VIDEO UPDATE FROM JAPAN: One Loyal Tsunami Dog Found

Mei Chan, the "loyal tsunami dog," is safe with her guardian. The Brittany spaniel was rescued by her guardian shortly after the "Stay Together Dogs" video captured the world's concern.

Mei Chan, the "loyal tsunami dog," is safe with her guardian.


Video released today by Nippon SPCA* shows Mei Chan, the “loyal tsunami dog,” safe and living with her guardian. The Brittany spaniel was rescued by her guardian shortly after the “stay together dogs” video prompted worldwide concern for the dogs’ survival.

The heartbreaking video showed two lost dogs alone amidst the desolation and wreckage following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The unforgettable footage of the Brittany spaniel refusing to abandon the injured white English setter was the last anyone saw of the dogs for nearly eight months. 

Today’s video from Nippon SPCA is a triumphant contrast to the desperate situation captured in March. It does the soul good to see Mei Chan safe once again. Watch the video below: 

* correction made 11/6/11: Nippon SPCA



November 1, 2011 – Nearly eight months after the video of the two pitiable “loyal tsunami dogs” who refused to abandon each other communicated the devastation of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami to the world, the Brittany spaniel has finally been located, according to the Nippon SPCA. 

The video of the loyal tsunami dogs, also known as the “stay together dogs,” created a groundswell of concern for the lost and injured animals of Japan.  (Global Animal readers donated $33,000 to help rescue, provide food and housing, and reunite pets with their families.)

What actually happened to the two dogs became a source of controversy, all surrounding Kenn Sakurai, the only person who claimed to know what happened to the dogs in the video footage shot by Fuji TV. Since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, there has not been any proof or corroborating evidence about the wellbeing of the dogs, nor has there been any evidence to substantiate Sakurai’s numerous claims that he coordinated the rescue of the injured dogs.

Many were highly skeptical of Kenn Sakurai’s evolving story and its many revisions, implausibilities, and inconsistencies, including Global Animal.  Sakurai contacted Global Animal on several occasions and expressed frustration over the need to verify his story before it could be reported as fact. Mr. Sakurai, and others, seemingly construed the request for any form of evidence as an attack on what Sakurai and his small group of believers called his “Samurai honor.”

For all these months, nobody knew what happened to the two dogs who had become the symbols of the animal suffering in Japan. That is, until now. It is with great relief that Japan’s SPCA is reporting that one of the dogs, the Brittany spaniel, has been found. 

Below is the direct response by the guardian of both of the “stay together dogs” seen in the video – the Brittany spaniel, age two-years-old, and the more seriously injured eight-year-old Irish setter. (The report is unedited from the original source, in both English and Japanese.) This statement by the dogs’ guardian refutes Mr. Sakurai’s claims and questions his attacks on Nippon SPCA. We trust it will put an end to Kenn Sakurai’s fabulations, requests for money, and self-aggrandizing heroics.

We further hope this news will help the many people concerned about the loyal tsunami dogs to find some closure. Please read on for the truth about what happened to the two beloved dogs who moved so many with their unshakable loyalty to each other. – Global Animal

Akiko Fujimura, the owner of Nippon SPCA has LOCATED ONE OF THE “STAY TOGETHER” TSUNAMI DOGS.  It has been 7 months.  7 long months of a lot of questions surrounding these dogs, and here is the update.

藤村晃子さんは “STAY TOGETHER” TSUNAMI DOGS  で知られているNippon SPCAの責任者の一人です。この長い7ヶ月間たくさんありました質問などのアップデートです。

Akiko Fujimura was asked to rescue a Dachshund in Fukushima by the owner. While on her mission to rescue the pet, she met the owner, of the famous “stay together” dogs.  The brown Brittany spaniel is named Mei chan and is two years old, the white English Setter is named Lee chan and is eight years old.  They are in fact siblings and come from the same owner.   The owner of the dogs told, their story:

