Japan’s Princess Ayako Chooses To Marry A Commoner

Japan’s Princess Ayako has become the second Japanese princess in two years, to announce she’s marrying a commoner, a move that will force her to renounce her royal status. Last year, her cousin Princess Mako’s gave up her title so she could marry her fiancé, Kei Komuro.

Japan’s Imperial Household Agency announced Tuesday that the third, and youngest, daughter of the late Prince Takamodo, cousin of Emperor Akihito, is set to marry Kei Moriya, a 32-year-old employee of shipping firm NYK Line.

The two met less than a year ago, will officially mark their engagement on August 12, and wed at Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu shrine on October 29.

Princess Ayako, who has a master’s degree in social welfare, was originally introduced to Moriya by her mother, Princess Takamodo, last December, according to the Imperial Household.

Princess Ayako is the third daughter of the late Prince Takamado and Princess Takamado also known as Princess Hisako and was the cousin of Emperor Akihito. According to the media reports given out by Japan Times, Princess Ayako had first met Moriya through her mother Princess Hisako. Moriya’s late mother was her longtime friend and she introduced the young couple in the hope that Princess Ayako might become interested in international welfare activities for children.

After Ayako and Moriya get married, the Japanese royal family will only consist of 17 members in the Imperial family. They now have only one unmarried male — 11-year-old Prince Hisahito, the only grandson of Emperor Akihito.