Japan is the home of super cute & crazy, so it should be no big shock that they made a cat head of a train station. Tama had been living in a grocery store near the station where the owner Toshiko Koyama fed her & other stray cats. The store owner was the station master until the train line switched to unmanned stations in April 2006 to cut costs. With no where else to go Tama stayed at the station anyway.
In January 2007, railway officials decided to officially name Tama the station master. As station master her primary duty is to greet passengers. The position comes with a stationmaster’s hat; in lieu of a salary, the railway provides Tama with free cat food. Word got out about the new station master, and tourists now flock to Kinokawa to see Tama in her uniform, thus helping the financial crisis of the Kishigawa Line.
In January 2008, Tama received a promotion to “super-stationmaster” & was given an office & 2 assistants- Chibi & Miiko. An old ticket booth was converted into her office complete with a bed & litter box. As a result of her promotion, she is “the only female in a managerial position” in the company. There was a big promotion ceremony including the mayor & the Wakayama Electric Railway president.
It’s said that tama “works nine to five and takes Sundays off.” Tama commutes with Koyama, the grocery store operator, from a shed next to the station. As Koyama tells her, “Ms Stationmaster, it’s time to work,” Tama comes along to the station.
Scheduled for 2009, there will be an entire train car dedicated to Tama.
Also, posted today, Tama has been given the honorary title of Knight. The honorary title was bestowed upon Tama in recognition of his service to the Wakayama Electric Railroad and the 1.1 billion yen she has brought to the local economy (and because her station, Kishi, is also the Japanese word for “knight”).
Tama Videos (mostly in Japanese):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEI3m1vecj4 — Tama’s Train Car
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzboMUhG24U — Tama Gets Knighted
- Yahoo News
- Now Public
- Japan Probe
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=908 - Tama gets named Stationmaster
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1809 - Tama Fever hits Japan!
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=4389 - Tama merchandise sells!
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=5224 - Tama gets a new hat
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=6488 - Tama Makes ¥1.1 billion
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=6738 - Tama on the Clobert Report
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=6765 - Tama gets a train car!
- http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=6924 - Tama gets Knighted!