Japanese Princess Ayako set to give up royal status to follow her heart and marry the man she loves

Princess Ayako becomes the second princess of the Japanese royalty to marry a commoner and, as required by the law, give away her royal status

                            Japanese Princess Ayako set to give up royal status to follow her heart and marry the man she loves
(Source:Getty Images)

Japanese Princess Ayako becomes the second Japanese princess in two years to marry a commoner. An announcement made by the Imperial Household Agency stated that the third and the youngest daughter of Princess Hisako and the late Prince Takamodo (cousin of Emperor Akihito) is set to marry the 32-year-old businessman Kei Moriya.

However, Princess Ayako's marriage would require her to give up her royal title. The couple will be officially engaged on August 12 in a traditional court ceremony. More details about the couple's relationship will be made available at a press conference which is to be held next Monday. The couple met last December.

Kei Moriya is a 32-year-old employee who works for the shipping firm Nippon Yusen KK. He graduated from Keio University. The princess, as a graduate of the Josai International University in Chiba Prefecture, received her master's degree in 2016. She works as a research fellow at the Faculty of Social Work Studies and is known for her interest in soccer and skiing. She is also a qualified childminder.

Ayako's sister Princess Noriko married Kunimaro Senge, who is the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo Taisha, in 2014. According to KyodoNews, Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, was supposed to be engaged to Kei Komuro, a commoner, but their wedding was postponed to 2020 due to "lack of preparation". 

According to JapanTimes, the Imperial House Law states that a female member of the royal family will lose her status of royalty once she is married to a commoner. The marriages of the two princesses have reduced the number of Imperial family members to 17, while the number of female members drops down to 12. The events might reignite public debate over the revision of the Imperial House Law which only allows male successors to take over the throne. What is believed to be the oldest monarchy in the world has only one unmarried male left, the 11-year-old grandson of Emperor Akihito, Prince Hisahito, and it is a matter of concern as the sustainability of the male-only succession tradition of the monarchy is now at stake. 

In June last year, the National Diet passed a law which would allow the 84-year-old emperor to abdicate his Chrysanthemum throne in case he cites any concern over his health. While it is reported that the law will probably only affect the Emperor, there are concerns that such a law might damage the emperor's stand in the country. According to this special law, the Emperor is supposed to abdicate on April 30, 2019, as his elder son Crown Prince Naruhito will take over the throne. The last time a Japanese emperor abdicated was in 1817.