Japanese couple Hisashi Nishizawa and Mai Nakahara planned to wed in 2007 but a cruel twist of fate forced them to endure a very long engagement before they were able to finally tie the knot in 2014.
They initially scheduled their wedding to be in early 2007, but a tragedy struck that forced the hopeful groom, Nishizawa, to cancel all plans just three months shy of their big day.
Nakahara, the bride-to-be, had suddenly lost her short-term memory in late December 2006 and started making strange screeching sounds with her voice at night.
Unable to identify her condition nor the cause of her memory loss and strange behavior, the neurosurgery department placed her in a mental hospital. While in the hospital’s care, she fell into a coma after her heart and lungs temporarily stopped functioning. She was then sent to the Okayama University Hospital for further evaluation, reports Japan Bullet.
During Nakahara’s hospitalization, her parents had asked Nishizawa to look for a different woman but he refused. “I’ll wait” he often said.
After a few months, attending physicians postulated that Nakahara could be suffering from a disease called Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The condition reportedly causes the immune system, the body’s protection from bacteria, to attack brain functions.
The rare illness, which can appear in 0.33 people per 1 million people, is exhibited by hallucinations, weakened breathing, and the inability to show reactions. Soon after being given medical treatments, Nakahara started to show signs of improvement, including being able to react to voices.
Months turned to years and gradually, she regained some of her abilities. By 2011, she was already able to express her emotions and even write her name in kanji characters.
She was soon discharged from the hospital and her condition further improved at home, where she began to recognize members of her family. One person she could not recall, however, was Nishizawa, who she had noticed was always by her side. She reportedly wondered why he was there all the time.
Her memory of Nishizawa would later come back to her after seeing an old pocketbook with the words “wedding ceremony” and the date March 11, 2007, written on it. She finally realized who Nishizawa was in her life as the pocketbook also showed the days of her dates with him and their numerous photos together.
In June 2014, almost eight years after putting their ceremony on hold, the pair called their rented hall to reschedule their wedding.
“When I received the call, I couldn’t believe it. I was delighted, saying, ‘It’s a revival,’” wedding planner Ai Kubota was quoted as saying.
The wedding that almost never happened finally took place on December 21, 2014. Relatives, friends, and the hospital staff who took care of Nakahara were all there to witness their union.
“It would be unthinkable if only I returned to an ordinary life,” Nishizawa was later quoted as saying. “As I was seeing her recovering day by day, though little by little, I did not feel that eight years were that long.”
“I am so grateful. I want to make a happy family together,” Nakahara said.
Their wedding video touched netizens around the world:
Their incredible love story has resonated with people all over the world, and has been featured on Japanese TV, written into a book, and even turned into a movie.