Using a Symbol of Loyalty to Build a
the United States
On April 21,1934, a bronze statue of Hachik§
by the sculptor Teru Ando was erected in Shibuya Station in
Tokyo. The location is a popular Tokyo meeting place, with the
statue now symbolizing the commitment and love of people who
meet there. The original statue was melted down for use in World
War II. The Society for Recreating the Hachik§ Statue was
formed, with sculptor Takeshi Ando, son of the original
sculptor, commissioned to make a second statue, which was
unveiled in 1948.
In 2009, the Woonsocket Depot in Woonsocket,
Rhode Island, USA became the primary set for the movie Hachik§: A
Dog's Story. Starring Hollywood icon Richard Gere, and directed
by Lasse Hallstr÷m, the movie, released in January 2011, was a
remake of the 1987 Japanese original film and is based on a true
story about a dog's loyalty to the Professor who adopted him.
The faithful dog's loyalty became a national symbol in Japan and
the USA. Several books have also been written about the story.
Darren Hussey, a sculptor and owner of All
Classics Ltd. visited Japan and experienced the Hachik§ culture.
Impressed by the original sculpture and the message behind it,
he returned home to make one of his own. The sculpture was put
up for sale on Ebay and was later purchased by Dr. Pilkington of
the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket. When
the school experienced bankruptcy and the City of Woonsocket
came to their rescue, the purchased sculpture was presented as a
gift to the city as a token of appreciation and loyalty to the
city. This presentation was made on behalf of the students
during the 2012 Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival.
the Festival, the sculpture was unveiled as a gift of loyalty to
the City of Woonsocket, in part as tribute to the creation of
the film at the Depot and in part as a tourist attraction. In
addition, two cherry blossom trees were donated by the Japanese
government and dedicated by Council General Takeshi Hikahara.
The Mayor of Shibuya sent Hachik§ Ambassador of Japan , Vice
Chairman of the Maintenance to speak on behalf of the
Mayor. Susan Gill translated into English.
The event was a huge success in Woonsocket
and due to the interest in and fascination with the story, the
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and other stakeholders have
dedicated themselves to using the event to expose the Japanese
culture in and to the USA. To maintain the integrity of the
Hachik§ Monument, we are developing a program to enhance and
draw attention to the display and the story behind it, in
addition to raising awareness and interest in each other's
country between the people of Japan and the United States.
Future Plans and Projects
The Tourism Council is working with the
Beacon Charter School of the Arts, RI Department of
Transportation, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley
National Heritage Corridor and the City of Woonsocket to raise
Maintain and improve the location of the
monument in Woonsocket
Develop a train tour that will include a
visit to the monument and movie set, and reading of the story
Develop informational and other
programs, including this website, to promote interest in
Japan and foster working partnerships between Japan and
the United States
To learn more
about the story of Hachik§, including the movie, monuments,
future plans and development efforts as well as information
about Japan, please use the links below.