Yes, the movie is based on a true Japanese story although the movie adaptation was American. Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) is a college professor who rides a train everyday to go to work. One ordinary day, as he steps out of his train, he encountered a lost puppy. Failing to locate the owner, he brings it home. The puppy had a dog collar with engraved Japanese characters that mean “Hachiko.”
Parker raises Hachiko. His wife and daughter grew to love the dog as well. Parker and Hachiko developed a silent and unexplainable bond between them. Every morning Hachiko would accompany Parker to the train station. He would go back to the train station in the afternoon to wait for Parker to arrive and they will walk back home together. But one day, Parker collapsed while at work and died. And Hachiko waited at the train station in vain.
This is where the string of emotions began. Days after Parker died, Hachiko continued to go back to the same spot in the train station where he will sit to wait for Parker. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Parker’s daughter tried to adopt Hachiko but the dog would only escape to go back to the train station. He became a stray dog. The people around the train pity the dog and fed him for sustenance.
Hachiko’s display of unconditional love and loyalty is deeply touching. He did this for ten years and died on the exact spot at the train station where he waited for Parker’s return each day. I don’t like too much drama in a movie, but this one was an exception. I liked it primarily because it is rare to hear a story like Hachiko’s who could not and would not forget about this man who picked him up when he was little and took care of him.
I promise you, after watching this movie, you will not look at dogs the same way again.