The statues of 15 Sakhalin huskies that accompanied the first Japanese expedition to the Antarctic at the end of the 1950s will leave Tokyo Tower, as the work to remove the statues began on Wednesday.
The dog-statues have watched the broadcasting tower for more than 50 years. Among the statues there are the ones of Taro and Jiro, the only dogs that survived after being left behind when the Japanese team returned home in February 1958, according to Kyodo news agency.
The statues will be moved from the tower to the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo. The move was necessary in order for an afforestation project to be made on the tower grounds.
The 15 sled dogs were left at the Japanese base while the first team was about to be replaced by a second one which was on its way. However, bad weather prevented the second team from reaching the base and retrieving the dogs.
After one year, a third expedition team arrived at the base and found two dogs that were still alive.
The survival of the dogs was widely reported in the media. Movies, TV dramas and an animated series were made based on the story.