藤村晃子さんは福島のダックスフン ドの津波犬の飼い主に頼まれました。レスキューに向かう途中藤村晃子さんはあの一緒に居た犬のご主人に逢いました。ブリトニースパニョールのメイちゃん二 歳とイングリシュシッターのリーちゃん8歳です。彼らは姉妹で、同じ飼い主から来ました。飼い主さんによると:

As some of you can remember, these two dogs were caught on video by the FUJI camera crew that’s sparked international awareness for the animals of Fukushima.  The film crew captured the beautiful loyalty of these two dogs, and their protective nature, as siblings frequently demonstrate.  The owner of the dog searched for her pets after the tsunami, she found the brown Brittany Spaniel waiting by the same school that is featured in the background of the video.  The dogs, are used to the school and its surroundings as they accompanied the owner there multiple times.  It was one of the only buildings not destroyed in the area.  A familiar site amongst so much destruction.  The brown Brittany Spaniel, Mei chan, was found waiting for his humans at the same site of the video, by the school.  The owner frantically looked for Lee chan, but sadly, she was nowhere to be found.  To this day, the owner is still looking for her desperately.  Akiko assured the owner, that Nippon SPCA will assist her, and look for Lee chan as well.

ご存知のとうりこの二匹は FUJI cameraのクルーの映像に写り世界中に有名になりました。そのクルーの映像は見事に姉妹の愛情の深さをとらえました。津波のあと飼い主さんは茶色のブ リトニースパニョールのほうを映像にも映っていた学校で見つけました。この学校にはこの犬達にとってなじみの場所であり、時々飼い主さんといっしょに来て いました。そしてこの場所は他の場所とは違ってあまり壊れてはなく、そのままでした。 茶色のブリトニースパニョールのメイちゃんはそこで飼い主さんの来るのを待っていました。けれど、リーちゃんの方は未だに見つかってはおりません。飼い主 さんは未だに探し続けています。晃子さんも、あきらめず、リーちゃんを探し続けています。

This was a very busy time for all rescue groups and shelters, animals needed rescue and assistance, shelters were at capacity, during this chaos, Akiko started getting emails and phone calls, people informing her that Nippon SPCA was being insulted by a man who owned a dog food company.  She was flabbergasted, but didn’t have the real time to look into it as her own shelter had many incoming rescues and she was still on the field.  But when she did have the time, what she found was most disturbing.

今は 動物救助団体、シェルターにとって忙しい時期です。どの動物達も即の救助が必要でどのシェルターも一杯です。そんな中、晃子さんの所に彼女の知り合いの方 から、電話やメールなどが届きました。ある人が 津波犬に関してNippon SPCAのことを中傷しているということでした。そのとき晃子さんはとても忙しくその確認をする時間などありませんでした。その事実を確信した時それは驚 くべきことでした。

A man named Kenn Sakurai, President of Butch Foods, was insulting many animal welfare organizations via social media, and Nippon SPCA was one of them.  She didn’t know who he was or why he was doing this at the time, but she found out he was claiming to be directly involved in the rescue of the “stay together dogs”.  Claiming that HE coordinated THEIR rescue.  There is an incredible issue, considering that Akiko had already met the owner, and already knew that one dog, the 8 year old setter named Lee chan remains missing.  She decided to reach out to Kenn Sakurai and question why he is insulting an organization that he has never had anything to do with (hers) and why he is claiming to have been involved with a rescue that he again had nothing to do with.  She called Kenn who didn’t answer her questions on both insulting her organization and the details surrounding the “rescue”.  She therefore decided to approach this via the written word, and she wrote to him.  She wanted to limit it to a few clear and concise questions, they are:

