Japan's Princes Mako announces engagement to commoner giving up royal status

Japan's Princes Mako announces engagement to commoner giving up royal status

Nobuyasu Sato, who was Komuro's homeroom teacher when he was a fifth and sixth grader at an elementary school affiliated with Kunitachi College of Music, said Komuro was a "tender-hearted child" and that his caring attitude to the princess at the couple's press conference showed that his nature has not changed. The royal family last wedding ceremony saw Princess Noriko of the Imperial family marry Kunimaro Senge, the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo Taisha, a Shinto shrine.

But the celebratory mood was soured by North Korea's sixth nuclear test the same day, with Imperial Household Agency officials and the couple's acquaintances expressing displeasure that the detonation coincided with the auspicious occasion.

Princess Mako (right) is engaged to Kei Komuro (left).

Tokyo's International Christian University classmate is claimed to have impressed Japanese Emperor Akihito's oldest grandchild, Princess Mako with his "bright smile" and "sincerity". Article 12 of the Imperial House Law stipulates that a woman in the Imperial Family shall lose her status in the family if she marries a person outside the family.

Mr Komuro proposed to Princess Mako after dinner one evening in December 2013. During the program, Komuro went to the University of California in Los Angeles, while Princess Mako studied at the University of Edinburgh.

She also said her love is "a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart".

Princess Mako has a master's degree in art museum and gallery studies and is a researcher at a museum at the University of Tokyo. The announcement was originally scheduled for July, but the couple made a decision to postpone it in light of the torrential downpours in northern Kyushu earlier that month.

Mako's fiancé works at a law firm.

Princess Mako's engagement is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, after which an official date will be set. Once she relinquishes her royal status, the Imperial family to just 18 members, already including the emperor.

Princess Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, is expected to abdicate next year - Japan's first abdication in two centuries.

Komuro, 25, added that he is also thankful to Mako's parents, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, as well as many others for warmly allowing their courtship over the years.

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