Japanese Princess gives up royal status to marry

Japanese Emperor Akihito's oldest grandchild, Princess Mako, has said she is getting married to a university classmate who won her heart with bright smiles and sincerity.

Komuro said they kept in touch even though they were physically far from each other.

"I was first attracted to his bright smiles that seemed like the sun", she blushed.

The Imperial House Law states that female members of the Imperial family must renounce their royal status upon marriage to a commoner.

Koji Watanabe, 75, vice chairman of the Japan Tennis Association, for which the princess serves as honorary patron, said he vividly remembers her honest attitude toward official duties, such as watching tennis games for long hours, and always listening to briefings by officials of the association in a respectful manner.

"I would like to have a family that is always calm and peaceful".

Mako's renouncement of royal status will make her the 8th member of the Imperial family to renounce status in order to marry since World War II. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfil duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life".

Mr Komuro proposed to Princess Mako after dinner one evening in December 2013.

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Mako graduated from ICU in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Art and Cultural Heritage. She now works as a researcher at a museum at the University of Tokyo. Princess Mako has a master's degree from the UK's University of Leicester and is now a researcher at a museum.

Komuro served as a "Prince of the Sea" for the tourism promotion campaign while Kamano acted as a "Queen of the Sea".

The news of their engagement was reported in May by the Japan Times and later confirmed by the Imperial Household Agency. This is called the traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi.

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".

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

Tatsuya Sasaki, 63, who had his house washed away following heavy rain that hit Iwaizumi in northeastern Japan's Iwate Prefecture in late August 2016, said he remembers the princess being a "friendly" person who played with children when she visited the disaster site last October.

Mako, 25, is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, Akihito's second son.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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