Ultra Stationmaster Tama of Kishi Station on the Wakayama Electric Railway in Japan has passed away on the 22 June 2015 at the age of 16, which is about 80 human years.
Tama was the first feline stationmaster in the world. When the Wakayama Electric Railway was nearing bankruptcy, the line was slowly converted to an unmanned system which put many people out of job. When the railway company decided to make Tama the station master of Kishi station, she brought in more than JPY 1.1 billion worth of revenue from ticket sales and souvenirs, and boosted the economy in the town including a strawberry farm.
Tama’s influence became world-famous, starring in television commercials and programmes, and even inspiring a Tama-themed train. Her station was also renovated to a cat-theme with a souvenir shop, cafe and a personal cat-friendly office.
Tama was also the first female in a railway company to hold an executive position. She is succeeded by Nitama, also a calico cat, current station master of Idakiso station on the same line.
Nitama now works at Kishi station, and the working schedule can be found here.