Wakayama's Beloved Cat Stationmaster Tama Passes Away

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

A special member of Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture passed away Monday.

Its stationmaster, Tama, was a little hairier than most of her peers. Born on April 29, 1999, she got her start monitoring a kiosk in front of Kishi Station when it was owned by Nankai Electric Railway. In 2006, Wakayama Electric Railway Co. took over the line and planned to demolish Tama's kiosk. Instead of displacing her, Wakayama Electric Railway Co. promoted her to stationmaster, a request that went all the way up to the company president.

The promotion was an honor for Tama, and was just the beginning of her illustrious career as the area's beloved cat stationmaster. For the last eight years, Tama has brought in throngs of tourists and boosted the station's overall business to 2.27 million passengers last year from 1.92 million in 2005. The station sold photos and merchandise of the tortoise-shell feline and she was summarily promoted again to acting president of Wakayama Electric Railway in 2013.

In a video of her 16th birthday, Tama was surrounded by her fans in celebration, including a cake and a tree planting.

Her life was a long one for a cat, reaching the age 16 years and two months, or approximately 80 in human age. The company will hold a funeral for Tama on Sunday at her station with the company president serving as chairman of the funeral committee.

Source: The Mainichi, Asahi Shimbun

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