Japan: Tourist-magnet cat, stationmaster Tama elevated into a goddess at funeral

ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOKYO
Published 28.06.2015 15:41
People pray in front of an altar especially set up for a funeral of Tama, a cat stationmaster, in Kinokawa City, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, Sunday, June 28, 2015 (AP Photo)
People pray in front of an altar especially set up for a funeral of Tama, a cat stationmaster, in Kinokawa City, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, Sunday, June 28, 2015 (AP Photo)

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.

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