Hachi: A Dog's Tale

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Hachi poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Produced by Richard Gere
Bill Johnson
Screenplay by Stephen P. Lindsey
Based on Hachi-kō
by Kaneto Shindô
Starring Richard Gere
Joan Allen
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Sarah Roemer
Jason Alexander
Erick Avari
Music by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
Cinematography Ron Fortunato
Edited by Kristina Boden
Production
company
Hachiko, LLC
Grand Army Entertainment, LLC
Opperman Viner Chrystyn Entertainment
Scion Films
Inferno Production
Distributed by Stage 6 Films
Release date
  • June 8, 2009 (2009-06-08) (Seattle)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $16 million
Box office $46.7 million

Hachi: A Dog's Tale is a 2009 British-American drama film. Based on the true story of a faithful Akita Inu, the titular Hachikō, it is directed by Lasse Hallström, is written by Stephen P. Lindsey and Kaneto Shindo, and stars Richard Gere, Joan Allen and Sarah Roemer. The subject is a remake of the 1987 Japanese film, Hachikō Monogatari (ハチ公物語), literally "The Tale of Hachiko".

Hachi: A Dog's Tale premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 13, 2009, and its first theatrical release was in Japan on August 8. Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to forgo a U.S. theatrical release. The film was given a UK theatrical release on March 12, 2010, courtesy of Entertainment Film Distributors, and opened in over 25 countries throughout 2009 and 2010. The film's foreign box office returns total $46.7 million as of January 2011.[1]

Summary[edit]

Hachi is a story of love and devotion between a dog and a man, and based on the true story of Hachikō (ハチ公, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935). The story is told by Ronnie, the man's grandson. When Ronnie has to give a presentation at school about a personal hero, his chosen subject is his grandfather's dog, Hachiko. Despite his classmates' laughing, Ronnie tells the story of how his grandfather, Professor Parker Wilson, finds a lost puppy which has been freighted to America from Japan and accidentally left at the train station of the Professor's small Rhode Island hometown. The professor ends up taking the puppy home, planning to search out its intended destination and send it on to its real owner. However the search for the puppy's owner is unsuccessful, and Parker and the puppy begin to form a close connection. From his friend Ken, a Japanese professor, Parker learns that the dog is of the Japanese Akita breed. Ken also translates the symbol on the puppy's collar as Hachi (ハ) — Japanese for the number 8—signifying good fortune, even though the puppy's life so far has seemed anything but lucky. Thus the puppy acquires his name, 'Hachiko, or Hachi for short, and although Parker's wife, Cate, is opposed to keeping the puppy, eventually she relents upon realizing how strong the bond between Parker and Hachi has become.[2]

Over the next year or so, Parker and Hachi become even closer. Parker tries, but Hachi refuses to do dog-like activities such as chasing and fetching. One morning, Parker leaves for work and Hachi follows him to the train station and refuses to leave until Parker walks him home. Later that afternoon, Hachi walks to the station to wait patiently for Parker to return. Parker is surprised to find Hachi waiting for him, and it becomes a daily routine.

One day, Hachi waits patiently as the train arrives, but there is no sign of Parker. He waits, lying in the snow for hours until Parker's son-in-law Michael comes to get him. Although everyone tries to tell Hachi that Parker has died (of a cerebral hemorrhage during a lecture in class), Hachi doesn't understand. Hachi continues to return to the station and wait every day.

As time passes, Cate sells the house and Hachi is sent to live with Parker and Cate's daughter Andy, her husband Michael, and their baby Ronnie. However, Hachi escapes and finds his way back to the station, where he sits at his usual spot. Andy arrives and takes him home, but after seeing how depressed the dog is she lets him out to return to the station. Hachi waits every day at the train station and sleeps in the rail yard at night. He is fed daily by the train station workers who knew the professor. After seeing a newspaper article about Hachi, Ken visits Hachi.

Cate comes back to visit Parker's grave on the tenth anniversary of his death and meets Ken. She is stunned to see a now elderly Hachi still waiting at the station. Overcome with grief, Cate sits and waits for the next train with him. At home, Cate tells the now ten-year-old Ronnie about Hachi. Meanwhile, Hachi continues waiting until his body can wait no longer, and is last seen lying in the snow, alone and still, although he is comforted by a final vision of Parker finally appearing and picking him up to go, presumably to the afterlife.

Ronnie concludes his story of why Hachi will forever be his hero. The story has clearly moved the class, with some students holding back tears, including those who had laughed at the beginning. After school, Ronnie, coming off the school bus, is met by his dad and his own puppy, also named Hachi. Ronnie and Hachi walk down the same tracks where Parker and Hachi had spent so much time together.

