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Hachikô monogatari
Hachikô monogatari (1987)
Movie
  • Director:
    Seijirô Kôyama
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Kaneto Shindô,Kaneto Shindô
  • Cast:
    Tatsuya Nakadai,Kaoru Yachigusa,Toshinori Omi
  • Time:
    1h 47min
  • Year:
    1987
The true story about a dog's loyalty to its master, even after his death.
Casts
Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Nakadai Tatsuya Nakadai - Shujiro Ueno
Kaoru Yachigusa Kaoru Yachigusa - Hidejiro Ueno
Toshinori Omi Toshinori Omi - Ogata
Toshirô Yanagiba Toshirô Yanagiba - Moriyama
Mako Ishino Mako Ishino - Chizuko Ueno
Masumi Harukawa Masumi Harukawa - Okichi
Taiji Tonoyama Taiji Tonoyama - Hashimoto
Yoshi Katô Yoshi Katô - Kondo
Hisashi Igawa Hisashi Igawa - Maekawa
Shigeru Izumiya Shigeru Izumiya - Yasui
Kei Yamamoto Kei Yamamoto - Serizawa
Kumeko Urabe Kumeko Urabe - Tabacco shop owner
Chôei Takahashi Chôei Takahashi - Mase
Saburô Ishikura Saburô Ishikura - Machida
Shirô Kishibe Shirô Kishibe - Customer

Hachikô monogatari (1987)

The breed of Hachi the dog is called Akita, and it's a rare breed. At the times of Hachi, there were only 30 living Akita dogs in all of Japan.

In the movie Hachi never wags his tail.

SmEsH
SmEsH
The movie is the real story of an Akita dog born in November, 1923, in the city of Odate, Akita Prefecture. In 1924 he was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Eisaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. During his owner's life, Hachiko saw him off from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station.

Even after Ueno's death in May, 1925, Hachiko returned every day to the station to wait for him, and did so for the next eleven years. Affection between the professor and the dog was immediate. The professor named the pup "Hachi" and added "ko", a common term of endearment. For his part, Hachi-ko accompanied the professor everywhere he could. As he grew, Hachi-ko took on the traditional traits of an Akita; his ears stood upright, and his tail curled up and to the left. Professor Ueno reportedly took great pride in owning a purebred dog of a breed that had a history going back thirty centuries -- especially as the number of purebred Akitas in Japan was dwindling at the time.

When the professor died, Mrs. Ueno closed the house and moved, giving Hachiko to some of her husband's relatives who lived several miles from the station. The Akita refused to stay with them. As soon as he was let out, he trotted back first to his old house, then to the train station to await his master. Professor Ueno's gardener, Kikuzaburo Kobayashi, lived close to the station and took over Hachiko's care. Hachiko's devotion to his lost master moved those around him, who nicknamed him "faithful dog," . In the first years of his vigil, Hachiko was treated as little more than a tolerable nuisance at the train station. In 1928, a new station master came to Shibuya Station. He quickly grew very fond of him and allowed him free run of the facility. Hachiko still kept his schedule, but also was allowed to remain in the station throughout the day, sleeping in a storeroom set aside for him by the new station master.

That same year, another of Professor Ueno's former students (who had become something of an expert on Akitas), saw the dog at the station and followed him to the Kobayashi home where he learned the history of Hachiko's life. Shortly after this meeting, the former student published a documented census of Akitas in Japan. His research found only thirty purebred Akitas remaining, including Hachiko from the Shibuya station. In April, 1934,a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station, and Hachiko himself was present at its unveiling. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. After the war, Hachiko was hardly forgotten. In 1948 The Society For Recreating The Hachiko Statue commissioned Ando Tekeshi, son of the original artist who had since died, to make a second statue. The new statue was erected in August, 1948, which still stands and is an extremely popular meeting spot. In some way it could be a simile for the commitment of people and lovers meeting each other at Shibuya Hachikoguchi (Shibuya Hachiko exit). A similar statue stands in Hachiko's hometown, in front of Odate Station.