彼の名前は桜井けん。かれは Butch Foods会社の社長でソーシャルメディアを使い数々の動物救助団体を非難、 Nippon SPCA もそのうちの一つでした。晃子さんはどうして彼がそのような事をするのか当時わかりませんでしたが、後に彼が“STAY TOGETHER” TSUNAMI DOGS のレスキューと直接関わりそしてその指揮をとったと名乗っている事を知りました。これは驚くべきことで、晃子さんは飼い主さんと直接逢い、一匹のいぬと直 接逢い、そしてもう一匹の8歳のリーちゃんが居ない事を知っています。晃子さんは 桜井けんさんと直接逢いなぜかれがソーシャルメディアを使い数々の動物救助団体を非難しているのか、そして彼がなぜ逢った事もないレスキューのことを彼が したと主張しているのか聞こうとしました。晃子さんはけんさんに電話しましたが彼にもそして彼の会社にものらりくらりと返事をくれる様子はありませんでし た。晃子さんは、FAXを使って書面で、情報開示をの要請を彼のもとに行いました。その質問は下記に記してあります。

Question 1: Where were you when the disaster hit?

Question 2: Where exactly were these dogs when they were rescued?

Question 3: Where is the vet clinic that you stated the dogs are staying at? 

Question 4: Which police department did you do go?

Question 5:  What was the condition of the dogs when they were rescued?






Akiko then received a response by Kenn’s attorney.  Kenn’s attorney outlined he cannot reveal the name of the pet’s owner, cannot agree or disagree, as the microchip information is deemed privileged information.  If that was so.  Kenn wouldn’t have the information either. 



The difference is, Akiko knows the owner, has a picture of the found spaniel, Mei chan, and is still working with the owner to find Lee chan, the missing white English setter.


We support Nippon SPCA in her quest to reunite the entire family and sincerely thank her for her statement, her photos, and her honesty. 

私たちは晃子さんそして Nippon SPCA のこの家族をいっしょにしてあげたいという志を支援しそして彼女の忠実なことばに感謝いたします。

Please find an update photo of Mei chan, the beautiful Brittany spaniel that protected her sister.  We have been granted permission to publish Mei chan’s photo.  Due to Akiko’s limited English, please convey any English speaking questions to The Hachiko Coalition and it will be answered in an orderly fashion through translators.  Thank you.

この美しいお姉さんを守ろうと した茶色のスパニョールのメイちゃんの写真を見てください。メイちゃんの写真を公表する権利を私たちは頂いております。藤村晃子さんは英語はしゃべれませ ん。もし英語での晃子さんへの質問がおありでしたら、どうぞ The Hachiko Coalitionのほうへお送りください。翻訳ののち送らせて頂きます。宜しくお願い致します。

Should you wish to support the Nippon SPCA, please visit their website:

どうぞ Nippon SPCAへのご支援宜しくお願い致します。 Nippon SPCAのHPはこちらです。


The most complete chronological record of Mr. Kenn Sakurai’s stories claiming he was involved in the rescue of the two loyal tsunami dogs was collected by a researcher, and can be read here:


3/13/11 – Watch: Loyal Tsunami Dogs video

3/17/11 – Help: How To Help & Donate To Japan’s Lost and Injured Pets

3/18/11 – Editorial: Japan’s Animal Victims: Truth & News vs. Facebook & Rumor

3/19/11 – Editorial: Read more details of Kenn Sakurai’s interview

3/25/11 – Editorial: Still No ‘Proof Of Life,’ Despite Rumor Mill

3/28/11 – Related: Global Animals Donate $27,000+ To Japan Animal Rescue

4/14/11 – Related: Loyal Dog & Friend’s Safety STILL UNCONFIRMED



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  2. A dog stay with a house which was collapsed by tsunami(March 14, 2011. Morning, Arahama) = This picture was taken by Takuya Imai

    I showed above link and picture to Lee-chan’s owner in August 1, 2012.
    Lee-chan’s owner said “Probably this is Lee!!”

    Takuya Imai is a cameraman of Nikkei Newspaper in Japan, i sent a message to Mr. Imai about white dog, and yesterday, he replied me.

    This picture was taken by Mr. Imai, on March 14, 2011, 7:11 am, in Arahama Wakabayashi district where near the please that FujiTV filmed two dogs.
    Mr.Imai has not rescued Lee-chan, but this is a important clue.
    Mr.Imai said “there were many policemen, so someone has seen the white dog.”

