In Japan, Tama the Cat is famous for being the “stationmaster” of Kishi Station. At Yeokgok Station in Bucheon, Da-haeng is known as the first cat stationmaster in Korea.
Da-haeng, a former stray with a friendly and calm nature, was adopted by Mr. Hangyun Kim, the actual stationmaster of Yeokgok. The cat had been injured in a mouse trap and was missing part of his paw, and Kim felt empathy because he had lost his legs in 2003 while saving a child who had fallen off the platform.
Numerous people visit Yeokgok Station, no matter how close or far they live, to visit Da-haeng. In Bucheon, many kids have become familiar with animals, especially stray cats, thanks to this cat.
Mrs. Noh, who visited Da-haeng’s office with her daughter, commented, “A lot of kindergarteners visit Da-haeng, and learn how precious and cute animals are. They also learn about the pain and sufferings of stray cats as they listen to Da-haeng’s story.”
She continued, “Not only young children, but also adults have changed their perspectives about stray cats. More adults have become to understand the difficulties of stray cats and feel compassion for them. Many people spare their time to visit Da-haeng and send presents, such as food or toys.”
The story of Da-haeng and Mr. Kim continues to inspire and touch people. Kim tells people how Da-haeng brought happiness to him, and hopes that people’s negative perspectives will continue to change until the social problems related to stray animals gradually disappear.