Japan’s Princess Mako Will Give Up Her Royal Status to Marry a Commoner
Japan’s Princess Mako is set to give up her royal title in order to marry a commoner. The Imperial Palace told CNN of her intention last spring, while the official announcement of their engagement was made this past weekend.
Princess Mako met Kei Komuro while the two were students at Tokyo’s International Christian University. Currently, Komuro works as a paralegal at a law firm, although he once memorably appeared in a tourism campaign in which he played the “Prince of the Sea.”
Nevertheless, because Komuro is not an actual prince, Princess Mako must give up her royal status in order to marry him. This is true of all female members of the imperial royal family, although women cannot ultimately inherit Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne. Because of this, Princess Mako has never been part of the order of succession. Her father, Prince Akishino, is the brother of Crown Prince Naruhito. Prince Akishino is currently second in line to the throne, as Prince Naruhito has only one daughter. Prince Hisahito, Princess Mako’s younger brother, is third in the order of succession. Before 1947, female members of the imperial family did not have to leave the royal family after they married and they could inherit the throne.
The last female member of the imperial family to marry, thereby giving up her royal status, was Princess Mako’s aunt, Sayako, formerly known as Princess Nori. Across Japan, news of the impending engagement raised concerns for the future of the monarchy and revived debate about the current law. Komuro, when asked about the news by reporters, said, “I would like to talk about it when the time comes.”