Vicki Wong & Hachi is a joyous space created for Hachi-Hearted souls.
Hello! I’m Vicki, the creator-producer of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. My mission is simple: Share Hachi’s tale with the world to increase compassion and respect for our animal friends, all while learning from them too.
Hachi’s soul-centered tale resonates with our common dreams, fears, beliefs and values. We’re encouraged to reflect on our daily life and our closest relationships.
Using the transformative power of the loyal dog’s spirit, you can awaken your capacity to enjoy life and all its wondrous miracles. Live out your extraordinary life tale... full of meaning, substance and unstoppable joy – the kind that will make your canine pals proud.
Read on, as we travel through my journey with Hachi, my catalyst for deep, lasting change and how his movie came to be…
Meet Vicki Shigekuni Wong: Creator & Producer of Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Adventure was waiting, and I was ready...
Life was full of excitement. Who could guess what was next?
From early on, I was passionate about creating a life I loved. With nothing but a huge curiosity for parts unknown, unwavering faith, and just plain good luck(!), I found myself in diverse businesses, from medical and media to the wild world of fashion.
Yet, simmering under the glossy surface was the feeling that the grit and color of life was passing me by. After a few years of intense soul-searching, I decided to banish my fears of the vast unknown, taking a flying leap into my next life chapter. I tell people that it was in that moment that my life really began.
I was free to explore the glittering nights of Hong Kong and the charming wooden tea houses of Kyoto. I could toast a New Year in London’s Annabel’s, escape to the gem-like harbor of Portofino, chase marlin in Cabo San Lucas, or swim on a whim with gentle manta rays in Bora Bora.
I first discovered Hachikō during a stop at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. Surrounded by enthusiastic tourists, right next to the famous Shibuya Crossing (like New York City’s Times Square), Hachikō was the picture of poise and dignity. In that crowded plaza, something started to stir within me: It was that edgy excitement you feel when your life is about to shift in a cosmic way.
And then I learned his story…
The legacy of Hachikō is a beautiful saga of love, loss and undying loyalty. After his master died, the loyal Akita dog waited at the train station where he would greet his owner each day. He faithfully kept watch, at the same spot, until his own death almost ten years later.
Hachikō's bronze beacon was my sign. His sturdy bronze statue spoke to me right there in Shibuya plaza.
When I flew home, I immediately adopted this irresistible pup. His name was…
Hachi was a wise old soul. Zen-like and focused, Hachi didn’t bark or play with other dogs. When frisky canines bounded up to Hachi at a park, he would stand very still as if to indulge the inconsiderate stranger.
He simply loved people and listened intently when they talked. Hachi once even stared down my crusty attorney. Rattled, he finally said, “That dog is not a dog.” Hachi himself didn’t think he was a dog.
In Hachi’s calm presence, there was perfect peace.
Hachi showed me that I could be happy just basking in the warm afternoon sun, opening my heart to the glorious gift of one quiet, precious and very still moment.
While life was a whirlwind, I began to see where I truly belonged...
Invited to a fairy tale wedding in Provence, I was a guest in a gorgeous villa in the hillside village of St. Paul de Vence. My dear friend wanted me to stay just a little longer. But I really missed Hachi. The thrill I had once felt when jetting about had begun to fade.
Suddenly, my carefree lifestyle no longer suited me.
Every experience began to melt into the next; cities and scenery collided into a colorful blur. Too much movement was dizzying, and I longed to be anchored in one place.
I wanted to consume life in slow, conscious bites. My true love was Hachi, and his gentle, loving demeanor was drawing me home.
Hachi was home in every sense of the word.
Hachi stood by me through every colorful chapter of my life.
Although I’ve met some intriguing characters throughout my travels, nobody mesmerized me the way that this curious pup could. Hachi had presence.
One day I was sorting through old music when Tony Bennett’s voice came on singing “Tender is the Night.” As it played, Hachi inched closer and closer to the speakers, laying down right in front to listen. He was crazy for Tony. He never did that for any other singer.
Hachi had a bed in the front seat of my sports car, and he looked quite smart sitting there. For fun, I once drove him to the mountains to play in the snow. He jumped out of the car – then jumped right back in. Hachi didn’t like wet paws.