Believe me when I say that this movie will change forever the way you look at a dog.
Prorahun
Prorahun
Last year I was reading a two pages article about Hachiko in a local magazine,and the movie called a lot my attention but I never managed to get the film. However, last night a friend of mine gave me the film... And I loved it from the first to last minutes. Believe me, I have been a film lover since lots of years, but I can tell you that no other movie makes me cry as Hachiko did. I had never cried so much for a movie since "Life is Beautiful" and "The grave of the Fireflies". Just to think about an Akita Inu dog that has been waiting for his dead master for 10 years; its sad just to imagine it, and more when you know that its based on a TRUE story. Believe me that Hachiko is like no other dog-film you have ever seen, its completely beyond every dog movie ever created. The acting was great, the dog who acted as Hachiko was perfect,the ambientation was excellent, the soundtrack is very touchy and accords with the emotional nature of the film. Sorry, I really don't have words to describe it, Its a beautiful film that can touch everybodies heart and I personally think that only a no hearted bastard would not cry watching this film, just my opinion. Its very hard to get, but if you manage to get it, you wont be disappointed, trust me... Hachiko will show the meaning of loyalty.
hulk
hulk
I seldom post reviews online but this is one movie that I feel compelled to. This is my favorite movie of all times without a doubt. I have watched Hachiko close to 10 times now and every single time my tears would start flowing uncontrollably without fail. Each time I thought to myself, yeah I have watched it before so I wont cry again but each time I still could not stop my tears. A lot has been written on the story so I wont repeat all that. Just want to add that this is a true story and the newspaper reporter at the end of the movie did actually exist, writing up an article on Hachiko in the Japanese newspapers then. They did erect a statue of Hachiko at the very station but it was melted down during World War 2 for military usage. The Japanese later erected another statue in replacement after the war and today if you visit Japan, be sure to visit Hachiko's statue in Tokyo. And Hachiko's body has been preserved after his death and remains to this day on display in the Tokyo Museum of Nature and Science. I am going to make a trip one day to visit Hachiko. :)
Nidor
Nidor
This film was great . I watched it several times and I cried. There is another version of this movie which is made in 2009 . and I cried a lot ... This film is based on a true story and it is sooooooooo emotional . I loved 2 versions of this movie . Both of them are great . I think in some aspects , the American version is better and in some aspects , the Japenese one... You can buy this movie and its subtitles in English are in the internet . Watch this movie and enjoy . When I watched this movie , I found out that some movies like Titanic are like a joke when they are compered to such a deep and emotional and truthful storied Like Hachico. The Hachico story is based on truth and the statue of Hachico is built in Tokyo .
virus
virus
"Hachiko monogatari" is an excellent melodrama that tells the true story of Japan's most tenacious dog "Hachi", whose bronze statue, to this day, stands watch over Shibuya Station, Tokyo. The dog who plays Hachi is a first rate actor, and more importantly he's as fuzzy as a pair of bunny slippers. But not only is this a fascinating history lesson and a seriously awwwwwwww!-worthy film, it's a very poignant and profound commentary on the concept of "interspecies altruism", a concept which Darwin himself was unable to explain.

Done in a tastefully subtle way (not over the top like a Disney flick), this film presents to us the inexplicable bond between two souls of different species (human and canine). None of the other characters in the film seem to understand it; the man's own family cannot appreciate it; and I wouldn't be surprised if we, the audience, are not expected to understand it either. This adds even more value to the magical bond which Professor Ueno & Hachi shared.

If you're an animal lover, you'll be hooked from the first minute. If you're not an animal lover, then you'll be one by the time the movie's over. (That is, unless you're the devil. Hiss.)

