Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Stationmaster Cat

New stationmaster Nitama with a photograph of her predecessor Tama in the background.


IF anyone can keep railway passengers on track, it's a strict cat!

And that's exactly what calico cat Tama did after being appointed stationmaster of a rural Japanese railway station. Sadly, Tama died in June and now her successor has been appointed.

When former stray Tama, who was credited with saving the railway line from financial ruin, died of heart failure at the age of 16, around 3,000 people attended her funeral.

In 2006 the stationmaster was made redundant in a cost-cutting measure. Tama, who had made her home at the station, was then appointed honorary stationmaster. It wasn't long before visitors came in their thousands to visit Tama, who welcomed passengers wearing her little stationmaster's cap. She never got above her station and was always purrfectly kind to the passengers.

The "Tama effect" on the local economy was massive. It was estimated at 1.1 billion yen a year ($8.9m). Before her appointment it had been losing 500 million yen ($4m) a year. In fact, so upset were the local people at her death that she was given the posthumous status of Shinto goddess. Shinto is a religion which honours animal deities.

She rose to the position of ultra-stationmaster and then went on to become a vice president of the rail firm.  When she died she was made honourable eternal stationmaster.

Now an apprentice called Nitama (Tama the Second) has been chosen to replace her. Like Tama, Nitama (aged 5) is a calico cat. It was a promotion for Nitama who was appointed acting stationmaster in 2012.


There is a shrine to Tama the station platform with ,with two small bronze statues of the cat  with beckoning paws — one for drawing passengers and another for money. In Japan, a beckoning cat figure, called a maneki-neko, is traditionally placed in restaurants and shops as a good luck charm.

Nitama at Tama's shrine.

If  you want a lucky maneki-neko statue you can get one here:

Maneki Neko Money Lucky Cat Chinese Japanese Statue

It looks lovely, but this is not a personal recommendation as I don't have one myself, although I'm thinking about getting one!

Never miss a funny picture, mad video or hot cat news. Subscribe to That's Purrfect and we'll email you every time the website is updated. All you have to do is pop your email address in the 'subscribe' form in the panel.   
Bookmark and Share

7 comments:

Liz A. said...

I had heard that Tama had died. I think we need more cats in positions of public authority.

Birgit said...

I think this is wonderful and shows how much animals touch the lives of people around the world

Hannah and Lucy said...

We hadn't heard about Tama until we read about her yesterday - she was a very pretty lady.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Pat Hatt said...

Wow, bringing in dough in the millions. Sure shows the power of animals indeed.

Darla M Sands said...

I've heard about this but really like the pictures you provided. Thank you!

Deziz World said...

Well dat's just pawsum dat a kitty saved da railway. Sowry she had to go to heaven and weez glad such a booty kuld take over fur her. Have a pawsum day.

Luv ya'

Dezi and Lexi

Austin Towers said...

The power of the paw for sure!!!