A cat clock with ears and whiskers is seen at Wakayama Station in Wakayama City, western Japan on October 14, 2021. (Mainichi / Ryota Hashimoto)



Cat Nitama Station Master and Wakayama Electric Railway Co. Chairman Mitsunobu Kojima are seen under a cat clock with ears and mustaches in Wakayama city, western Japan, October 14, 2021. (Mainichi / Ryota Hashimoto)

WAKAYAMA – A station in western Japan unveiled its new cat-themed clock filled with black and brown pointed ears and white mustaches, in a design inspired by its feline station master.

The clock is designed to resemble the calico cat Nitama, the “super station master” in charge of all stations on the Kishigawa Line of the Wakayama Electric Railway Co. It was unveiled at Wakayama Station on October 14, “Railroad Day” in Japan. According to Wakayama Electric Railway, it is rare for a station platform clock to be designed based on a cat.

In July, a group of residents and others working to preserve the Kishigawa Line donated a round clock with a diameter of 70 centimeters to celebrate the line’s 15th anniversary since operations began. Wakayama Electric Railway chairman Mitsunobu Kojima, 76, thought the clock would be “cuter with ears and mustaches,” and this recent project brought his idea to life.

Among the participants in the unveiling ceremony held on the platform of Wakayama station were President Kojima and Cats station master Nitama, whom the prefecture named “Knight” in August for his contribution to the transmission of the charms of Wakayama throughout Japan.

President Kojima commented, “I think there are people who feel depressed in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. I hope that looking at the clock makes them feel happier and lighter.”

Starting October 14 at Idakiso station and other locations, the train operator also sold a limited series of 500 admission ticket packages containing editions for all 14 stations and a plastic folder with a image of Nitama, to commemorate “knight’s title”.

On the same day, it was also announced that the Tama Densha Museum train which was under renovation will enter service on December 4. About 18.89 million yen (about $ 165,000) was crowdfunded between February and May 2021 for the expenses of renovating the Omocha Densha train to the Tama Densha Museum train.

(Japanese original by Ryota Hashimoto, Wakayama Bureau)