Connie Masuoka, Board President at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, remembers when this object was donated: “This family had bought a house and was remodeling it when they reached up into the rafters and discovered this drum hidden up there. You can see it was in beautiful condition. They could tell that there was Japanese writing on it, so they looked us up and said, we have this thing, can you help us with this and maybe try to get it back to whoever it belongs to? So they brought it down. We were able to read it and realized it belonged to Doc Nakadate, who is really well known in our community. And he comes down and he goes, yeah, that’s my drum. And we asked him if he would like to keep it but he wound up donating it back to the museum.”
She continues, “It was one of the first pieces we ever got in the collection and it allowed us to directly connect someone with their past. That’s what is amazing about being a community museum—we knew this person. Everybody knew him.”
When Doc Nakadate saw the drum, he remembered it from his childhood. He had no idea how it got up in the rafters of the house but was amazed to be reunited with it. During World War II, he was a medic with the 84th Airborne and moved his family to Chicago. Eventually he came back to Oregon and had a career as an anesthesiologist here.
The writing on the drum reads “November 1, 1916. Nakadate, Katsumi.” Katsumi Nakadate was born in Portland on Feb. 3, 1914.