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Stationmaster cat dies in Oita after being hit by car

14 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Oita Prefecture’s Taketa isn’t the biggest town, with a population of only about 23,000 people. Still, even in a small community, the role of stationmaster is a prestigious position, and at Bungo Taketa Station, that position was held by a cat.

Technically, brown tabby Nya’s position was listed as “cat stationmaster,” and there was also a human stationmaster on staff. But since April of 2018, the kitty has been called “Staitonmaster Nya,” with rail operator JR Kyushu officially recognizing her status.

Screen-Shot-2021-06-.png

As to how Nya got her position, her connection to the station goes back some 10 years, when workers noticed the stray cat had taken to spending its nights on the premises. Rather than chase Nya off, they gave her a place to relax and sleep, and she could be seen greeting travelers or strolling the streets around the station, which JR Kyushu referred to as her “patrolling the neighborhood.” Eventually she got to be so well-known, and well-liked, that she was promoted to stationmaster.

Sadly, it seems that while out for a walk on June 8, Stationmaster Nya was struck by a car and suffered fatal injuries. A funeral service was held at the station the next morning, with a Buddhist priest setting up an altar and chanting prayers. Due to the continuing pandemic, attendance was limited to workers from the rail company and local tourism office (where Nya also held the position of honorary branch manager), but a temporary memorial table has been installed at the station, and the management is considering a more permanent monument to Stationmaster Nya.

Nya’s exact age was unknown, on account of her being a stray, but she was estimated to have been around 13, a fairly advanced age for a cat of her breed. All the same, the suddenness of her passing has deeply saddened her many fans. Tadamasa Hino, a JR Kyushu employee who just 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 people a year came to Bungo Taketa Station for the express purpose of seeing Stationmaster Nya, but the town’s grief is deeper than the loss of some tourism revenue. “I looked forward to seeing her every morning” said a local resident while shedding tears. In train-reliant Japan, many people have an emotional attachment to their station and their routines when using them, as it’s essentially a symbol of their community. With Stationmaster Nya’s position being a symbolic one, the trains will keep on running as reliably as they ever did, but for a lot of passengers, something very important is going to be missing.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun Digital, Oita Godo Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Rest in peace, Tama – Japan’s stationmaster cat passes away at 16, company funeral to be held

-- Welcome to Inami Station, where these adorable frogs keep you company as you wait for your train

-- East Japan Railway abolishes skirts, ribbons in women’s uniforms to “eliminate gender difference”

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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You'll pay for that, one day

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Rest In Peace, Nya-chan. - “Your watch has ended.” -

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Doesn’t read if it was an unintentional accident or a ‘hit & run’.

Certainly, in Japan, where all life and nature is universally held as ‘sacred’, the driver is now very remorseful.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Rip nyan nyan chan

should of not of been sleeping under the kuruma : (

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Certainly, in Japan, where all life and nature is universally held as ‘sacred’

not true at all....at least here in Tokyo, where stressed out drivers play with your life (tailgating your car/motorcycle) for absolutely no reason, multiple times a week, no respect for human life at all.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Tadamasa Hino, a JR Kyushu employee who just took over as Bungo Taketa’s human stationmaster in April, lamented “I was hoping to learn many things from my stationmaster senpai.”

It was a cat.

I presume he was speaking somewhat jokingly - but you can never be so sure with the cultural importance of 'senpai'.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Nice story. But these mangy rancid feral cats are a big problem at my local station. Sad people with no children feed them every evening. They are fat, lazy and lie in the middle of the road.

they should be out hunting poisonous snakes.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Stationmaster cat dies in Oita after being hit by car

Maybe the cat ran into the path of the car. I've seen it happen.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is probably going to be a hot article overseas, Nya had a lot of popularity the first time it was reported internationally and his death will no doubt be also of the interest of a lot of people.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm sorry to hear of the death of Stationmaster Nya, who as virusrex says was indeed famous overseas, or at least in my part of it. But the job still needs to be done. Advertise the position, conduct a rigorous interview process and in no time, voila! A successor. Let's not pussyfoot around with this, people.

In the meantime, I'd be interested to know what the selection criteria for the position might be. I know some cats who'd be willing to travel.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd never heard of this cat until now, but there was another fairly famous station master cat in Wakayama who died in 2015. Her name was Tama.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tama_(cat)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad news.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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