Hachiko: Japan’s dog story gets Americanized
The story of Hachiko, an Akita who came to a train station in Tokyo to wait for his master every day — and for another 10 years after the man died — is coming to the big screen in an Americanized version that stars Richard Gere and takes place in Rhode Island.
The movie still features an Akita, and it’s still named “Hachiko,” but his master isn’t Hidesaburo Ueno, the professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo whose dog never stopped looking for him.
Instead, the story of one dog’s lifelong devotion to his owner centers around a Rhode Island music professor, played by Gere.
Lasse Hallstrom’s “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story” recently had its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, and reportedly produced enough sniffling to rival “Marley & Me.”.
The movie, from Sony Pictures, is based on a screenplay by Stephen P. Lindsey’s, who adapted a Japanese film about Hachiko made 20 years ago.
Lindsey changed the setting to Rhode Island and updated the story, according to Reuters, but retained the basic idea of a loyal Akita who achieves an almost transcendental bond with his owner.
Gere , who’s no stranger to things transcendental, is one of the producers of the film, the story line of which begins when the professor discovers an Akita puppy that has been abandoned at the train station where he commutes to work. He brings the dog home on a temporary basis, but it soon becomes a permanent member of his household.
The role of Hachiko is played by three dogs as an adult and about 20 as a puppy.
The real Hachiko was present in April 1934, when a bronze statue in his honor was erected at Shibuya Station. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II, but recommissioned after the war. Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, made the second statue, which was erected in August 1948, and still stands at one of the exits of Shibuya Station.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, akita, americanized, hachiko, hachiko: a dog's story, hidesaburo ueno, japan, japanese, legend, movie, professor, rhode island, richard gere, shibuya, sony pictures, station, tokyo, train station