On Saturday, May 19th, my faithful dog Hachi and I traveled to Woonsocket, Rhode Island to attend the unveiling of a permanent bronze statue of the legendary Japanese dog Hachiko. It was to be an exact replica of the statue of Hachiko in Japan. There was no way I was going to miss this.
The ceremony was being held at the train depot at One Depot Square where the Hachi movie was filmed, also now known as Hachiko Place. This statue dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival held in Pawtucket and Central Falls, RI and they saved the best for last. As soon as Hachi and I got out of the car in the parking area next to the depot, Barbara, who works for the Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor (admin offices in the depot) saw us from a distance and opened her arms as a welcoming gesture. She knew in advance that I was attending with my Hachi.
It was a beautiful day for a statue dedication. My Hachi became an overnight sensation because the many people that attended either wanted to take pictures of him or with him. Several of the children attending asked if my Hachi was in the movie. I told them that his cousins were in the movie. I just happened to have a copy of the Hachi movie with me so we put it on inside the depot until the ceremony started at 3pm.
The master of ceremonies started the ball rolling with a speech and then introduced several people connected with the dedication ceremony including the Mayor, the Japanese consulate general and several other Japanese officials. The ceremony was very moving with many locals in attendance . I was not aware that Barbara spoke with the master of ceremonies and told him of my 250 mile drive from New Jersey to attend the festivities. I was caught off guard when my name was announced and had to go up in front of the audience. I was introduced to the audience and I introduced Hachi also.
After the ceremony was over, Hachi and I were interviewed by a Japanese television newsperson inquiring on how my Hachi came to be with me. This interview will be broadcast on Japanese TV. I have attached some photos of this monumental event.
Vicki, you deserve a standing ovation … with the dedication of this statue your dream of bringing this story to the screen has gone far beyond all expectations.
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
I first spotted Hachiko's statue many years ago at Shibuya Station. Upon returning home, I adopted a dog and named him Hachi. When he passed away, I missed his reflective, welcoming and calm ways. We can all learn from the innate emotional grace of our animal friends and the Way of Hachi. I love sharing the story of the loyal dog of Japan, and hope he inspires more people to "Be Hachi"!