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Fife History Museum reconnects family to birthplace

// Japanese family visits grandfather’s birthplace in Fife they only saw in 1920s photos

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It started out as just another day at the Fife History Museum, but it certainly didn’t end that way.
On June 11, Fife Historical Society welcomed a visit by the descendants of Masakazu Nakashima, who was born in Fife in 1918. In the mid-1920s however, many of his family returned to Japan. The family wants to now connect with family members who decided to remain in Washington almost 100 years ago.
“The reason for visiting Fife is very important for our family,” said Hideo Nakashima.
Masakazu’s son, Kazuhiro Nakashima, brought his wife, Michiko, and their two sons, Eiji and Hideo, to Fife to learn more about this unique piece of their family heritage. Hideo was the main interpreter between his family and museum staff.
“Hideo mentioned that his father would be bringing some old photos, but when we actually saw what they were of, we were stunned to see what we believe is the earliest known photo of the Fife Fountain,” Fife History Museum Managing Director Julie Watts recalled. “It is incredible that these photos have been in a photo album across the world for decades, and then one day they literally just showed up on our doorstep. It still gives me chills to think about.”
The Fife Historical Society and the Nakashima family were able to determine the location of the home where their ancestor was born. It was, for all intents and purposes, where the Fife Dairy Queen now sits.
“At that time, the stretch of 54th between Valley and 20th was called McAleer Road. We hopped in the car and drove over there and were able to take some photos,” Watts said. “It was so special to be able to assist the Nakashimas by filling in this piece of the puzzle.”