Go find a copy of this film and watch it with your dog. If you don't have a dog, go down to your local animal shelter and steal one. Seriously, the experience is best with a big fuzzy pooch under your arm.
Foiuost
Foiuost
I loved this movie. It says everything about unconditional love and loyalty. I saw it in a small theater in Little Tokyo. It was a pretty full house. I remember at one point the sound of many people sobbing could be heard over the dialog. With tears in my eyes and a large lump in my throat...I turned to see...truly, not a dry eye in the house. Of coarse it made me laugh that so many were touched so strongly by this film. It mad "The Titanic" look like a comedy. I challenge anyone to see this film and not shed a tear? This film should be re-released and shown in major theater's everywhere. It's a perfect film. It's for everyone. Just don't forget a whole box of Kleenex...cause you'll need it!
Zbr
Zbr
While humans are weird on these things, dogs are companions for life. Dogs show eternal loyalty for the simplest things. Giving them food and water is enough for them to stay loyal forever, but if that includes love and attention that loyalty is taken to another degree. It is true that dogs CAN and DO chose their own masters and they are loyal to one person. It seems that, for them, life has no meaning if it's not with their first owner.

This film is very, very moving and sad, like no other I've ever seen. It tells the (real) story of Hachi, the dog that waited 10 long years for his owner after his death. Hachi kept waiting for him for the rest of his life and only didn't wait more because he died. Besides that hard reality, that dog was a victim of violence, went through a lot of pain, sorrow and even illness. It's already very depressing to imagine what the real Hachi went through and seeing what we see in this movie is so heartbreaking. It breaks my heart how much he waits for a master that won't be back anymore, the cruelty of humans towards innocent animals, the bad condition and fragile health he is after years.

The movie itself is far from being great, let alone a masterpiece. But it's unquestionably a valuable lesson about the loyalty of dogs in the highest sense and it shows that dog is definitely man's best friend, a companion for life in the good and bad moments, everything.

There are many hateful human characters and this movie is so depressing and painful that I can't even watch it anymore and I couldn't help but cry hard. Having that said, it's impossible not to love Hachi and our hearts melt over him.

This movie had an American remake with Richard Gere but it's very different. The original is a far more realistic approach to the real story, as it takes place in Japan in the 1920's/1930's - which is the place and time when this story really happened.
Whitestone
Whitestone
Last night I watched a DVD called Hachi-ko....

I cried so many times in the movie and I loved the background aspects of the Japanese life of the time, as well.

I felt moved to seek further information and found this.............

found at http://smt.blogs.com/mari_diary/2005/04/a_royal_dog_in_.html

.............I will tell about Hachiko today. Hachi was born in Akita pref. in 1923. Because of his bent ears, people sometimes get wrong impression that he was a mixed dog, but he was a purebred Akita dog. His owner was a professor of Tokyo university. His house was big and located around area where Tokyu department store is now. He already had a pointer dog named John and another dog S when Hachi came to live his house. John, S and Hachi went to Shibuya station evade to see their owner off in the morning and were there every evening meet him. It seemed the happiest days for dogs. Unfortunately the owner died one year later and his wife and dogs had to leave home to make ends meet. The dogs were taken to different homes with different owners. Mr. Saito who was a member of the Japanese dog Preservation Association, saw Hachiko sometimes and he remembered him as a faithful dog. By the time he discovered poor Hachiko in Shibuya Station, he was already sad shape, dirty pitiful but still waiting for his ex owner. Mr.Saito detailed Hachiko's plight in the newspaper and suddenly Hachiko had became a famous dog in Japan. While he was still alive, his statue was erected and his story was told in primary school textbook. Ha ha Hachiko's tale itself was a pretty good, loyal dog story. But some people's reaction to Hachiko seems a little bit over-the-top actually. Anyway like I wrote in eddoko topic, my grand mom met Hachiko in her school days. Yeah, she said it was a dirty dog. :-). First Hachiko statue was melted once during ww2 to make armaments. The 2nd Hachiko in Shibuya station was recast again after ww2. Ah you can meet real Hachiko in the National Science museum with another famous dog Taro and Jiro.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LakIEfEOQSE

and the above clip showing a Spanish person traveling the steps of Hachi to the statue.
Gnng
Gnng
***This contains explicit spoilers near the end of the text!!*** I love this movie. We visited the real Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station in Tokyo twice, and after trying to find it for 10 years, and finally saw the Japanese Region 2 DVD.

