A picture of the real Hachiko.
You've probably heard of Hachiko, the Akita (the Japanese dog) who walked his owner to a train station and then would go home. Then in the afternoon, he'd go back to the train station to wait for his owner to walk home together. This was in 1924.
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Then one day, the owner, who was a professor at Tokyo University, died at work. Hachiko waited. He went home. But he went back to the station. And he waited. Ten years later in 1935, Hachiko died at the station where he had patiently waited for his master.
The dog became famous because people noticed. Some knew his story and told it to reporters. Stories and books were written about the dog. Others brought him treats. A movie was made in Japan in 1987, and was a hit.
There's a statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station and one of the exits is named for him. Another statue of the dog is in Odate, in Akita, where he was born. I've seen that statue and I think I have a picture of it somewhere. My uncle lived in Odate until he died earlier this year.
Now, there's an American version of the story, "Hachiko: A Dog's Story," directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Remember Hallstrom? He directed a movie called "My Life as a Dog" some years back.
Richard Gere is in the new movie along with Joan Allen. It'll be released later this year.
I was watching the Animal Planet yesterday. A show called "Dog 101" tells people looking for dogs about various breeds. One of the four breeds was the Akita. The announcer said because the movie will probably be a success, people will go out and buy an Akita. And a lot of these dogs will end up in shelters because they're just not suitable for everyone. It's like when "101 Dalmatians" came out. Everyone wanted a Dalmatian. Again, not suitable for every family.
So if you're a dog lover, you know if you can handle an Akita. If you're not sure, get a Lab or Golden Retriever. Those are great family dogs. Or rescue a dog at PAWS.
More than 70 years after Hachiko's death, he's still very much alive in Tokyo. A lot of people meet at Hachiko's statue and on his birthday, April 8, there's always a ceremony. If you go to http://mdn.mainichi.jp/photojournal/graph/photojournal/4.html there is a picture of Hachiko's statue wearing a flower lei.
Will I see the movie? Probably. Will you?