Princess Mako of Japan engaged to a commoner

"Together with Mr. Komuro, I would like to make a warm and peaceful family that is full of smiles", Princess Mako announced after the Emperor approved of their engagement during a ceremony Sunday morning.

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

"First I was attracted by his bright smiles like the sun".

In Japan, female members of imperial family have to lose their status upon choosing a commoner for marriage under a controversial rule, whereas male members are exempted from it.

"He is a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart". "I believe the two are going to build a wonderful family". "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".

Komuro proposed to Princess Mako in December 2013, saying, "Let's marry in the future".

Mako graduated from ICU in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Art and Cultural Heritage.

She also knows sign language and works with the deaf community alongside her mother.

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Although Komuro, 25, is not a royal, he was once dubbed the "Prince of the Sea".

Mr Komuro said he was so thankful and happy to have been accepted by her parents, and her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

The formal announcement came from Japan's Imperial Household Agency on Sunday, after local media reported news of the planned engagement in May. The announcement was originally scheduled for July, but the couple chose to postpone it in light of the torrential downpours in northern Kyushu earlier that month.

While the couple have officially announced their relationship, their engagement will become official only after a traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi takes place, Japan Times reports.

Emperor Akihito, 83, is planning on retiring from the royal throne in 2018.

Mako is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, the second son of the Emperor and second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after Prince Naruhito.

"I was aware since my childhood that I'll leave a royal status once I marry", she said at a student talk in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Prince Hisahito is now third in line to the throne after his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father Prince Akishino.


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