Japanese businessman reunites with elusive Singapore girl after 40 years

Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua 40 years ago.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua 40 years ago. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda (front row, left), Ms Yvonne Chua (front row, centre) and her family met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years. On the right of Ms Chua is her husband.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda (front row, left), Ms Yvonne Chua (front row, centre) and her family met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years. On the right of Ms Chua is her husband.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.
Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne Chua met on Oct 16, 2016 after 40 years.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - After a chance meeting in Singapore, Japanese businessman Seiichiro Isoda nursed a crush for a Singapore girl for 40 years.

On Sunday (Oct 16), he finally reunited with the girl of his dreams - Ms Yvonne Chua, now 58.

When he was 15 years old, Mr Isoda, who is now married and heads a multinational company, had come to Singapore with his parents. The family stayed at the then Novotel Apollo Singapore, where Ms Chua worked.

After graduating from university, he came back to Singapore to work for six years, and tried to look for his teenage crush.

He had a photo with her but did not even know her name.

Now after 40 years, Mr Isoda, now 55 and married, approached Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao two weeks ago, which published the photo and Mr Isoda's request to meet Ms Chua.


Mr Seiichiro Isoda (left) and Ms Yvonne Chua pose for a photograph on Oct 16, 2016. The picture in the foreground shows Mr Seiichiro Isoda and Ms Yvonne in 1976. 

Ms Chua's family persuaded her to respond, and her daughter, Wong Xin Pei, 25, responded to Wanbao's article.

Seven members of Ms Chua's family, including her husband turned up to meet Mr Isoda on Oct 16.

They met at the same hotel, now named the Furama RiverFront Hotel.

Mr Isoda recognised Ms Chua immediately and they spent two hours telling each other about their lives, Wanbao said.

"I was very surprised, I've changed so much but he could tell it was me," Ms Chua, now the CEO of a logistics firm, told Wanbao.

She still remembers Mr Isoda, she said, as it was her first job and he was the only guest at the hotel to ask to take a photo with her.

Mr Isoda said that friends advised him to let the crush remain a beautiful memory, but he could not let it go.

"I have too much I wanted to know, and to tell her," he said.

Ms Chua's daughter told Wanbao that she knew her mother was beautiful when she was young, but never guessed that someone would hold a torch for her for 40 years.

"Mum told us how she had many suitors in the past, but we thought they were just stories," Ms Wong said.

Ms Chua now has two daughters, a son and three grandchildren.