Because Hachiko is such a beloved story in Japan, I felt a responsibility, a duty even, to make a film that would be embraced by the Japanese public. Shochiku, one of the oldest and largest film companies in Japan, had made a film about Hachiko almost 25 years ago and it went on to be a huge hit.
We later learned that some of the long time executives at the company were hesitant about remaking one of their most popular films. When I learned that these same executives loved our American version, it was one of the high moments of my entire Hachiko experience.
In the lobby after the Tokyo screening, there was a camera crew set up to do exit interviews and there must have been several hundred girls lined up, weeping into their tissues. When their turn came to talk about the film, they really started crying!
Popular Japanese star Thelma Aoyama performs Hachi theme song
Take Home Hachi
Hachi's #1 Fan
Ceremony at Shibuya Station
Hachi Gets Decorated
We were honored with a ceremony at Shibuya Station- the location of Hachiko's bronze statue. Besides local dignitaries, we met Mr. Takeshi Ando, Hachiko’s sculptor. Mr. Ando is in his 90's and he easily recalled meeting the real Hachiko as a small boy.
The sculptor had attended a screening of the film, and he was particularly moved by the depth of emotions expressed in the dog’s eyes. I told Mr. Ando that Hachiko’s story survived all these years largely due to the emotional appeal of his beautiful sculpture.
As we stood next to Hachiko, Mr. Ando pointed to the smooth surface at the top of Hachiko's head. He explained this was from people petting Hachiko. Before we parted, Mr. Ando reached up and gave Hachiko’s head another pat.
Through sharing one of Japan’s most famous stories, I hoped to create a bridge between Japan and other countries by using Hachiko as a sort of Japanese goodwill ambassador to the world. My wish is that Hachiko’s story help spread positive feelings towards differing cultures through the universal affection between man and dog.
But, I never imagined such a worldwide outpouring of affection for a Japanese dog who patiently waited for his master.
Shibuya Station Ceremony
Mr. Takeshi Ando, Hachiko's Sculptor
Hachiko Gets Fancy
Hachiko presides just outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo. Throughout the year, admirers adorn Hachiko with flowers, ribbons, sashes and other decorations to honor special occasions. It's really quite festive and Hachi seems to be having lots of fun too!
Hachiko is Honored - April 8th, 2008
On April 8th, Hachiko is remembered with a memorial ceremony in front of Tokyo's Shibuya Station. The event has been held yearly since 1936- the year following Hachiko's death.