February 24, 2018

Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to commoner

05 September 2017, 09:21 | Frank Carlson

Japan's Princess Mako gets engaged to commoner; loses royal status as per monarchy law

Japanese princess gives up her royal status to marry a piano-loving commoner she fell for because of his 'bright smiles like the sun'

Princess Mako of Akishino is the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito from his second son, Prince Akishino.

With so few male members, the Japanese imperial family has heard calls for women to be allowed to inherit the throne or maintain their royal status in marriages to commoners.

Princess Mako - Japanese Emperor Akihito's oldest grandchild - said classmate Kei Komuro had won her heart with his "bright smiles and sincerity".

The 25-year-old is expected to announce her engagement to former university classmate Kei Komuro, who works at a law firm.

She said: "I was aware since my childhood that I'll leave my royal status once I marry". "Having a family still goes beyond my imagination, but I hope to make one that is warm, comfortable and filled with smiles", she said, while everyone went "aaaaah" again.

Princess Mako and Komuro said they have dated for around five years since speaking to each other for the first time at a 2012 explanatory meeting for those planning to study overseas.

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Their slow-burning relationship gave her time to learn that Komuro is 'a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart, ' Mako said. As she is a female, she will lose royal status as the law does not apply to royal males. Kei reportedly proposed to Mako back in 2013, but the princess's grandfather, Emperor Akihito, did not officially approve the engagement until September 3.

As per the report, the couple met five years ago while studying at the same university.

The news of their engagement was reported in May by the Japan Times and later confirmed by the Imperial Household Agency.

Over time, Princess Mako said she learned he is "a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart".

Mako's marriage will further shrink Japan's Imperial family, an aged and dwindling institution heading towards a huge generational gap. Because of her abdication, the princess will become the 8 member o the Imperial family to give up royal status in order to marry since World War II.

Prince Hisahito is now third in line to the throne after his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father Prince Akishino.

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