The senior ranking official from Japan’s Consulate General in Boston, Consul General Takeshi Hikihara, will visit Woonsocket as part of a trip to Rhode Island on Saturday, May 19. At 3 PM that day, the Consul General will officially unveil the new Hachiko statue at the front of the Woonsocket Depot, the headquarters of the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The landmark building in which the Heritage Corridor operates was featured in a Richard Gere movie called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. The movie, which has built a strong following on video, tells the true story of Hachiko, an Akita dog whose loyalty is legendary in Japan. According to published accounts, Hachiko waited every evening at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo for his owner to return from his job at a Japanese university. When the man died suddenly while at work and failed to return on the train, the loyal Hachiko waited at the station every evening for ten years until his own death in 1935. Today, a statue of Hachiko (pictured) is located at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo and is popular tourist destination. The statue being placed in Woonsocket is a replica of the Tokyo statue.
In Woonsocket, visitors often stop at the Woonsocket Depot to see the spot where the American film was made. With the placement of the new Hachiko statue, it is expected that more visitors will be putting the Woonsocket Depot on their "places to visit" list. To read more about the statue and how it came to be in Woonsocket, see this article.
The May 19 event is open to the public. We invite our friends and partners to welcome the Consul General and to see the statue unveiled.