Oita Prefecture’s Taketa isn’t the most important city, with a inhabitants of solely about 23,000 individuals. Still, even in a small neighborhood, the position of stationmaster is a prestigious place, and at Bungo Taketa Station, that place was held by a cat.
Technically, brown tabby Nya’s place was listed as “cat stationmaster,” and there was additionally a human stationmaster on workers. But since April of 2018, the kitty has been known as “Staitonmaster Nya,” with rail operator JR Kyushu formally recognizing her standing.
As to how Nya received her place, her connection to the station goes again some 10 years, when staff seen the stray cat had taken to spending its nights on the premises. Rather than chase Nya off, they gave her a spot to calm down and sleep, and she or he may very well be seen greeting vacationers or strolling the streets across the station, which JR Kyushu known as her “patrolling the neighborhood.” Eventually she received to be so well-known, and well-liked, that she was promoted to stationmaster.
Sadly, it appears that evidently whereas out for a stroll on June 8, Stationmaster Nya was struck by a automotive and suffered deadly accidents. A funeral service was held on the station the following morning, with a Buddhist priest establishing an altar and chanting prayers. Due to the persevering with pandemic, attendance was restricted to staff from the rail firm and native tourism workplace (the place Nya additionally held the place of honorary department supervisor), however a short lived memorial desk has been put in on the station, and the administration is contemplating a extra everlasting monument to Stationmaster Nya.
Nya’s actual age was unknown, on account of her being a stray, however she was estimated to have been round 13, a reasonably superior age for a cat of her breed. All the identical, the suddenness of her passing has deeply saddened her many followers. Tadamasa Hino, a JR Kyushu worker who simply took over as Bungo Taketa’s human stationmaster in April, lamented “I was hoping to learn many things from my stationmaster senpai.”
It’s estimated that as many as 7,000 individuals a yr got here to Bungo Taketa Station for the specific objective of seeing Stationmaster Nya, however the city’s grief is deeper than the lack of some tourism income. “I looked forward to seeing her every morning” mentioned an area resident whereas shedding tears. In train-reliant Japan, many individuals have an emotional attachment to their station and their routines when utilizing them, because it’s primarily a logo of their neighborhood. With Stationmaster Nya’s place being a symbolic one, the trains will carry on operating as reliably as they ever did, however for lots of passengers, one thing crucial goes to be lacking.
Sources: Asahi Shimbun Digital, Oita Godo Shimbun
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