Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to university classmate, will relinquish royal status

Javier Stokes
September 5, 2017

Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, has expressed a desire to abdicate and is expected to do so in late 2018.

Mako and her fiancé Kei Komuro, both 25, shared in a news conference the origin of their love story: the moment the princess sat behind the jazz piano-loving legal assistant in class five years ago.

A JAPANESE princess has announced she will ditch her royal status to marry a "commoner" she met at university. "I would like to have a family that is always calm and peaceful", he added.

The Princess revealed that she met Komuro in a University in Tokyo during her freshman year. Princess Mako has a master's degree from the UK's University of Leicester and is now a researcher at a museum.

The engagement to Kei Komuro, who works in a Tokyo law office, comes after Japanese lawmakers in June approved a bill to allow Akihito to step down, the first abdication by a Japanese monarch since 1817.

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Princess Mako will be abandoning her royal status to marry a commoner.

Komuro, also 25, an employee at a law firm in Tokyo, said that he proposed to Princess Mako while they were taking a walk after having a meal together in the capital in December 2013. Speaking to the media, Komuro described the princess as someone who quietly watched over him "like the moon".

According to The Japanese Times, The Japanese Imperial royal family now has 18 male members, but only one of them, Princess Mako's brother, 10-year-old Prince Hisahito, is under the age of 50.

Mako said she introduced Kumro to her parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to "share her future with", but while the announcement means there is a wedding to plan, it also means the princess will have to leave the royal family. But due to the unfortunate torrential rain that flooded northern Kyushu that month, the royal family chose to postpone the announcement. Japan's Imperiale family was started with wartime emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) and Empress Nagako (1903-2000).

Mako and Komuro graduated from International Christian University. The other three are her younger sister, Kako, her brother, Hisahito, and Crown Prince Naruhito's daughter, Aiko.

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