Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is based on the true story of Hachiko the dog. The film stars Richard Gere as Professor Parker Wilson. Wilson takes a train every day to work and back. When arriving home one day he comes across an Akita pup with no owner. The cage had fallen off a trolly and the station has emptied. Having no choice but to take the dog home and hopefully find its owner the next day he brings the Akita home. His wife Cate, played by Joan Allen is upset that he would bring home the dog and insists it is only temporary. As time goes on and no one claims the dog, he becomes part of the family.
Through a fellow professor played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Wilson discovers that the symbol on the dogs collar is chinese for “Hachi” or the number 8. After escaping the yard, Hachi begins a routine where he waits outside the train station for Wilson to come home from work every day. One day Hachi reacts oddly to Wilson leaving for work and sadly Wilson has a heart attack and dies. Even though the family has moved, Hachi finds his way home to the train station and waits every day for 9 years for his owner to come home.
The heart breaking story of this faithful dog is actually based on the true story of Hachiko from Japan. Hachiko’s owner, a Professor dies and Hachiko’s loyalty brings him back to the train station every day for the next 9 years waiting for him to return. Hachi is the american version and the film does many things to try and still connect to the true story. Some examples include:
Hachi comes from Japan in a crate to connect to the Japanese roots of the story. While searching on the internet about Akita’s there are actual pictures of Hachiko. Hachiko’s owner was also a professor. The story of Hachiko and his owner really consists of the fact that the dogs owner dies and Hachiko continues to show up every day for 9 years. There is a bronze statue that was erected at the station in Japan. It was actually recycled for the war effort in World War II and later rebuilt. After the american film was released, a bronze statue was erected at the station the movie was filmed.
Other than that not much is listed from what I have seen of the tale of Hachiko. Because there isn’t much to the original story the film had to make many allowances and add their own elements to make the story long enough. The film sits at 1 hour and 33 minutes and even that is pushing it. There were many scenes that were added for length and to grow on other characters, but these characters are really outside the real story. Although I give them credit as I can understand it would be a difficult task, I still think the film could have been better. It does the job of stabbing you right in the chest and tugging at your heart strings though. The story of Hachiko is an amazing tale of loyalty which any dog owner can relate to.