Hachiko was born in 11/1923, and was sent to Tokyo in 1/1924 to live with Dr Eizaburo Euno, who walked Hachiko every day to the Shibuya Station, where he took a train to teach at Tokyo University. Dr Ueno died on campus on 5/21/1925. His widow sold the home and moved away, giving Hachiko to Dr Euno's relatives in Asakusa, but Hachiko repeatedly ran away to go back to his prior home, and to wait at Shibuya Station for his never-to-return master. Eventually, he was taken in by Dr Ueno's gardener, who lived near the Station and prior home. When he was older, Hachiko lived mostly at the Station in a store room prepared for him by the Station Manager Chuichi Yoshikawa, who loved him like his own pet. A newspaper article made Hachiko a celebrity on 10/4/1932, and many people came from all over to see him. A number of vets cared for him. A statue was erected in his honor 4/21/1934 attended by a huge crowd. Hachiko finally died of heart worm and kidney failure a few blocks away from the Station at 6:30am on 3/8/1935. A full Buddhist ceremony including 49 days of mourning ensued. Dr Ueno's widow, the Station Manager, the gardener, and many others all across Japan, grieved.

The movie contains many heartwarming scenes of Hachiko: being born, getting into mischief in the garden, walking to the train station with his master and even taking a bath with him, attending his master's funeral service and chasing the hearse, etc.

**Do Not Read the Following if you don't want to know how the movie ends**

In the movie, however, there is no statue built in his honor. After he runs away from Dr Euno's relatives, he stays with the gardener who also dies, leaving Hachiko homeless. When Dr Euno's widow comes back after seeing the newspaper article, Hachiko runs away from her as well. The station manager in the movie, like most all other people at the Station, generally ignore him, and he's portrayed often as a pitiful stray. A couple selling Yakitori from a nearby cart befriend him repeatedly, and the husband even gets in a fight to defend Hachiko's honor. But in the end, as the final credits roll, Hachiko lies dead, alone, in the snow, at the spot where he waited for 10 years, with people walking past him with no show of concern. It is absolutely heartbreaking. There is a sequence right before the final tragic scene that shows Hachiko reuniting with his beloved master. It could just be Hachiko's final dream, but I like to think it shows them reuniting in the afterlife.

'Pawprints in Japan' by Nicholas Rhoden is a great book that includes many facts and photos of the real Hachiko, including him with the Station Manager, the actual newpaper article, and Ueno's widow putting funeral ribbons on the original statue (which was melted down during WWII, then remade by the original sculpture's son). You can find it at www.akitaclub.org. The movie was re-released as a limited time offer from 1/1/07 to 4/30/07. Search for "Hachiko Monogatari" at www.cdjapan.co.jp. for the Japenese-only Region 2 DVD. Another movie about famous Japanese dogs to get is "Nankyoku Monogatari" which tells the story of Taro and Jiro who survived a year alone in Antarctica after being abandoned by their human team of scientists. It was Japan's #1 box office champ from 1983 until 1997 when Princess Mononke and Titanic surpassed it.
Fordredor
Fordredor
Winner of the 1987 Genesis Awards (awarded for films that contribute to the humane treatement of animals).

This is an excellent and tear-jerking Japanese film that dramatizes the story of Hachi-ko, a Japanese Akita dog owned by a Tokyo university professor.

Akitas are wonderful large dogs that are known for their tremendous loyalty to their masters.

This dog escorted his master to the subway station each day, when the professor took a train to the university. The dog would be dutifully waiting for his master to return on the evening train.

When the professor died one day, the dog waited forlornly for his master to return. The dog returned to the station every evening, for over a decade afterwards until the dog finally died of old age and sickness.

