Wakayama Electric Railway President, Mitsunobu Kojima

Our days of single-minded prayers without thinking of the issue of succession continued until August 10th, 2015, the day of our memorial Shinto service in memory of 50 days after Tama passed away. Thinking of such issue brought back vivid memories of our enjoyable days together and I immediately refrained – as it was too painful.

Firstly, on August 11th, after our 50th day memorial service, Tama was promoted as ‘Tama Daimyojin (Goddess)’ and we built a monument in commemoration. We became determined to build a monument for Tama on the day of the funeral, and thus started looking for stones around the Kishi Riversides where Tama was born and brought up. Together with our executives, we found the perfect stone for the monument and its base. As it was my strong desire to write the message myself, I ardently scripted our message, which was then carved carefully by the sculpturer. The monument was placed beside the ‘Neko-sha(Cat Shrine)’ and Neko-sha was hence renovated as the ‘Tama Shrine’ .

Furthermore, at the Tama Shrine, we placed a dear bronze statue reminiscent of our days with Tama. The shrine and monument were placed beside the cherry blossom tree where Tama spent much time viewing the flowers, where in addition, Kishi Station and the trains can be seen.

At Tama’s funeral, it became evident that Tama’s presence went a long way beyond being the symbol of revitalization of Wakayama Electric Railway and the formulation of the Act to Protect regional public transport. For example, Tama played a role in mentally supporting Daisuke Takahashi (Figure Skater, medalist of the Vancouver Olympic Games), inspiring the recovery from school absenteeism and severe social withdrawal, and even played a role in tying the knot of a couple whom met at Tama’s circle activity. There were many more stories to be shared which we believe explains the large turnout of the funeral (3,000 attendees). Tama has soothed the souls of many across the world and Distinct Eternal Stationmaster Tama will serve not only as a Guardian for our Local Public Transport but also act as a healing spot.

As successor to Tama, we appointed Nitama, thus being given the name ‘Tama 2nd Station Master’ or more casually, ‘Nitama’. This succession was the natural course – but actually, we had another candidate; Sun Tama-Tama (Female, 2 years old), who works as a deputy of the director of Wakayama support place at Okayama Electric Tramway.

Nitama was one of the members of the first graduating class of the ‘Training school for Cat Stationmasters’ and did diligently and therefore was transferred from Okayama to Wakayama Electric Railway. Sun Tama-Tama, one of the members of the fourth graduating class also did well- scoring above the middle of the class. What we call the ‘Training school for Cat Stationmasters’ includes no compulsory training programs. Instead, we look for how comfortable they are being surrounded by colleagues, whether they enjoy their work, and whether they are not reluctant to wear a hat.

Our main reasons for appointing Nitama were that she had directteaching experiences from Tama, has been working as a deputy of Kishi Station Master, and last but not least, she also has many fond fans.

Nitama’s background is as follows – One rainy day in Okayama City in 2010, she was nearly was nearly run over by a car on the Highway 53 of Tsudaka, Kita-ku, Okayama City. Rescued by a woman who found a cat covered in mud soon found out that the cat was a Calico (same as Tama), so she asked Okayama Electric tramway take care of Nitama.

Nitama, as mentioned earlier was one of the first graduating members of the ‘Training school for Cat Stationmaster’ and graduated with excellence. Her first workplace was Okayama Electric Tramway as a receptionist. In January 2012, Nitama changed her workplace and started to support Tama Station Master at Walayama Electric Railway as Tama was already starting to grow old. Ever since, she as worked as a Station master at Idakiso Station and Deputy of Station Master at Kishi station. Nitama is now 5 years old (36 years old as a human being), and is a beautiful cat of marriageable age.

Tama was very mild and she rarely showed anger, but there was an exception with Nitama – acting strictly, maybe foreseeing the future.

‘Tama 2nd Station Master,’ under the inspiration of Tama will soon become an excellent station master. Together with Distinct Eternal Stationmaster Tama, she will warmly watch over Wakayama Electric Railway and local public transport systems across the world.

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Wakayama Electric Railway