Favorite

The Story Of How Tama, The Train Station Cat, Became The Patron Goddess Of The Station

This is the story of Tama, the calico cat, who became Japan's feline star of a struggling local railway, Wakayama Electric Railway Kishigawa Line, in Wakayama Prefecture, turned legend and Goddess of the station. 

Share
Tweet
Stumble
Pin It
Email
  • 1

    The start of it all:

    Tama the Train Station Goddess
    Pin It

    Tama, a calico cat, was first appointed stationmaster at the Kishi station in western Japan in 2007. Donning her custom-made stationmaster's cap, Tama quietly sat at the ticket gate welcoming and seeing off passengers. It wasn't long until Tama became wide-known, attracting tourists and world-famous. In turn, contributing to the railway company (that had been struggling) and the local economy.


  • 2

    Dressed for success

    Cheezburger Image 9307805440
    Pin It

    Before Tama's arrival, the local Kishigawa Line was near-bankrupt; and the station was unmanned as it had lost its last staff.

    Mr. Kojima, Wakayama Electric Railway president, said appointing Tama as stationmaster was initially an excuse to keep the cat at the station. "But she was really doing her job," he said. The rest was a miracle, and his company's success story also gave hope for dozens of other struggling tiny local train lines.


  • 3

    Keeping a watchful eye on patrons

    Cheezburger Image 9307805184
    Pin It

  • 4

    Tama, the train conductor, reporting for duty!

    Cheezburger Image 9307804928
    Pin It

  • 5

    Adored by all

    Cheezburger Image 9307804672
    Pin It

  • 6

    The train got a new look -- all thanks to Tama

    Cheezburger Image 9307804416
    Pin It

  • 7

    In 2015, Tama unfortunately passed away but residents and admirers came flooding to her funeral to share their appreciation

    Cheezburger Image 9307804160
    Pin It

    Tama, who had turned 16 in April, died of heart failure on June 22, 2015. And it was during Tama's Sunday's Shinto-style funeral, she became a goddess. 


  • 8

    So much love for Tama

    Cheezburger Image 9307803904
    Pin It

    In one of several portraits decorating the altar, Tama posed in a stationmaster's hat and a dark blue cape. Sake, watermelon, apples, cabbage, and other fruits and vegetables were presented to the cat. 


  • 9

    A stand outside the station was heaped with bouquets, canned tuna and other gifts left by thousands of Tama fans who came to pray from around the country.

    Cheezburger Image 9307803648
    Pin It

  • 10

    Tama becomes a unforgettable legend

    Cheezburger Image 9307803392
    Pin It

  • 11

    Nitama steps up to the plate

    Cheezburger Image 9307803136
    Pin It

    According to the Telegraph, "An exhaustive search and thorough selection process followed the June passing of the former cat in charge, the beloved Tama, who had been in the role since 2007, and now the station has found her replacement, Nitama.

    The five-year-old, a graduate of Cat Stationmaster Training School, previously served as the stationmaster at Idakiso Station before being promoted to Tama's deputy at Kishi in the rural neighborhood of Kinokawa."

    "The reason I appointed Nitama as a successor to Tama is that she had teaching experience from Tama directly," he said. "Tama was very mild and she seldom got angry, though she was strict with her subordinate Nitama."


  • 12

    The protege Yontama

    Cheezburger Image 9307802880
    Pin It

  • 13

    The legacy lives on

    Cheezburger Image 9307802624
    Pin It

  • 14

    An honorable legacy, indeed.

    Cheezburger Image 9307802368
    Pin It

    Certainly makes the world seem like a better place knowing these beautiful cats are at Japan train stations, respected for all their hard work. 

  • -
  • Vote
  • -
Share
Tweet
Stumble
Pin It
Email

Next on I Can Has Cheezburger?

17 Animal tweets That Made Us Laugh This Week (May 20, 2019)
Comments - Click to show - Click to hide