I am fascinated by many things Japanese. Their culture, philosophy, language, art, etc. I also fancy myself having a Japanese dog as a pet. (That won’t happen for a while.) So I did some research on the Japanese canine breeds. Shiba, Akita, Kishu, Kai Ken, etc. I came across the story of Hachiko, which sounded familiar to me. Maybe I read stories about the famous dog as a child. I don’t know. Then I found out that the story (true story by the way) was made into a movie starring Richard Gere. Richard Gere? That sounded odd, but I rented it anyway. As it turned out, it was a remake of another movie made in Japan in 1987. Anyway, I watched the remake, it was a lot of cheesiness, but the ending had me in tears big time. THEN, as if I needed another good cry, I had to google and find the original movie. Found it, watched it and YEP, tears!
I would definitely recommend skipping the remake and just watch the original. Much more nuanced, giving you a peek at the culture. Also more character building. Before I share the link to the movie, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about Hachiko:
In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachiko as a pet. During his owner’s life, Hachiko greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachiko was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the golden brown Akita waited at Shibuya station.
Hachiko was given away after his master’s death, but he routinely escaped, returning again and again to his old home. Eventually, Hachiko apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachiko waited for the return of his owner.
The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachiko attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachiko and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachiko treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
This continued for nine years with Hachiko appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
Here’s the link to the movie on YouTube. The movie is broken up into 8 segments and with English subtitle. You might need tissue!