Vicki Shigekuni Wong, Consul General Jun Niimi
LA Eigafest is devoted to showcasing Japanese influenced films to an American audience, promoting emerging filmmakers to Hollywood, and enhancing the relationship between US and Japanese film industries.
As part of the Festival, the Japanese government awarded the "U.S. Japan Content Merit Award" for bringing Japanese content and talent to a mainstream American audience.
Besides being honored for "Hachi: A Dog's Tale", other recipients were Director Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim), Producer Tim Kring (Heroes), Producer Don Murphy
(Transformers) and Chief Content Officer John Lasseter (Toy Story) of Pixar who created the market for Ghibli Films in the US.
The honor was conferred by Jun Niimi, (Consul General of Japan), Kensuke Tomita, (Director-General, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau- Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Sachiko Yoshimura (JETRO Los Angeles Chief Executive Director). The formal ceremony took place at the Consul General of Japan's beautiful Los Angeles residence.
Ken Watanabe in "Unforgiven"
Tim Kring, Producer "Heroes"- Vicki Shigekuni Wong - Guillermo Del Toro, Director "Pacific Rim" (manager pictured) - Don Murphy, Producer "Transformers".
The 3rd annual LA Eigafest opened with the premiere of the Clint Eastwood remake "Unforgiven" starring Ken Watanabe and directed by Lee Sang-il.
It’s 1869, and imperial troops hotly pursue renegade samurai, loyal to the Shogun system, who have fled to the northern island of Hokkaido. An impressively choreographed bloodbath unfolds in the snowy forests. The screening was held at the famous Egyptian theater with Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Sang-il answering audience questions after the screening.
It was a fun evening with a delicious buffet reception and lots of avid film fans. The festival is headed by Mr. Hayato Mitsuishi, President of the Japan Film Society. Hayato has boundless energy, a warm smile and is an exuberant advocate for Japan films.
Supporting the festival was Misako Ito, Director of the Japan Foundation Los Angeles. I first met Misako when she coordinated a Hachi screening and reception for the Japanese Ambassador in Washington DC. There's nothing Misako can't find out or do!
The entire weekend was invaluable for aspiring and advanced filmmakers alike. I participated in a business panel on Saturday morning, and learned quite a bit about anime and manga from Jason Hoffs, head of VIZ Productions. The company acquires world-class Japanese intellectual properties and packages them with Hollywood creative talent.
Also on the panel was actor, writer, producer Masi Oka. An Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor, Masi Oka burst onto the scene in NBC’s series “Heroes” and currently can be seen on the hit series, “Hawaii 5-0.”
Jason and Masi are both consummate professionals, and possess a huge body of knowledge about film and television production. I came into film quite a different way. As I shared that morning- my career started because of a dog in 1930's Japan!
Misako Ito- Director, Japan Foundation Los Angeles, Hayato Mitsuishi- President, Japan Film Society, Vicki Shigekuni Wong, Paul Mason - Opening Night, LA Eigafest 2013
Outdoor Movie Screening "HACHI: A Dog's Tale"
Presented by JASSC and The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Saturday, September 28, 2013
5:00pm - Gates open/Dinner
7:00pm - Screening (Depending on sunset)The Riviera Country Club
1250 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(Go to security gate and you will be directed to parking area for event)
- Enjoy a JAS movie night with the entire family! Children are welcome!
- Grass seating only - please bring your own blankets and lawn chairs
- Producer Vicki Shigekuni Wong, who brought Hachiko’s popular tale to America, Paul Mason (executive producer) and special guest appearance by Hachi and his trainer!
- Photo sessions with Hachi will be offered after the Q&A session.
Adults - $20 [Includes Maison Akira's Japanese Bento Box*]
Children under 12 - $10 [Includes Panera Kids Box*]
You must reserve and pay for your admission prior to September 20th to guarantee your meals.
- Beverages will be available for purchase onsite.
- No outside food/beverages permitted.
Seating is limited, so reserve your tickets in advance:Japan America Society of Southern California(310) email@example.com
"Pawprints In Japan" is an enthralling book and is sure to capture your heart and bring Hachi alive once more.
Painstakingly researched and written by long-time dog lover and Akita owner, Nicholas C. Rhoden- I was recently contacted by Linda Wroth who shared this book with me. Linda is mentioned in the Preface, and is an Akita owner who is devoted to the well being and history of the Akita dog.
