Tama, wearing her stationmaster's
is a calico cat who is the station master at Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Tama wears a decoration of "Wakayama
de knight" given by Governor of Wakayama
In April 2006, the Wakayama
converted all stations on the Kishigawa Line
from manned to unmanned in an
effort to cut costs. Station masters were selected from employees
of local businesses near each station. For Kishi station, Toshiko
Koyama, the neighborhood grocer, was selected as station master.
Koyama had adopted Tama and other stray cats, and he fed them at
In January 2007, railway officials decided to officially name Tama
the station master. As station master her primary duty is to greet
passengers. The position comes with a stationmaster's hat; in lieu
of a salary, the railway provides Tama with free cat food.
Kishi Station in Kinokawa
The publicity from Tama's appointment led to an increase in
by 17% for that
month as compared to January 2006; ridership statistics for March
2007 showed a 10% increase over the previous financial year. A
study has estimated that the publicity surrounding Tama has
contributed 1.1 billion Yen
local economy. In January 2008, Tama was promoted to "super station
master" in a ceremony attended by the president of the company and
the mayor; as a result of her promotion, she is "the only female in
a managerial position" in the company. Her new position has an
"office"—a converted ticket booth
containing a litter box
Her staff consists of two feline assistant stationmasters, and an
orange tabby cat
named .Tama appeared in a
documentary about cats titled La Voie du chat
in German by Italian filmmaker Myriam
Tonelotto, broadcast on European TV channel ARTE
in April 2009.
Kishigawa Line announced that it was releasing a new "Tama Densha"
train that was customized with cartoon depictions of Tama. It began
running in spring 2009.
2270 series EMU in "Tama Densha"
colour scheme, April 2009