Cast[edit]

  • Leyla, Chico and Forrest - Hachi
  • Richard Gere - Professor Parker Wilson; Cate's husband, Andy's father, Michael's father-in-law, and Ronnie's maternal grandfather
  • Joan Allen - Cate Wilson; Parker's wife, Andy's mother, Michael's mother-in-law, and Ronnie's maternal grandmother
  • Sarah Roemer - Andy Wilson; Parker and Cate's daughter, Michael's wife, and Ronnie's mother
  • Robbie Collier Sublett - Michael; Parker and Cate's son-in-law, Andy's husband, and Ronnie's father
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa - Ken Fujiyoshi; professor of Japanese and Parker's friend
  • Jason Alexander - Carl Boilins; the train station master
  • Erick Avari - Jasjeet; an Indian hot dog cart vendor
  • Davenia McFadden - Mary-Ann; the butcher shop owner
  • Kevin DeCoste - Ronnie; Michael and Andy's son and Parker and Cate's grandson
  • Tora Hallström - Heather; one of Ronnie's classmate

Production[edit]

The movie was based on the real Japanese Akita dog Hachiko, who was born in Ōdate, Japan in 1923. After the death of his owner, Ueno Hidesaburō in 1925, Hachiko returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years until he died in March 1935. A bronze statue of Hachiko is in front of the Shibuya train station in his honor. Hachikō is known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公) "faithful dog Hachikō", hachi meaning "eight" and meaning "affection."[3]

The majority of filming took place in Bristol, Rhode Island and Woonsocket, Rhode Island.[4] The only spoken reference to the actual location where filming took place is when the newspaper reporter Teddy states he works for the Woonsocket Call (Woonsocket's daily newspaper).

Additional locations included the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island, along the Providence and Worcester Railroad Mechanical, and the Columbus Theater located in Providence, Rhode Island. A second production unit filmed scenes on-location in Japan. Footage was shot at the (now closed) Reynolds Elementary School in Bristol.

Reception[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. It holds a IMDb rating of 8.1/10. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, reported that 62% of critics gave the film positive reviews with an average rating of 5.8/10.[5]

Additional information[edit]

On May 19, 2012, a bronze statue of Hachiko the dog was placed at the train depot at Woonsocket Depot Square, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where Hachi was filmed. The train depot at One Depot Square has been named Hachiko Place. The Rhode Island statue's dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival held in three Rhode Island towns: Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket. Dignitaries including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul General of Japan attended the ceremony. Two cherry blossom trees were planted by the statue. A visitor from New Jersey's Akita-mix (also named Hachi) was invited to participate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony as a "real-life stand-in for Hachiko".

Animal trainer Mark Harden and his team trained the three Akitas — Leyla, Chico and Forrest — who played the role of Hachi in the movie.[6] Harden adopted Chico after the movie was completed.

The Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council have created a handout with useful info for people who want to take a tour of the movie locations for "Hachi" [7]

According to the movie's closing cards, the real Hachiko died in March 1934, while the earlier movie, Hachikō Monogatari, and other sources state that he died in March 1935 (9 years and 9 months after Professor Ueno's death).

Score[edit]

The film score of Hachi was composed by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek.

Track list[edit]

  1. "Japan" (03:26)
  2. "New Home" (01:47)
  3. "The Foot" (02:40)
  4. "Dance Rehearsal" (02:15)
  5. "Storm and the Rescue" (01:36)
  6. "The Second Dance" (00:51)
  7. "Under the Fence" (01:51)
  8. "Treats from Cate" (01:52)
  9. "Parker's Dance Played on Piano" (03:42)
  10. "Parker and Hachi Walk to the Station" (02:04)
  11. "Baby" (01:23)
  12. "Marriage Bath" (03:27)
  13. "Fetch" (02:12)
  14. "To Train Together" (03:25)
  15. "Packing Boxes" (02:15)
  16. "Parker and Hachi" (03:28)
  17. "Hachiko Runs Away" (04:27)
  18. "Memory of the Storm" (01:36)
  19. "Hachi Waiting for Parker Again" (02:51)
  20. "Hachi's Last Trip to the Station" (02:06)
  21. "Goodbye" (02:10)
  22. "Hachi, Parker, Cate and Memories" (03:58)
  23. "Hachi's Voice (Version 1)" (Bonus track) (00:14)
  24. "Hachi's Voice (Version 2)" (Bonus track) (00:10)
  25. "Hachi's Voice (Version 3)" (Bonus track) (00:11)
  26. "Hachi's Voice (Version 4)" (Bonus track) (00:09)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2009). Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved on August 7, 2010.
  2. ^ "Hollywood the latest to fall for tale of Hachiko". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. June 25, 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kō (公)". Kotobank. 人や動物の名前に付けて,親しみ,あるいはやや軽んずる気持ちを表す。 
  4. ^ Wong, Vicki Shigekuni (March 30, 2014). "See Actual Hachi Film Locations on Google Maps". Behind the Film "Hachi: A Dog's Tale". VickiWongandHachi.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Hachi: A Dog's Tale". Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ Ganzert, Robin; Anderson, Allen; Anderson, Linda (2014). "Chapter 6: Mark Harden (Los Angeles County, California)". Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors. New World Library. ISBN 9781608682645. Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to Woonsocket and the home of the Hachiko monument!" (PDF). hachikousa.com. Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. Retrieved February 3, 2017. 

External links[edit]