The book is a greatly expanded collection of four award winning articles previously published in The Akita Journal. Each of the original articles won "Best Article of the Year in a Single-Breed Magazine," awarded by the Dog Writers Association of America.
The first chapter is "Hachi-ko, the Loyal Dog—and the Forgotten Story of an American Tribute". I learned many details about Hachiko's life prior to his death- the kindness of Dr. Ueno's (Hachiko's owner) former gardener, Mr. Kikuzaburo Kobayashi and by the Director of Shibuya Station, Mr. Chuichi Yoshikawa.
We learn about Hachi's daily life and health issues including why his left ear drooped. Prior to Hachi becoming famous, the shopkeepers and locals were generally indifferent towards him. An exception was the famous stage and screen star Yoshiko Kawada who would visit him as a friend. Learn how Hachiko became known as the protector of the "underdog"!
Included are rare photos of Hachi and a map of Tokyo showing the exact spots that Hachi frequented. We can see the actual distance from Shibuya Station, Profesor's Ueno's home, the University, Hachiko's grave site, and other locations of interest. Through this visual, we get a clearer picture of Hachi's everyday life and devotion.
Numerous little known details of Hachiko's life is uncovered. On Sunday, April 14th, the Los Angeles Times reported a ceremony attended by the ex-mayor of Los Angeles, Consul General of Japan Mr. Tomokazu Hori and a little girl named Elizabeth Hansen at St. Mary's Japanese Episcopal Church.
In honor of Hachiko, Elizabeth led a famous Airedale named Kentucky Boy lll (the most decorated dog in the US, he was the recipient of 16 medals for heroism) to the platform and officially turned over the containers of pennies, nickels and dimes contributed by American and Japanese-American school children all over the Southland.
The other three chapters are equally fascinating: "Helen Keller: Saint of Three Burdens and the Forgotten Story of Her Akitas—First in America", "Myths and Legends of the Dog in Ancient Japan: Demon or Demi-God?" and "Taro and Jiro: The Never-to-Be-Forgotten Story of an Incredible Survival—and the Untold Story of an Omen".
A special treat is the over 70 fascinating photographs of Hachiko, Helen Keller with her Akitas, and Taro and Jiro- the courageous dogs of the Antarctica dog sled team with an incredible survival tale.
You can purchase "Pawprints in Japan" from the Akita Club of America. The ACA store is located at this link
. The price per book is $25.00 plus shipping and handling.
Reading this book made me feel even more respectful of Hachiko, the loyal dog of Japan.
Within minutes, the Oklahoma tornados left many without homes or possessions. Families would soon be sifting through their homes- now a pile of wood and rubble. At times of utter loss, what you hold dear becomes quite clear. During a television interview
, a woman spoke of the terrifying moments during the storm. She had only two wishes: that she and her dog would be fine. One of her wishes had come true. At that moment, the camera changed focus to a black fuzzy head popping out from under the wreckage. It was her dog!
Not all endings were happy. In honor of the animals that didn't make it home, here's some thoughts I'd like to share with you- from a dog's point of view.
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years; any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you adopt me.
2. Give me time to understand what you want from me; don't be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.
3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalienable right.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment; I am not capable of understanding why. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment, and friends, but I only have you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice and your tone. You only have to look at my tail.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll never forget it, and if it's cruel, it may affect me forever.
7. Please don't hit me. I can't hit back, but I can bite and scratch, and I really don't ever want to do that
8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right foods or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak. It may be I am just dog-tired.
9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, regardless of what you do, I will always love you.
As published in: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
By Stan Rawlinson,1993
Bella and Beavis
Who says animals don't express emotion? This video of Bella the dog and Beavis the beaver has been viewed on YouTube over 245,000 times.
Before Beavis passed away, he and Bella were inseparable. They ate together, played together, and even shared living quarters. Beavis passed away in 2012, but the pair's story resurfaced after a video that the owner shot of the two appeared on Reddit.
In the heartbreaking video
, as Bella realizes that her friend is not coming to life, she whimpers, nuzzles, and licks her friend as if trying to say goodbye.
My dog Hachi had a "crush" on my parents elderly cat named "Misty". For years, Hachi would tentatively try to approach Misty- only to be rebuffed by a loud hiss and a fierce stare. When Misty died, she was buried in the backyard with a simple ceremony. After the burial, Hachi began whimpering and digging frantically at the soil. For days, he wouldn't leave the site.
Unlike Bella and her beaver friend, Hachi never got the chance to show his devotion to Misty... until the very end.
