Woman rejected for disabled father finally finds love

By Pham Nga   August 30, 2023 | 12:16 am PT
Woman rejected for disabled father finally finds love
Minh Tam in tears as she is led down the aisle by her father (in black). Photo courtesy of Tam
After enduring several heartbreaks with romantic partners who couldn’t accept dating a woman with a deaf and mute father, Minh Tam thought that she would never be able to marry.

But everything changed for the 23-year-old woman from Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province when she met Shutaro Kawamoto, a 33-year-old Japanese man who met her on a Vietnam business trip two years ago.

The couple’s wedding earlier this month, which included the full participation of Shutaro’s family, wiped away Tam’s sadness.

During the ceremony, the bride’s father Hoang Van Tinh slowly led his daughter down the aisle. At the altar, he hugged both his daughter and son in law.

"I finally found my happiness, and now my parents don’t have to worry about my love life anymore," Tam says.

Their love story unexpectedly began at the end of 2021. Tam was a university student working at a shopping mall in Hanoi where Shutaro saw her for the first time.

"I thought she was also Japanese because of her petite height, appearance, and clothing style," Shutaro says.
Shutaro was intrigued enough by Tam that he visited her store to buy a tub of bath salts from her that he didn’t want or need. He then asked for her phone number.

They began texting each other in English with the help of translation tools. From there, they were able to get to know each other and they then began hanging out with each other at popular spots in Hanoi. "He’s very nice, kind, and doesn’t joke around," Tam says about her partner.

Minh Tam and her husband during a yearbook photo session at her university, 2022. Photo courtesy of Minh Tam

Minh Tam and her husband during a yearbook photo session at her university, 2022. Photo courtesy of Minh Tam

Though her English is not excellent, and there have been many miscommunications between the lovebirds, Tam says Shutaro is still patient with her and helps her correct her mistakes and learn more English.

"I can be patient with her because I like Minh Tam’s personality," Shutaro says. "She’s straightforward and energetic, and she’s always happy and carefree."

But as their feelings for each other deepened, Tam could avoid the worries plaguing her mind. Her father and an uncle were born deaf and mute, an effect of her grandfather’s Agent Orange poisoning while on the battlefield.

From a young age, Tam was bullied and ostracized for being the daughter of a man who is deaf and nonspeaking. The people in her neighborhood would call her father’s barbershop "the deaf’s shop" or "deaf Tinh’s shop."

Minh Tam is proud of her resilient father, but she could not avoid the trouble prejudiced views of his condition brought to finding a husband. She had several relationships, but they all fell apart when the boyfriend’s family found out that her father suffered an after-effect from Agent Orange.

"It’s because many of my relationships failed due to that reason that I wanted to be straightforward with Shutaro from the beginning, to avoid the possibility of the both of us going further and ending up disappointed," she says.

She told Shutaro about her family with her limited English. As opposed to what Tam imagined, he hugged her with tears on his cheeks.

"People should’ve admired your father for being able to help his family become prosperous even with his disability," Shutaro told her. After knowing her story, he decided he wanted to do his best to protect Tam and her family.

Minh Tam’s mother Vu Thi Thanh, 49, says she was also always worried about how difficult it would be for her daughter to start a family in the future.

"Tam and I would always come clean about our family after getting to know a guy for 2-3 days. Whenever I saw that he wouldn’t be able to accept the truth, I advised her to break up with him, because even if they tried to be together, they wouldn’t be happy," Thanh says.

But the moment her daughter brought Shutaro home, Thanh knew that Tam had found her lifelong partner. "Not only did Shu accept her, but his family was also supportive, so we were all very excited," Thanh says.

She says that it’s hard to predict the future, but she believed that at the moment Tam was truly happy, especially when she saw how Shutaro loved and dotes on her daughter. Furthermore, her worries were assuaged when it became evident that his family was open-minded.

The groom’s family in uniform during the wedding. Photo courtesy of Minh Tam

The groom’s family in uniform during the wedding. Photo courtesy of Minh Tam

At the wedding, guests were teary-eyed as the bride’s father walked her down the aisle. But then they were also pleasantly surprised by a performance from the groom’s family. Eight people, including Shutaro’s parents, took to the stage wearing matching shirts featuring a picture of the couple, and performed a charming song and dance routine.

Shutaro and Tam are currently enjoying their honeymoon at his hometown in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. After that, they plan to settle in Vietnam long-term.

go to top