dog Fighting in 1909.

fighting ring

Youkihi and Himiko  

 Himiko and Youkihi

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