Published: Mon, September 04, 2017
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to commoner

Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to commoner

In a press conference on Sunday, she said she was first attracted to Kei Komuro's "smile like the sun".

A series of related rituals, including a betrothal ceremony known as "Nosai no Gi", will be carried out before the couple's wedding, which is expected to take place in autumn next year at the earliest.

The 25-year-olds said their relationship, which was first reported in May, started when they met at a university campus meeting five years ago. They graduated from the university in 2014.

The two met during their freshman year and became close in 2012 when they took part in an orientation session for study overseas programs.

"We were far from each other for a long period of time, but we continued contacting each other, and deepened our relationship", Komuro said.

Asked about the proposal, Komuro said, "I said to her, "Let's get married" in December 2013".

"I was aware since my childhood that I'll leave a royal status once I marry", Princess Mako said.

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The marriage could also reopen debate on the law that has been governing the royal household since 1947 that doesn't recognise the so-called collateral institutional branches, resulting in women who marry out of royalty to lose their royal status.

"Having a family still goes beyond my imagination, but I hope to make one that is warm, comfortable and filled with smiles".

Mr Komuro said he was so thankful and happy to have been accepted by her parents, and her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He is the eldest son of Toshikatsu Komuro, a former employee of the Yokohama city government, who died in 2002, and his wife Kayo, 51.

The elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko is a popular figure in Japan, with Wikipedia describing her as "something of an internet idol since 2004" largely thanks to her fashion choices.

According to Yamamoto, the Emperor and Empress appeared to be feeling deeply impressed.

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro addressed the press together for the first time on Sunday.

Mako has since introduced him to her parents, Prince Akishino, second in line to the Chrysanthemum throne, and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to "share her future with". But due to the unfortunate torrential rain that flooded northern Kyushu that month, the royal family chose to postpone the announcement. The princess attended the University of Edinburgh, while Komuro, 25, attended the University of California.

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