By Chaimae Boulifa
By Chaimae Boulifa
Rabat – Like old myths or classic romance movies, in which princesses and women in the aristocracy make major sacrifices in the name of love, the real-life Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, is giving up her royal family title to marry a “commoner.”
The unexpected decision has been making the rounds on social media after the princess held a press conference Sept. 3 to officially confirm her engagement to Kei Komuro, who works as a paralegal at Tokyo law firm, according to the Japanese news outlet Japan Times.
As under the Japanese law, women must leave the imperial family after marrying a commoner, the 25-year-old princess will relinquish her royal status, having received the 83-year-old Emperor Akihito’s approval.
“I was aware since my childhood that I’ll leave a royal status once I marry,” Princess Mako told reporters at the press conference. “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.”
The couple met while studying at Tokyo’s International Christian University in 2012, where the princess was first attracted to her fiancé Komuro’s bright smiles that “seemed like the sun,” she said at the news conference in Tokyo’s Akasaka district.
“It would be nice to have a warm and comfortable household with Mr. Komuro, so that we can make a family full of smiles,” she added.
In a romantic response, Komuro stated that Princess Mako “has been quietly watching over me like the moon.”
While the couple’s wedding ceremony is planned for next year, when the emperor is expected to abdicate his responsibility to his elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito.
The Princess Mako’s father is the second in line for Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne, followed by his 10-year-old son, Hisahito of Akishin, the only family member left in the line of royal succession.
Princess Mako is not the only female member of the imperial family who has decided to leave the Imperial House for marriage.
In 2014, Princess Noriko, the second daughter of the Emperor Akihito’s cousin, married 41-year-old Kunimaro Senge, while in 2005, Princess Nori, Princess Mako’s aunt, married the 40-year-old urban planner Yoshiki Kuroda, leading to revived concerns for the future of the monarchy and debate about the current laws regarding royal succession.