Tama the stationmaster, Japan's feline star of a struggling local railway, has been mourned by company officials and fans and elevated into a goddess at a funeral.
The calico cat was appointed stationmaster at the Kishi station in western Japan in 2007. In her custom-made stationmaster's cap and a jacket, Tama quietly sat at the ticket gate welcoming and seeing off passengers. She quickly attracted tourists and became world-famous, contributing to the railway company and local economy.
Tama died of a heart failure on June 22. During Sunday's Shinto-style funeral at the station where it served, the cat was made a goddess.
Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima thanked the cat for its achievement, and said Tama will be enshrined at a nearby cat shrine next month.