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Soundtrack review: Hachi: A dog’s tale (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2009)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: Hachi: A dog’s tale (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2009)



Hachiko is the famous story of the Japanese dog that went every day for 9 years to Shibuya station to wait for his dead master. The dog is a legend in Japan and there’s a statue representing Hachi in that station. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek wrote the score for the 2009 American remake of the story which starred Richard Gere.

There is no Japanese influence on this score, but then again, I think the story transcends Japan and everyone who owned a dog can understand the love between pet and master. At the beginning of the score, it’s all about the solo piano…the keys have a rhythm as fast as the movement of a small dog’s paws, and the sound is innocent and lovely. “The foot” is the first cue I really like. “Under the fence” brings back all the joy I felt playing with my own dog. Kaczmarek manages to give the right touch to his composition. The music speaks to me and I understand it. It is alive, heartfelt and very appropriate for this story. And that piano… Few composers can play the piano with this much heart, and I always look forward to Kaczmarek scores.

It is such a joy to listen to what this composer can do with only the piano! “Treats from Cate”, “Parker’s dance played on piano”, “Parker and Hachi walk to the station” are all simple piano themes that bring so much feeling and heart to this score. I feel happy listening to them; I could listen to this section of the score for hours. There’s nothing but joy and innocence to express the relationship between Hachi and his master. The tone only gets sadder when Hachiko remains alone… a gentle violin joins the piano when he goes to the station to wait in vain…

What I love most about this score is that it plays like a nice memory. I get the same feelings listening to it as I do when I remember the moments I spent with my dog. Everything you need to know about the score for “Hachiko: A dog’s story” is in the cue “Parker and Hachi”. If you like it and you feel something from it, then this score is for you…It certainly was for me, and it is one of those scores that will forever remain very close to my heart. I really miss my dog when I hear it, and the addition of Hachi’s voice at the end of the score is a very nice touch…

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 56

Album excellence: 52 %

Nostalgia value: 70%


The Foot

Under The Fence

Treats From Cate

Parker’s Dance Played On Piano

Parker And Hachi Walk To The Station


To Train Together

Hachi – Waiting For Parker Again


Hachi, Parker And Cate & Memories



Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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  1. dogs 21st October 2016

    I enjoy reading through an article that can make people think.
    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!


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