Ah Ji, 47, has been waiting for the love of his life to meet him outside Tainan Train Station for twenty years.
When he was 27-years-old, young Ah Ji arranged to meet a Tainan woman outside the station, though it is unclear as to whether they were about to embark on their first date or had been seeing each other prior. Unfortunately, the woman never turned up and so heartbroken Ah Ji chose to live at the station and await her arrival.
For the first few years, Ah Ji stood near the large staircase, ready to greet the woman if she were to arrive. Later, he moved to a side door next to one of the station’s exits where you can still find him today.
Since he chose to become homeless in the pursuit of love, Ah Ji has relied heavily on passersby, social workers and baffled family members to keep him fed and clothed. His family has often tried to make him see sense and return home, but he simply won’t.
Three years ago, social workers found Ah Ji a place to live but he refused to leave, stating he ‘doesn’t wish to leave’ and that he was ‘used to waiting’. They also managed to get him to visit a hospital, however he escaped after a few days and returned to the train station.
Earlier this year, the Tainan City Bureau of Social Affairs organised a dinner for Ah Ji where he received a haircut, a medical check up and fresh clothes. Although he was cheerful at the event and even toasted with the deputy mayor, relatives and friends from the station still couldn’t convince him to leave.
Since his story went viral in Taiwan, Singapore and China, Ah Ji has been labeled the ‘Human Hachiko’. Hachiko was an Akita whose owner worked at the University of Tokyo as a professor. Every day for ten years, Hachiko would walk to Shibuya station to meet his master even after the man died suddenly from a fatal brain haemorrhage.
The woman Ah Ji is waiting for is currently unknown as he doesn’t speak about her often, although many hope the popularity of his story will remind her about that date she forgot about twenty years ago.
Some commenters have suggested that Ah Ji may suffer from a condition colloquially named ‘Oneitis’. It’s thought that Oneitis is a common affliction that occurs to both men and women around the world and causes individuals to become convinced that one individual person is their only soulmate or applicable partner in the world. An inability to be with this person can cause ‘hopelessness, heart palpitations, dry mouth, depression, anxiety and an inability to seek out other romantic or sexual relationships’, according to blogger Dr Nerdlove. The song ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ by The Script has also been attached to Ah Ji, as it seems to perfectly sum up his predicament.
The song’s lyrics read: ‘Cause if one day you wake up and find that you’re missing me
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be
Thinking maybe you’ll come back here to the place that we’d meet
And you’ll see me waiting for you on the corner of the street
So I’m not moving, I’m not moving.’
It certainly doesn’t seem like Ah Ji will be moving any time soon.