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Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (film)

A very sad true story about a dog that lost his owner and waited him back till the end of his life. Hachikō, as was his real life name was waiting perseveringly for the return of his deceased owner for more than nine years till his death. To honor Hachikō several statues have been built around Japan and he is one of the prototypes of dogs true loyalty.

Hachi is a story of love and devotion between a dog and a man, and based on the true story of Hachikō (ハチ公, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935). The story is told by Ronnie, the man’s grandson. When Ronnie has to give a presentation at school about a personal hero, his chosen subject is his grandfather’s dog, Hachiko. Despite his classmates’ laughing, Ronnie tells the story of how his grandfather, Professor Parker Wilson, finds a lost puppy which has been freighted to America from Japan and accidentally left at the train station of the Professor’s small Rhode Island hometown. The professor ends up taking the puppy home, planning to search out its intended destination and send it on to its real owner. However the search for the puppy’s owner is unsuccessful, and Parker and the puppy begin to form a close connection. From his friend Ken, a Japanese professor, Parker learns that the dog is of the Japanese Akita breed. Ken also translates the symbol on the puppy’s collar as Hachi (ハ) — Japanese for the number 8—signifying good fortune, even though the puppy’s life so far has seemed anything but lucky. Thus the puppy acquires his name, ‘Hachiko, or Hachi for short, and although Parker’s wife, Cate, is opposed to keeping the puppy, eventually she relents upon realizing how strong the bond between Parker and Hachi has become.

Over the next year or so, Parker and Hachi become even closer. Parker tries, but Hachi refuses to do dog-like activities such as chasing and fetching. One morning, Parker leaves for work and Hachi follows him to the train station and refuses to leave until Parker walks him home. Later that afternoon, Hachi walks to the station to wait patiently for Parker to return. Parker is surprised to find Hachi waiting for him, and it becomes a daily routine.

One day, Hachi waits patiently as the train arrives, but there is no sign of Parker. He waits, lying in the snow for hours until Parker’s son-in-law Michael comes to get him. Although everyone tries to tell Hachi that Parker has died (of a cerebral hemorrhage during a lecture in class), Hachi doesn’t understand. Hachi continues to return to the station and wait every day.

As time passes, Cate sells the house and Hachi is sent to live with Parker and Cate’s daughter Andy, her husband Michael, and their baby Ronnie. However, Hachi escapes and finds his way back to the station, where he sits at his usual spot. Andy arrives and takes him home, but after seeing how depressed the dog is she lets him out to return to the station. Hachi waits every day at the train station and sleeps in the rail yard at night. He is fed daily by the train station workers who knew the professor. After seeing a newspaper article about Hachi, Ken visits Hachi.

Cate comes back to visit Parker’s grave on the tenth anniversary of his death and meets Ken. She is stunned to see a now elderly Hachi still waiting at the station. Overcome with grief, Cate sits and waits for the next train with him. At home, Cate tells the now ten-year-old Ronnie about Hachi. Meanwhile, Hachi continues waiting until his body can wait no longer, and is last seen lying in the snow, alone and still, although he is comforted by a final vision of Parker finally appearing and picking him up to go, presumably to the afterlife.

Ronnie concludes his story of why Hachi will forever be his hero. The story has clearly moved the class, with some students holding back tears, including those who had laughed at the beginning. After school, Ronnie, coming off the school bus, is met by his dad and his own puppy, also named Hachi. The film ends with Ronnie and Hachi walking down the same tracks where Parker and the previous Hachi had spent so much time together.

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