There is a statue to Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station. The dog's body was actually preserved and is now in a museum in Tokyo.
Thiama
Thiama
Only few films have made me cry, but not as many times as this one , it is a really captivating story and just to know it was a real one amazes me even more. You may never find a best friend but a dog will never disappoint you nor abandon you, and this movie just proves that.

Apart from being a great story, I found the camera-work to be really good, and the scenography in some parts of the film does not get left behind.

I also found the acting fitting to what it was being presented,it was in no way overdone nor was it lacking anything, it was just normal and good acting.

I would recommend this film to everyone because it is meant for all audiences, but I can't guarantee if it will make you cry or at least feel any emotion. Most of you probably will at least feel something, though (mostly if you're fond of pets or animals in general).

Don't miss the chance to watch this.
Kulasius
Kulasius
I don't remember much of "Hachiko Monogatari" because at the time I saw it I was only 5 or 6 years old. I remember it was late in the evening and my parents had gone out. The ending completely devastated me back then, tears and all. It threw me in quite a shock and I remember going outside to look for my mum and dad. This movie had stayed with me for such a long time. I watched it on the Bulgarian national TV - it was back in the 80's, around the time when the film was released. I remember being fascinated with the Japanese setting of the film and the dog. That is in fact all I remember about the movie - the dog waiting at the train station, its master giving a speech and dying and finally when the dog died. The emotional impact at the end was unforgettable. I would like to see this film again after all these years, but it seems like it is quite obscure and I don't know if I will have the chance to see it once more. Until a couple of years ago I didn't even know how the film is called (internet helped). If I was to watch "Hachiko Monogatari" again, probably it wouldn't seem as emotionally devastating as it did back when I was a little child. But for a film to leave such a great impression on me, it must be worth experiencing again.
Kahavor
Kahavor
We saw this movie once on Hong Kong Television when we lived there until the year 2000 and remember it as a true tear jerker but in a positive sense.

It stuck in our memories for all those years which must mean something; and it may therefore mean a great deal to people who are not yet to emotionally in such deep freeze that the story of Hachiko can no longer warm their hearts.

If I recall correctly the original was in Japanese but it had English subtitles.

In the last four years we have tried to buy a copy but cannot find any.

Thankful for any pointers in that direction

Konrad Vienna
Zainian
Zainian
Dog movies are a dime a dozen, and you can probably name a few out of the USA or Japan. There are many fictional ones that some might believe did exist (not the breed of course), but here's a story of one which really did, and in its lifetime earned the admiration of people around, enough to build a statue of it too! The Hachiko Exit of Tokyo's subway Shibuya Station stands a Hachiko the dog statue, in remembrance of its unwavering loyalty to its master.

Hachiko is an Akita dog born in Odate, Akita Prefecture, and this is ample opportunity for the filmmakers to insert as many cutesy shots of puppies as possible, with their natural playfulness and inquisitive nature earning plenty of "awwws" from the audience. The birth of Hachiko and its siblings is probably one of the best I've seen - or make that the only one I've seen to date, with an actual birth sequence being captured on film - I didn't know they come out that small!

But Hachiko's life seemed destined for hardship from the start. And this somewhat serves as a warning to those in the audience with an inkling of getting themselves a puppy after watching the show. As with any pet, it comes with commitment - you commit to taking care of it, and it will more than often do the same for you too, especially when it's a dog (they aren't called Man's Best Friend) for nothing. In the beginning, a young girl promises to care for the Hachiko, but as we all learn soon enough, this is but an empty promise as she "abandons" it even before it set foot into the home, and given that nobody in the household is keen on keeping it, the responsibility laid with the head of the household.

And thus a strong relationship between owner and dog was forged, one that involved amongst others, the dog accompanying the master to the train station, and dutifully waiting for his arrival at the station after work. This probably sealed its legend as it was unwavering with the dog being there come rain, shine, or snow. But the other half of the movie centered on more melodrama, one which I thought was having almost everything except the kitchen sink thrown at the dog's direction. Abandonment is cruel, and that is chiefly what it focused on. There was a particularly powerful scene that the professor's wife (who once was jealous of the attention Hachiko got from her spouse) denied having direct ownership with Hachiko, and that really hurt. Not to mention during one of the finale shots where you see again, hypocrisy at play.

