Wakayama’s popular ‘stationmaster’ cat Tama, 16, dies


Tama, a cat “stationmaster” of a railway station in Wakayama Prefecture whose immense popularity helped boost the railway’s revenues and the local sightseeing industry, died Monday at a local animal hospital aged 16 years and two months, the equivalent of about 80 years in human age, the railway said Wednesday.

Tama was a “tourism superstar extremely popular in and out of Japan who contributed greatly to promoting tourism in our prefecture. I am filled with deep sorrow and appreciation,” Wakayama Gov. Yoshinobu Nisaka said in a statement.

According to Wakayama Electric Railway Co., which appointed the female tortoiseshell cat to master of Kishi Station in January 2007, Tama had been recuperating from rhinitis since May. She is believed to have died of acute heart failure.

The day before her death, Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima visited Tama to wish her a speedy recovery. At the time, Tama stood up and let out a strong meow.

Before taking up the company’s post, Tama was kept at a kiosk in front of Kishi Station.

Her cuteness and the novelty of a cat stationmaster turned the money-losing Kishigawa Line into a popular sightseeing spot. The number of passengers on the line jumped to 2.27 million in fiscal 2014 from 1.92 million in fiscal 2005. Photos of Tama and other merchandise also sold well, leading to her appointment to acting president of Wakayama Electric Railway in January 2013.

The railway said it will hold a funeral for Tama on Sunday at her station, with the president serving as chairman of her funeral committee.

  • bellschaserplease

    Poor thing bless it, Although I daresay it might have been made an honorary citizen which would have given it more democratic rights in Japan than I had.

    • Bob Oliver

      Perhaps because it made a far more significant contribution. Better a hard-working cat than a whiney gaijin.

      • bellschaserplease

        Sure, that makes a lot of sense if you have still yet to finish grade school.

      • lucy

        So-called ‘Democracy’ has rightly been described as the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ ~ and therefore has nothing to recommend it. Anyone who supports it is brainless or gutless.
        …or both.

      • bellschaserplease

        Haha, Well that’s certainly a salient point but the topic has gone from a station cat to the pros and cons of modern democracy. Marx himself in a letter to Wedermeyer said that it; “constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.”.

        I say Let the transition occur with fair and equal and participation in the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

      • lucy

        ‘A dictatorship by any other name’ is nonetheless a dictatorship.
        And, as you point out, a dictatorship can only operate as a fascist State.
        …….by any other name.
        Winston Smith and Mr. Savage shared the same futility.

  • bellschaserplease

    Hmm, I wonder why those comments were deleted? Surely the LDP haven’t had their way with the media just yet?