Earlier this year, Tama, the cat who singlehandedly saved Japan’s Kishi Station from crumbling, passed away, leaving behind a paw print on the hearts of those she touched with her presence, along with questions regarding who would take up her post. Today, the answer has been revealed: Nitama.
After an arduous search for the perfect successor for Tama, officials determined that Nitama, who had served as Tama’s right-hand cat, if you will, holding the title of Deputy Stationmaster Cat at Kishi, would be claiming the post as her own.
“The reason I appointed Nitama as a successor to Tama is that she had teaching experience from Tama directly,” Wakayama Electric Railway president Mitsunobu Kojima announced in a statement. “Tama was very mild and she seldom got angry, though she was strict with her subordinate Nitama.”
Five-year-old Nitama, a graduate of Cat Stationmaster Training School, was found in Okayama City as a kitten, cowering under a car on a rainy day. She was quickly adopted by the Okayama Electric Tramway, who placed her in the position of Stationmaster at Idakiso Station, where she remained until she was promoted to work as Tama’s Deputy at Kishi in 2012.
Though Nitama was a front-runner for the position given her laidback demeanor and attitude towards people, along with her willingness to wear a jaunty Stationmaster hat, Kojima did not want to make a final decision regarding the appointment until the customary 50 day mourning period since Tama’s death had passed, as per Shinto religion.
Before officially beginning her post, Nitama accompanied Kojima to the monument erected in Tama’s memory to pay her respects.
The monument, consisting of a bronze statue, rests alongside the tree “where Tama used to see cherry blossoms and can see the Kishi Station and trains.”
Cheers to much success in your new post Stationmaster Nitama!