Hachi is a story of love and devotion between a dog and a man. The story is told by Ronnie, the grandson of the man. He has to give a presentation about a personal hero. Ronnie's subject is his grandfather's dog, Hachikō. Despite his classmates laughing he tells how his grandfather, Professor Parker Wilson, finds a lost puppy sent from Japan at the train station and ends up taking it home with the intention of returning the animal to its owner. He names the Akita puppy Hachikō, after Ken, a Japanese professor, translates a symbol on his collar as 'Hachi'—Japanese for the number 8—signifying good fortune. Even though they didn't find his owner and his wife, Cate, doesn't think they should keep him, they do.
Over the next year or so, Parker and Hachi become very close. Parker tries, but Hachi refuses to do dog-like activities like chase and fetch. 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, but 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 her daughter Andy, 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 that 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. 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, the dog 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 on why Hachi will forever be his hero and his 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. Ronnie and Hachi walk down the same tracks where Parker and Hachi had spent so much time together.Leyla, Chico and Forrest - HachiRichard Gere - Professor Parker Wilson; Cate's husband, Andy's father, Michael's father-in-law, and Ronnie's maternal grandfatherJoan Allen - Cate Wilson; Parker's wife, Andy's mother, Michael's mother-in-law, and Ronnie's maternal grandmotherSarah Roemer - Andy Wilson; Parker and Cate's daughter, Michael's wife, and Ronnie's motherRobbie Collier Sublett - Michael; Parker and Cate's son-in-law, Andy's husband, and Ronnie's fatherCary-Hiroyuki Tagawa - Ken Fujiyoshi; professor of Japanese and Parker's friendJason Alexander - Carl Boilins; the train station masterErick Avari - Jasjeet; an Indian hot dog cart vendorDavenia McFadden - Mary-Ann; the butcher shop ownerKevin DeCoste - Ronnie; Michael and Andy's son and Parker and Cate's grandsonTora Hallström - Heather; Ronnie's classmate
The movie was based on the real Hachiko, who was born in Ōdate in 1923. After the death of his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno in 1925, Hachiko returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years until he died in March 1935. A bronze statue of Hachiko is in front of the Shibuya train station in his honor.
The majority of filming took place in Bristol, Rhode Island and Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The only spoken reference to the actual location where filming took place is when the newspaper reporter Teddy states he works for the Woonsocket Call (Woonsocket's daily newspaper).
Additional locations included the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island, along the Providence and Worcester Railroad Mechanical, and the Columbus Theater located in Providence, Rhode Island. A second production unit filmed scenes on-location in Japan. Footage was shot at the (now closed) Reynolds Elementary School in Bristol.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, reported that 62% of critics gave the film positive reviews with an average rating of 5.8/10.
On May 19, 2012, a bronze statue of Hachiko the dog was placed at the train depot at Woonsocket Depot Square, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where Hachi was filmed. The train depot at One Depot Square has been named Hachiko Place. The Rhode Island statue's dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival held in three Rhode Island towns: Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket. Dignitaries including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul General of Japan attended the ceremony. Two cherry blossom trees were planted by the statue. A visitor from New Jersey's Akita-mix (also named Hachi) was invited to participate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony as a "real-life stand-in for Hachiko".
Animal trainer Mark Harde and his team trained the three Akitas — Leyla, Chico and Forrest — who played the role of Hachi in the movie. Harden adopted Chico after the movie was completed.
The Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council have created a handout with useful info for people who want to take a tour of the movie locations for "Hachi"
According to the movie's closing cards, the real Hachiko died in March 1934, while the earlier movie, Hachikō Monogatari, and other sources state that he died in March 1935 (9 years and 9 months after Professor Ueno's death).
The film score of Hachi was composed by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek.
- "Japan" (03:26)
- "New Home" (01:47)
- "The Foot" (02:40)
- "Dance Rehearsal" (02:15)
- "Storm and the Rescue" (01:36)
- "The Second Dance" (00:51)
- "Under the Fence" (01:51)
- "Treats from Cate" (01:52)
- "Parker's Dance Played on Piano" (03:42)
- "Parker and Hachi Walk to the Station" (02:04)
- "Baby" (01:23)
- "Marriage Bath" (03:27)
- "Fetch" (02:12)
- "To Train Together" (03:25)
- "Packing Boxes" (02:15)
- "Parker and Hachi" (03:28)
- "Hachiko Runs Away" (04:27)
- "Memory of the Storm" (01:36)
- "Hachi Waiting for Parker Again" (02:51)
- "Hachi's Last Trip to the Station" (02:06)
- "Goodbye" (02:10)
- "Hachi, Parker, Cate and Memories" (03:58)
- "Hachi's Voice (Version 1)" (Bonus track) (00:14)
- "Hachi's Voice (Version 2)" (Bonus track) (00:10)
- "Hachi's Voice (Version 3)" (Bonus track) (00:11)
- "Hachi's Voice (Version 4)" (Bonus track) (00:09)