Monday, November 22, 2010

Hachiko: A Dog's Story of Loyalty in Tokyo

Hachiko: A Tale of Loyalty in Tokyo--

This story was used in a recent Hollywood film, "Hachi", which I found very offbeat. Here's a CBS News background report on the real story.


  1. An odd little story Doug, somehow quintessentially Japanese with all the apparently devoted loyalty and commitment to his pack leader. On the other hand maybe Hachiko was just fascinated by trains?

    Obviously he was getting fed for the decade he made his lonesome daily sojourn, so maybe operant conditioning is the non-romantic explanation for his repetitive behavior Doug.

    Maybe the film should have been about BF Skinner, there would be absolutely no trace of sentimentalism in the audience then - who would themselves become just as loyal as Hachiko, but of course only to the popcorn, not the movie. They'd certainly save on tissues though!

  2. Awww, Doug, I think you have broken my heart with this video. Dogs are such loyal friends to us humans. I'm afraid I'd have camped out at the side of this loyal friend and shared my sandwiches with him.

    Where are those tissues?

  3. Perhaps, AA, you're thinking of Akiro, Hachiko's kennel mate, who was a keen train-spotter and later snuck aboard a ship to Liverpool because of an apparent yen for chip shops. ;-)

    Yes, I thought of that as well--the Japanese culture traits you mention likely made this story even more special.

    Behaviorism to the rescue! Here I thought it was a story of one of mankind's few friends in the mammal kingdom (the dog) being loyal to his master to the very end. Professor Skinner's screenplay writing to the story would have left us with a logical but emotionally low-impact cinematic experience--in other words, box-office gold!

  4. It was a nice little film, all the more moving because it was based on this real-life story. Hard to be a dog lover and not feel some of us are inadequate to the love and trust our beloved canines are willing to invest in us as we go through life.

    I'm sure you would have been one of those sharing your lunch with the little fellow, as would we all knowing why he was at the station. How fitting that such devotion sparked that memorial. :-) A sad but heartwarming little story.

  5. Bingo......let's write a screenplay and send it to Art Garfunkel, he could play BF Skinner perfectly I think...

    He'd be great in the lead of what could be the first Harry Potter spin-off - atonal musical - experience.

    "Harry Potter and the Grimoire of Conditioned Responses".......we could be in for gazillions if the idea gets legs Doug....bloody brilliant!

  6. The story reminds us why down through the ages man has chosen the dog to be our companion. When others have had enough of us, they are still there loyal as ever.
    My dog certainly knew when I was unhappy.

    There was a story over here in England, where a dog's owner died at a crossroads. The dog waited there every day until he himself died.

    Yes, a fitting memorial indeed.

  7. How profoundly symbolic Doug and this is truly a story of loyality and within the culture of the Japanese how tremendous in the manner of how they looked at the devotion and loyalty and then it became a memorial that rendered a pleasant landmark from which people would meet.

    I see this as very typical within that culture of the Japanese.

  8. Sometimes I do come up with a viable story, AA...sounds like you have the research down. Even if the studios don't bite on ascript , it has possibilities as a doctoral dissertation!

    Garfunkel would be a good pick...the title you came up with is a sure fire winner ;-) J.K. Rowling herself couldn't have come up with one better!

    Noam Chomsky and Skinner didn't get along too well...I see a role here for Dustin Hoffman as Skinner's arch-enemy!

  9. There is a beauty to the idea of people coming together at a place held special indeed by the devotion of friendship between man and dog, Jack. So true.

  10. Yeah that was the main things within this true story that really did make it a happy one.

  11. There is a California Native-American folktale, Cassandra, about how a Great Spirit was mad at an Adam-like human. He decided to seperate this first human from all the other creatures by creating a vast canyon in the earth cutting "Adam" off from all other creatures.

    The gorund parted in a great earthquake. At the last moment the only animal who came to jump to the human's side was a dog.

    Yes, dogs have great empathy. I remember as a kid being ill with an asthma attack and my dog at the time would not leave my side until the medicine worked.

    There always sadness as well to such a story. I vividly remember a Disney film with Donald Crisp about a terrier called "Greyfriars Bobby", who sat on his master's grave for years in 19th Century Edinburgh. I wasn't sure if the story was actually true, but according to Wikipedia it is!

  12. Yes, Jack, many people befriended the dog and kept him fed and watched over him on his journeys at the train station. There are just some things that life affords us to sit back in awe of, even small ones. Whatever the reason is, its a tribute to a rare bond we don't share with other animals.