Stationmaster cat dies in Japan after being hit by car -- Jun 12
Locals heartbroken after sudden death of Kyushu’s Stationmaster Nya.

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.

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 Tuesday night, 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.