Today is Hachiko Memorial Day in Japan, so...
In honor of my favorite dog, I'm thrilled to introduce a brand new, in-depth book by historian Mayumi Itoh on the true life story of Japan's most famous dog. Ms. Itoh details little known facts about Hachiko's life - full of twists and turns and is certainly “stranger than fiction.” It's a totally fascinating read that will have you riveted!
Mayumi Itoh is a former Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has also taught at Princeton University and Queens College, City University of New York. She is the author of several books and has written extensively on Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics in academic journals.
Itoh in her 2010 book, "Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy: The Silent Victims of World War II", writes: "Let us not forget Mahatma Gandhi’s axiom, 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'
It is to be hoped that mankind has learned its lesson from the march of folly during World War II and other wars in recent years, in which countless animals have perished. It is also to be hoped that animal protection groups and wildlife conservationists in the world will gather their resources to further raise public and governmental awareness of a responsibility toward animals in times of war and disaster on the part of humans.
It is further to be hoped that international organizations—such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) —will mobilize their forces to lobby governments to ratify an international treaty concerning the protection and care of captive animals in times of war and disaster, in the near future. This application to animals of 1949 Geneva Convention concerning the treatment of non-combatants would mark the moral progress of mankind, as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi, if belatedly."
Itoh digs deep about Hachiko, professor Ueno, and shares a historical perspective on the impact between the famous dog of Japan and Japanese society of that era. I learned more about Hachi in one day than in years. It's compelling and a must read for any true Hachi lover!
Wishing You a Very Happy Hachiko Memorial Day!!
(The Flower Festival, Buddha's birthday, is also celebrated on this same day)
Scene from Ceremony on April 8th, 2009
Crowd gathers to pay respect at Shibuya Station
Tribute to the legacy of Hachiko
Every year on April 8th, Hachiko is celebrated with a traditional ceremony at Shibuya train station. In Japan, Hachiko is revered for his legacy of devotion that has touched hearts around the world.
I've always believed that this loyal dog is truly a universal ambassador of good will. Viewers from around the world share the profound emotions that his story generates. Every time I visit Shibuya Station, I'm always touched by the lively crowd that gathers to snap photos with Hachiko. There's a purity about him. Everybody seems so joyful and animated, and it's such a magical moment!
Responding to the pleas from desperate animal owners, Hiroshi Hoshi and Leo Hoshi helped rescue over 200 animals that were lost and "left behind" during the devastating tsunami in Japan two years ago. During these efforts they witnessed the dire conditions of animals trapped inside the protected exclusion zone. On January 28th, the Hoshi's were placed in custody at the Futaba Police station.
To lend your support for the Hoshi's, you may sign the petition at:
To: Fukushima Japan, Chief Prosecutor Toru Sakai
Your Honorable Mr. Sakai:
On behalf of the Hachiko Animal Federation, Inc, a non-profit organization in the United States we humbly request that you release the Hoshi Family, Hiroshi and Leo on their own merit and without any bail.
The Hoshi's have actively rescued, cared for and placed animals in adoptive families for almost two years. Because of the unforeseen disasters in Japan, unfortunately, many of these animals were sadly left behind in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, or Nuclear Zone. It appears that there were no plans in place to deal with such drastic human circumstances and much less to include the animals that were people's household pets. The Hoshi's have actively rescued over 200 animals on their own with very limited monetary resources. The Hoshi Family is a humanitarian group and their sole mission has always been and remains one of altruism; to help reunite animals with their families or to find new families for animals in need.
The Hachiko Animal Federation was formed to honor your national treasure and our mascot, Hachiko, the loyal Akita dog. Our mission was and remains to assist animal shelters in Japan as well as animal rescue groups and volunteers who received little or no aid from the Japanese government. Our group will continue to assist Fukushima animals and animals around the world.
Your Honor, we ask that you take into account that the Hoshi's were saving animals lives and they would not have become involved if the Government of Japan had only rescued and shown mercy to its animals left inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. We ask that you release Hoshi Hiroshi and Leo Hoshi as quickly as possible. For almost two years, the Hoshi Family has acquired a very large network of supporters in Japan, in the United States and internationally who are so grateful for all of the animals that they have been able to rescue, obtain medical treatment for, spay and neuter and, in the best case scenario, find homes for as well. These "happy endings" are something we all want. Surely, the Government of Japan would like this for the animals as well. We love Japan and hope that your great nation will rebuild and prosper. We would also like to tell our children and the world, that Japan did their best to help rescue animals and help the animal rescuers. We have asked the Ministry of Environment and the Fukushima Prefecture to rescue the surviving animals. To this day our request remains the same.
