In Japan, which still hasn’t caught up to the U.S. rules on not spending taxpayer money on a hierarchy, the oldest princess had to make a choice this week between her family and her love. Princess Mako, the oldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, has chosen to marry a commoner. This means she must give up her crown and title, and go on living like a commoner.
Princess Mako says she met and fell in love with Kei Komuro, a legal assistant, 5 years ago on a trip. They are now 25, and reports say that Princess Mako has already introduced Komuro to her family, and they approve of the relationship.
The only problem is the marriage. For a woman in Japan, even in the royal family, this marriage means that Princess Mako must give up everything.
The Telegraph reports:
The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment, although a formal engagement announcement confirming the young couple’s plans to marry is expected to be made next month.
Princess Mako faces having to give up her imperial status and becoming a commoner when she marries Mr Komuro, most likely swapping a royal allowance for the right to vote and potentially pay taxes.
Her plans to marry a commoner also highlight the challenges facing the ever-shrinking imperial family and its future survival in the light of its sensitive, males-only succession law. There are currently only four heirs to the throne – Emperor Akihito’s two middle-aged sons, his 80-something brother and Princess Mako’s younger brother, 10-year-old Prince Hisahito.
The imperial family is already stepping into unchartered waters as a result of the 83-year-old emperor’s unprecedented plans to abdicate – the first such instance in the family in nearly two centuries.
Japan’s cabinet is expected to approve a one-off Bill tomorrow to permit the emperor to step down according to his wishes, following his pubic announcement last August that he feared age would impede his ability to fullfil his duties.