Richard Gere stars in the upcoming movie Hachiko: A Dog’s Tale released in the U.S this week. The story about a professor and his loyal Akita dog Hachi was adapted from a true story about a Japanese professor whose dog faithfully waited for him every evening at the train station even after his death. However, few people know that after WWII only a handful of Akita dogs were left in Japan, and that one man, Morie Sawataishi, single handedly revived the four-thousand-year-old breed and saved it from extinction. Martha Sherrill tells his story in DOG MAN: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain (Riverhead Trade Paperback).The highly researched and richly narrated story of Morie and his Akitas would be a great supplement to any piece on the movie!
DOG MAN is an extremely moving account of one man’s passion for his family, his land, his culture, and his dogs. In strengthening the Akita breed, Morie revived a cultural symbol in Japan. The Akita once plentiful and revered in Japan as a symbol of loyalty and pride became widely popular once again, sometimes selling for millions of yen. And Morie became a revered figure in the snow country of Japan- a peaceful man, a mountain man, a dog man.