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In Japan, A Cat That’s A Train Stationmaster
By Anthea Quay, 14 Aug 2013
Found in Kinokawa City, Wakayama, Japan, the railway station ‘Kishi Station’ has a stationmaster that’s a cat, named “Tama”.
According to Spoon & Tamago, Tama was previously from a small cat shelter that was force to vacate its premises, to make way for new roads, in 2003. The new roads were to lead to train stations of Wakayama Electric Railway, that were then going to be built.
Instead of letting the cats go homeless, in 2006, the old lady that was looking after the cats at the shelter sought the railway company’s president, to ask him to let the cats live inside the station.
And when Misunobu Kojima, Wakayama Electric Railway’s president, saw Tama, he was “struck with an image of [her] as a station master,” he told Ryobi, and allowed the felines to stay at Kishi Station.
Tama reminded Kojima of the common Japanese figure ‘maneki-neko’ or ‘beckoning cat’, which is often believed to bring luck—and she did.
When she was appointed by Kojima as a feline stationmaster, more people were attracted to visit Kishi Station—this brought an increase in passengers and revenue.
To reward Tama, she was given a new window office, a hat with a gold lining, a badge, one year’s worth of cat food, and promoted her to “Super Station Master”.
The ‘Tama’ train, designed by Eiji Mitooka
[via Spoon & Tamago, images via Wakayamakanko]
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