But too much of something makes it nauseatingly sick. The finale tended to drag too long, and the story was determined to drum Hachiko's sad life into you once its honeymoon years were over. And the supporting characters during this stage, were more like caricatures, popping up now and then to regurgitate the same old lines and expressions of pity. And no self respecting dog movie will be without a de-facto scene of the dog running towards the owner from afar in slow motion. There is such a scene here too, which made me roll my eyeballs.

Despite its two-part act, Hachiko is still a rather enjoyable movie about a dog who can't let go, pining for the love of its master. Loyalty, friendship, and trust are the hallmarks of such movies. Now only if the pop song played during the end credits didn't ruin it all.
Cobyno
Cobyno
Words can't easily convey the emotions you will feel by the end of this movie. You're amazed by the story of loyalty, you're devastated by what this dog went through, and you're reminded of your relationship with your own pets, past and present, and what their unconditional love means to you. Hachiko is already an incredible real story, but the movie translates that into something that is impossible to watch without tears clouding your vision. To me, the story of Hachiko is not just that he was waiting for his master to return, it's also about how we have a real responsibility as humans to take care of our furry friends, who depend on us for so much.

The dog that played Hachiko was incredible. You can see the disciplined training, but you can also see something deeper, a real emotion behind those eyes that suggests what Hachiko might have felt himself so long ago. When Hachiko broke free of his chain and started running after the hearse after it left with his master's body, the desperation was so palpable you could taste it, and I could not stop the tears from flowing. This is pure, unconditional love between two creatures - forget for a moment that one is a human and one is a dog. There's not much else in the world as pure as this, and if you love animals and have experienced their love for you, you owe it yourself to see this movie. And you will probably never look at Akitas in the same way again.
Perilanim
Perilanim
Hachi: A Dog's Tale is the story about Parker Wilson, played by Richard Gere, and the bond he forms with a Japanese Akita puppy, which is later found to be named Hachiko, he finds at the train station. Following is the chance relationship that develops between the 2 and how the soon become inseparable. Soon, Hachiko is noted by the inhabitants of the small Rhode Island town for showing up each day to meet Parker as he comes home from work. The Akita breed is most known for the loyalty they forge with their companions, whose loyalty is tested for nearly a decade after tragedy befalls Parker.

At times, the point of view is taken so that we feel we are Hachiko, which allows us to see the curiosity, intrigue, and sometimes inquisitive thoughts he feels. One such event is when Parker attempts to get Hachi to play fetch, as he looks back at Parker curious of what is wrong with him. In other instances, when it comes to the onlookers, the angle is set such that we are looking up to Hachi. This leads into the end result of the bond formed between the 2, and that such love and loyalty is an admirable trait. After many viewings of the movie, it still manages to pull out the same feelings. The relationship between Parker and Hachi is believable, memorable and shows us what a true bond is really about. Some of you may have seen Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, or are at least familiar with movies relating to the bond between man and his companions, of the four-legged kind. These types of films show the viewers that whether from the view of the man or the animal, a deep bond means just as much to both.

The story reached so deep, that I dreamt of seeing the statue dedicated Hachiko, whose loyalty to his master lasted until his last breath. Luckily, I had the privilege when I passed through Shibuya. Hachiko truly made impression on those around him, as this film will do when you watch it.
Hilarious Kangaroo
Hilarious Kangaroo
I have a fundamental problem with this story that I have to get off my chest before I begin my review proper. The real story of Hachiko is now shrouded in mythology but the 25 word summary is it is the story of a dog who was abandoned by his family and neglected by an entire society until he died a miserable, sick bag of bones. How convenient that the story of the dog's incredible fidelity to his master provides sufficient "awh" power for us to overlook this ugly side of the story.