He passed away at the ripe old age of 16. And though it was expected, his absence left me with a heavy and unshakable loss. There was a Hachi-sized hole in my heart, but nothing could bring him back.
Or could it?
I realized that although Hachi was no longer physically present, his spirit continued to shine bright – breathing light into each corner of my life.
Hachi had delivered a message, and I was going to share it. The toughest part was–where to start?
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
One evening, I told the story of Hachikō to an old-time Hollywood producer. “I don’t even like dogs” was his first reaction. "Never mind not liking them," I replied.
I explained that Hachi’s story represents not just love between a man and dog, but love between parent and child, or man and woman...with universal appeal across all cultures, genders and ages. He was sold.
Together, we worked on a storyline then hired an up-and-coming screenwriter. And after several months, it was complete.
When you have a vision, don’t let anything stop you.
I had just bought a home in the middle of the South Pacific. A few months later, two companies contacted me, wanting to finance the Hachi film. But I was loving my new island life, enjoying my acre of land, exotic flowers, beautiful fruit trees and those forever sea views.
For me, paradise on earth looks and feels like freedom. A deal was struck, and everything was handled remotely, without me ever needing to leave the isolation of my tropical retreat.
For the lead role of Professor Parker, my first choice was Richard Gere. Because the story of Hachikō is about the deep spiritual connection between kindred spirits Richard’s strong beliefs, charitable works, his deep respect of Asian culture, meant there was no need to consider another actor. The integrity he brought the character meant there was no other choice: Richard was the professor.
Once filming started, I left my island home and was on location every day.
We found the perfect train station in the small town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Our director, Lasse Hallstrom, a friend of Richard’s – was a stroke of good fortune for us. It wasn't until the night before filming that I first met Lasse. I introduced myself, and was so flustered that I offered him a seat in his own office! Lasse graciously laughed it off. From that moment on, I wasn't just a fan – I was in awe of this classy man and his immense talent.
Creating Hachi was an incredible experience for everyone involved.
Besides the positive energy generated by the script and the cast, being surrounded by gorgeous dogs and sweet puppies was a daily delight.
At the wrap party, a member of our union crew – a formidable looking guy – came over to me. He said, "I've worked on many sets over the years but this was something special." I’ll always remember his kind words.
That magic moment was just one example of the warmth we all felt during production, which is part of the reason Hachi: A Dog’s Tale has genuinely affected so many lives.
It’s really Hachikō’s story that’s made such a profound impact on the people who view it. We were just fortunate enough to share that loyal little dog's tale with the world.
- Over 275,000 viewers on IMDb (the authoritative film information source) voted Hachi: A Dog’s Tale in the top 25 of all Family Feature Films to date.
- Hachi: A Dog's Tale earned the #205 place in the "250 Most Highly Rated" film list by IMDB voters.
- Amazon rates Hachi: A Dog's Tale 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 15,000 reviews. The #1 rated comment, “As a grown man not prone to crying, by the end of this film I was a blubbering mess, and I've probably not shed a tear in more than ten years...”
- The Heartland Film Festival awarded Hachi with its “Truly Moving Picture” award, created to support films that transform lives beyond pure entertainment.
- I was honored with the 1st Annual Japan Cool Content Contribution award by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for bringing a Japanese-themed story to a worldwide audience. The formal dinner ceremony was held at the Consulate-General of Japan’s residence in Los Angeles.
- In Washington, D.C., Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki hosted a Hachi screening and reception at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery. Director Lasse Hallstrom and I answered questions after the screening. During the reception, the Honorable William Webster, chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Board and former head of the FBI and CIA, shared stories of the deep bond with his own two dogs.
The Legacy lives on
Hachikō continues to capture the world’s hearts....
Everywhere I go, I meet people who have fallen in love with Hachi: from a hidden cafe in Mallorca, to a London hotel – even during a taxi ride in Malaga. I once met a rather distinguished gentleman who cruises the world with his favorite DVD’s – including Hachi!
Seeing the enthusiasm Hachi generates is a surprise and a delight, and the main reason I’ve created this virtual community for Hachi fans. This platform is designed to introduce Hachi to new fans while also creating space to honor his life and legacy.
Today, Hachi’s compassionate message passes on every time the movie plays anywhere in the world, and through Hachi books and music that bring him closer to our hearts.