    Also, March 14, 2011, about 9:00 am, a Kahoku newspaper’s crew was in Arahama Wakabayashi district, and he said “Policemen of Tokyo,
    they were searching missing person in Arahama Wakabayashi district.

    I will ask Policemen of Tokyo.
    I think it is difficult to find Lee-chan, but we continue look for Lee-chan!

    Thank you Global Animal!

    Mika Iwamuro

  3. Tazi, Thank you for sending me e-mail.
    I’m very glad!

    Yes, on (Sun) July 15 2012, we will hold the demonstration at Fuji TV’s headquarters to ask them to correct the false information about the loyal tsunami dogs.

    I’d be delighted to have your follow-up on the demonstration and link back!

    Thank you so much Global Animal!

    A protest demonstration against Fuji TV. About Two Loyal Tsunami Dogs.

    Translation English & Japanese: two loyal tsunami dogs in Arahama, Sendai-city.

  4. Dear global animal,

    I’m Japanese.I’m live in Japan.

    I’m not good at English,
    so I’m sorry if it is difficult for you to understand my English.

    I have got a lot of courage by your reports and GA reader’s comments.
    Thank you global animal !!

    Translation English & Japanese about loyal tsunami dogs in Arahama, Sendai-city .

    Sunday) July 15 2012
    A protest demonstration against Fuji TV. About Two Loyal Tsunami Dogs.
    On March 17 2011, after the tsunami, Fuji TV reported false information “both dogs were rescued.”
    But in fact, white english setter was not rescued, still missing.
    We demand to correct Fuji-TV’s false information.

    Fuji TV, CNN, NPR, TYT, CBS, ABC, UK telegraph, ITN, Apple Daily, more, they reported “two loyal tsunami dogs were rescued” in March 2011, but they still have NOT corrected their wrong reports.

  5. Mr. Sakurai deceived overseas people who did not know the situation well, by sending pet food once to each shelter as a camouflage.
    Of all the money which he raised, nothing was contributed to the shelters.
    櫻井氏は事情を良く知らない海外の人達を騙して金を集め、カムフラージュとして一応、各シェルターにペットフードを送っているが お金は一切寄付していない。

    Is That Forgiven deceive/hurt to many people By Kenn’s lies until proven guilty?

    No, Never Forgiven.

    There is no real evidence that friends of kenn’s who are off-road bikers ever existed.

    No one has ever seen friends of his off-road bikers in Japan.

    Nobody has claimed to see the off road bikers since Kenn started told about them.

    including Kenn.

    Kenn has never seen the off road bikers himself.

    Where is evidence that friends of Kenn who rescued any animals.

    There is no evidence that Kenn’s friends has rescued any animals.

    What evidence does he has?

    All of Kenn’s statements points to his guilt.

    What Kenn has been saying/doing in Japan is so different from what he has been saying for overseas people.

    Kenn has never told Japanese people about his Animal Rescue Effort in disaster-stricken area.

    I believe that Kenn thought his lies and details will not be discovered by Japanese people.

  6. Thank you, Nancy, for your kind words and everyone’s show of support for Global Animal’s reporting. We are so relieved that Mei-chan is with her family and that they’ve had each other for support during the terrible aftermath of the tsunami. Still, it is bittersweet news since Lee-chan, the Irish setter, is not home.

    We often say around here, “The truth will out.” It certainly did in this case.

    Sadly, it may be too late for the injured white Irish setter, who most likely needed saving when Kenn Sakurai was dispatching his tales of heroism to followers willing to suspend critical thinking. As for their abusiveness toward anyone who questioned, and hostile opposition to any search for facts, that isn’t something we took personally. Still, the willful gullibility (in service of sentimentality or misconstrued “honor” or whatever it was) is troubling because of its consequences.

    We spoke with animal rescue groups that were ready to go find the lost dogs almost immediately after seeing the heartbreaking video. But they needed the truth. And worst of all, the Irish setter’s life probably depended on it.

    – Leah Lessard Jeon, Global Animal co-founder