Hachi “Behind the Scenes” with Animal Trainer, Mark Harden

If you could peek behind the scenes of the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, would you? Well, now you can with a new book titled, “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors.” If you head to Chapter 6, it’s written by Mark Harden, one of the talented animal trainers of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. In detail, Mark describes the role played by each of the three “Hachi” stars. You’ll learn how he transformed the 4-year old Akita (Forrest) to look and “act” like the aged Hachi at the end of the film. The make-up transformation was incredible alone, but Forrest had to be trained to walk and move like an elderly dog. It was a stellar performance from a True Star! Mark shares how he enjoys “the audible gasp from first-time viewers when Forrest, as old Hachi, makes his entrance” in the movie. It’s one of the most emotional scenes in the film. A real tear-jerker. Hachi was one of the highlights of Mark’s career and he says, “I will pass down memories of it to my grandchildren.” Thank YOU for the memories! Are you interested in the behind-the-scenes animal action? These dog actors went above and beyond, but there’s always was a human behind it all! To learn more…

Hachiko comes alive in  “Pawprints In Japan”

Looking for a way to bring this emotional story to life? Hachikō book, “Pawprints in Japan” is perfect for remembering such a loyal, loving dog. “Pawprints In Japan” is an enthralling Hachiko book and sure to capture your heart. Painstakingly researched and written by long-time dog lover and Akita owner, Nicholas C. Rhoden. I was recently contacted by Linda Wroth, who shared this book with me. Linda is mentioned in the preface, and is an Akita owner who is devoted to the well being and history of the Akita dog. Exploring dogs in myth and history, Rhoden’s expanded collection of four award-winning articles were previously published in The Akita Journal. Each of the original articles won “Best Article of the Year in a Single-Breed Magazine,” awarded by the Dog Writers Association of America. The first chapter is “Hachi-ko, the Loyal Dog—and the Forgotten Story of an American Tribute.” I learned many details about Hachiko’s life — the kindness of Professor Ueno’s  former gardener, Mr. Kikuzaburo Kobayashi and by the Director of Shibuya Station, Mr. Chuichi Yoshikawa. Prior to Hachi becoming famous, the shopkeepers and locals were generally indifferent towards him. An exception was the famous stage and screen star Yoshiko Kawada who would visit him as a friend. Learn how Hachiko became known as the protector of the “underdog!” Rare Photos Unveiled Included are rare photos of Hachi and a map of Tokyo showing the exact spots that Hachi frequented. We can see the actual distance from Shibuya Station, Profesor’s Ueno’s home, the University, Hachiko’s gravesite and other locations of interest. Through this visual, we get a clearer picture of Hachi’s everyday life can feel as if we’re with him. Numerous little known details of Hachiko’s life is uncovered. On Sunday, April 14th, the Los Angeles Times reported a ceremony attended by the ex-mayor of Los Angeles, Consul General of Japan Mr. Tomokazu Hori and a little girl named Elizabeth Hansen at St. Mary’s Japanese Episcopal Church. In honor of Hachiko, Elizabeth led a famous Airedale named Kentucky Boy lll (the most decorated dog in the US, he was the recipient of 16 medals for heroism) to the platform and officially turned over the containers of pennies, nickels, and dimes contributed by American and Japanese-American school children all over the Southland. The other three chapters are equally fascinating: “Helen Keller: Saint of Three Burdens and the Forgotten Story of Her Akitas—First in America”, “Myths and Legends of the Dog in Ancient Japan: Demon or Demi-God?” and “Taro and Jiro: The Never-to-Be-Forgotten Story of an Incredible Survival—and the Untold Story of an Omen.” A special treat is the over 70 fascinating photographs of Hachiko, Helen Keller with her Akitas, and Taro and Jiro —  the courageous dogs of the Antarctica dog sled team with an incredible survival tale. Reading this book made me feel even more respectful of Hachiko and Akitas for their lasting imprint on our hearts. Do you have any questions about Hachiko’s life? While Pawprints in Japan is no longer available, I call author Mayumi Itoh “Hachiko’s Official Biographer.” Her book “Hachiko: Solving Twenty Mystery About The Most Famous Dog In Japan” covers everything you ever wanted to know about the loyal Akita. Check it out!