Your Honor, please take into account the fact that the Hoshi Family's goal was to save lives. They wanted nothing more then to end the suffering of the cats and dogs they encountered. Animal owners begged for them to go in to the Zone and try to save their animals. Once there, it was impossible for the Hoshi Family to leave without trying to help all of the animals that they saw. These volunteer animal rescuers are not criminals. They are humanitarians who love both people and animals and could not stand to see animals suffering. Please do all you can to release Hiroshi and Leo Hoshi as quickly as possible. Their families need them and so do their animals.
We cordially thank you.
The Hachiko Animal Federation
Hachiko's Poonawalla Breeders Multi-Million win
Shirke Family celebrate in winner's circle
One year ago, to the day, Hachiko won the Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million (PBMM), when he beat a good set of juveniles to claim the honour. Probably recollecting his moment in the Sun, Hachiko once again sped away as if to celebrate that success, by not only winning the Rusi Patel Trophy for top class horses on the PBMM day, but also crowning it by etching out a new record held by Cabriolet, also owned by the Shirkes.
Last year, after the Ponnawalla Breeders Multi- Million win, owner Vijay Shirker said, " I am delighted to finally win it--though with a furlong to go I frankly thought we had lost, because Hachiko until then was just not able to collar leader Sikandar despite my rider's (B Prakash) best efforts, and a couple of others -- Machiavellianism and Day's Best -- were closing in fast".
Shirke was doubly delighted because Hachiko was trained by none other than his childhood friend Mansingh Jadhav. "I hadn't even seen the horse when Mansingh picked him up for me at the Sohna stud farm," Shirke continued, "he just told me he was a good horse, and should do well." Incidentally, for the trainer too this was the first ever victory in the coveted race.
Owner Vijay Shirke revealed the story behind how and why the horse was named Hachiko.
"Hachiko is a Japanese dog that was immortalised by the Japanese people by erecting his statue at a railway station where he would come daily to wait for his master.
He was so devoted he kept up his routine even when the master was no more. I was touched by that story because I am a dog lover myself, and my dog also is extremely devoted to me," said Shirke.
The owner, Mr Vijay Shirke and the trainer MK Jadhav had never won the ‘Juvenile Derby’ in its history of twenty odd years. They have won many races, a number of Classics and the Invitation Cup as well, but the Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million had eluded them.
The Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million panned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable day at the races. The colourful cosmopolitan crowd were vocal and vibrant and the general atmosphere was one of fun and frolic. The crowds were pouring in from all directions and swanky luxury cars streamlined at the gates to drop off the elite and the petite of the society. This race has a rich history of just over 150 years and this is one race that stops the nation.
I receive emails about animal devotion and heroics from around the world, and here's another heartwarming story to share about Sophie, a very tenacious and brave dog friend:
Huffington Post "Good News", 2/8/13: A maltipoo who saved a puppy from a coyote attack has people clamoring to call her their own.
Applications from across the country poured in for Sophie, 2, since the attack several weeks ago at her previous owners' Calif. home, San Diego 6 reported. The family, hearing a cry from the backyard, looked out to see a coyote lunging at their newly adopted puppy, 7-month-old Lulu.
Defending her new sister, Sophie heroically placed herself between the two and suffered injuries to her shoulder, neck and sides.
"This hero protected her canine friend from a coyote!" reads a post on the Facebook page of Helen Woodward Animal Center, where the family surrendered both dogs for their protection.
A few days after the incident, a local family adopted Lulu. Sophie, however, needed the supervision of veterinarians before she could find a permanent home.
Shortly after she healed from a procedure, Fox News aired her story. Soon, staff received applications from cities as afar as Billings, Mont., Columbia, S.C. and Camden, N.J.
To field the requests, the center asked applicants to write a 300-word essay, 10 News reported.
"Sophie is worth it," said Shannon Bush, who works at the center. "She really embodies every characteristic people hope to find in a furry family member -- loyalty, heart and sincere devotion."
According to a press release, Sophie's new home will be unveiled during a "Mardi Paws" parade on Tuesday in Rancho Santa Fe.
“We found the perfect family,” Animal Services Manager Ed Farrelly said in the release. "We all want to celebrate and say goodbye."