So, here we have an ugly story sugar-coated and served up to put all humans involved in the best possible light. The daughter and her family abandons him and is given a noble reason for doing so. The mother does the same and we are supposed to believe she cares because she bows a lot. She salves her conscience by giving some street vendors a few yen to tide Hachiko over for the next day or two. What a woman. Someone else takes him in for a while but she too has to leave and sends Hachiko on his way with noble pleas to "be free" and other ridiculous rubbish. All the railway travelers stream past Hachiko as he waits but no-one, it seems, really gives a toss. Someone tell me this is a dignified picture of humanity.

OK, I've had my rant, enough of the story itself, now I'll get on with the review. I saw the American version of this first and while it was well enough done I felt it in no way reached its full potential. I had high hopes for the original Japanese version, first because it is the "authentic" Japanese story and second because Japanese productions often have a way of capturing subtlety that Western productions do not. It is disappointing to report the Japanese version did not really do it for me either. The key aspect missing in both versions is the lack of the establishment of a believable relationship between the "Master" and the dog, something that is absolutely pivotal to explaining the loyalty which is sole raison d'etre for this story. We spend far too long getting the dog to the Master, something that is entirely irrelevant to the story, leaving a pitiful amount of time to see the dog growing up and bonding with the Master. Yes, we have a few set-piece interactions, the Master rescuing the dog from the storm, and rather bizarrely and totally unrealistically, even bathing with it. But these are not the things that either form or show relationships, it is the myriad little things, a lick, a closeness, a quiet word, a shifting closer, a shadowing, a rubbing, a howling, a whimpering that show real affection, and of these there are none. Alas, by the time the Master kicks the bucket I really had no feeling for any form of true bond between the two. Strange as it may sound perhaps part of this has to do with the "acting" of the dog. I know nothing about akitas but based on the one(s) stared in this movie they seem to be a breed of some seriousness and little expressiveness, and this makes it difficult to get a feeling of closeness. To be honest, beautiful as the dog was, he displayed very little emotion, so we really have to take the relationship with his Master on faith. To compound this the dog's expressions of devotion after the master's death are not taken to their natural conclusion so that we can judge their full effect. We see the dog enter the formal funeral ceremony but we don't really see him do anything. We see him run after the car to the funeral but we never see him at the funeral. For some reason we also see the Mother and Daughter just look back at him. Do they stop and pick him up I wonder? We see the dog arrive back at his Master's old home after traveling half way across Tokyo, but we don't see the journey and the hardships he endured to be there. We don't see Hachiko's life and struggles as a stray, how and where he lived and how he suffered to do what he did. It is all a little strange. Instead we spend a lot of time on humans few of whom seem to have any redeeming features and who add nothing to the core story of Hachiko himself.

On a technical level the production values are high, although the music for the first part is ridiculously cheesy, anachronistic and jarring – it sounds like it was generated on a budget Casio keyboard. It is somewhat of a surprise and a relief when a real score appears later in the piece, and then, blow me down, if the Casio doesn't appear at the very end to ruin the climax.

So, in summary, we have two version of Hachiko and neither of them do justice to the story for the same reasons. Sadly it looks like poor Hachiko is as poorly served by humans in death as he was in life. Rest in Peace Hachiko.
Kulalbine
Kulalbine
SPOILER ALERT: Link to actual movie (1987), as of April 2015, AND link to new statue that includes owner, too!! (at Tokyo University)

In July '14, one Hachiko film fan posted this link to YouTube, so you may watch the original Japanese version of the film (1987) with English sub-titles. (Running time: 1h 48 min) This is only meant to be a "stand-in" (as the person who posted the video states) until a DVD or streaming version of the original Japanese film is commercially-available (like Amazon streaming, Netflix, etc.), thus is only for "personal use". Apparently very difficult to find any commercially-available versions of this film in original Japanese (w/sub-titles).

