Japan railway appoints cat as stationmaster
WAKAYAMA, JAPAN — A local Japanese railway, which mourned the death in June of a cat credited with rescuing it from financial difficulties by serving as a stationmaster, appointed another cat as its successor Tuesday, hoping the feline legacy will continue attracting passengers.
Wakayama Electric Railway Co issued a letter of appointment for Nitama, a five-year-old female cat, to become the master of Kishi station.
In Japan, a cat is used as a figure for Maneki-neko, or beckoning cat, a good luck charm bringing prosperity to shop owners.
Kishigawa Line had been losing passengers and on the edge of closure before Tama became the master of Kishi station in January 2007.
Her cuteness and the novelty of a cat stationmaster attracted tourists from in and out of Japan, and the success sparked a trend of appointing rabbits, cats, dogs and other animals as stationmasters among local railways across Japan.
The animals are kept at stations to delight passengers and tourists.
I've seen many a bureaucrat sitting behind a desk that resembled and acted like some animals, and were just about as productive. The real thing in most cases would be an improvement..