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfvZuiZPAxM

BONUS: there's a NEW version of the Hachiko statue, in which he is finally re-united with his original master, Prof. Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of Agricultural Engineering for 20+ yrs, at University of Tokyo in Bunkyo-ku (formerly known as "Imperial University" when Prof. Ueno taught there). Here's a link to some pictures submitted in Mar'2015 by someone living in Japan: tokyofox.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/new-hachiko-statue-in-tokyo/

In case you visit Tokyo (since it has several campuses), the blogger clarifies that the statue's on your LEFT as soon as you enter the University through the gates of the "Graduate School of Agriculture" & "Life Sciences/Faculty of Agriculture".

Enjoy & keep a box of tissues handy!
Gavinrage
Gavinrage
Tokyo 1923. When a frivolous daughter falls pregnant and decides to marry, she has little thought of discarding her purebred Akita pup Hachiko, a dog she clamoured so hard to be given. When her father, college agriculture professor Shujiro Ueno (legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai), takes over care of the canine a strong bond evolves between the two. Day after day Hachiko walks his master to the nearby Shibuya Station and then with remarkable punctuality returns to pick him up whenever he returns from work. The undying love survives the death of Shujiro, bringing about a heartwarming, if tragic, tale of eternal friendship.

Based on a true story "Hachiko monogatari" is a highly naturalistic feature, which starts of with a fully filmed birth of young pups (a powerful and beautifully shot opening sequence) and keeps this hands on approach throughout. With a precise script minimalism, presenting only the information needed to forward the plot, we hardly get an insight into the everyday family life of Shujiro Ueno, instead fragmented pictures of his wife, daughter and friends. Instead the movie places a strong focus on the man-dog relationship minimising the impact of everything else.

This approach basically delivers a very earnest, if simplistic story, which emotionally involves and captures the heart. I was however something finding myself lacking a wider picture, context, instead of a singular focus on the dog, not knowing almost anything about the people he encounters and their attitude towards the faithful canine, instead littering vast parts of the movie with amorphous everybodies spurting out narrative lines. In essence this construction of the story makes it emotionally effective, but lacking in terms of purely cinematic quality. Nonetheless a memorable movie, bound to make you all mushy. That is unless you lack heart and empathy.
GEL
GEL
The star of this film is an Akita. He is awesome. A professor raises him from puppy-hood and Hachi walks every day to a train station with his master. He remains at the entrance until his owner returns at the end of the day. The man dies and the dog continues to walk to the station every day for several years awaiting the return of his master. the people are secondary in this true story from the 1920s-1930s. An American remake was done with Richard Gere but I have not seen it. I highly recommend Hachi-Ko
Thetath
Thetath
SPOILER ALERT: Link to actual movie (1987), as of April 2015, AND link to new statue that includes owner, too!! (at Tokyo University)

In July '14, one Hachiko film fan posted this link to YouTube, so you may watch the original Japanese version of the film (1987) with English sub-titles. (Running time: 1h 48 min) This is only meant to be a "stand-in" (as the person who posted the video states) until a DVD or streaming version of the original Japanese film is commercially-available (like Amazon streaming, Netflix, etc.), thus is only for "personal use". Apparently very difficult to find any commercially-available versions of this film in original Japanese (w/sub-titles).

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfvZuiZPAxM

BONUS: there's a NEW version of the Hachiko statue, in which he is finally re-united with his original master, Prof. Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of Agricultural Engineering for 20+ yrs, at University of Tokyo in Bunkyo-ku (formerly known as "Imperial University" when Prof. Ueno taught there). Here's a link to some pictures submitted in Mar'2015 by someone living in Japan: tokyofox.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/new-hachiko-statue-in-tokyo/

In case you visit Tokyo (since it has several campuses), the blogger clarifies that the statue's on your LEFT as soon as you enter the University through the gates of the "Graduate School of Agriculture" & "Life Sciences/Faculty of Agriculture".

Enjoy & keep a box of tissues handy!