Japanese princess confirms she will give up royal title for love

Princess Mako the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko will forsake her royalty to marry fiancé Kei Komuro a commoner she met at International Christian University in Tokyo

Princess Mako, Japanese Emperor Akihito's oldest grandchild, announced Sunday that she will leave the royal family to marry her former university classmate.

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

"First I was attracted by his bright smile", Mako said, according to The Telegraph.

Princess Mako of Akishino has officially announced that she will be abandoning her royal status to marry for love. The royal family last wedding ceremony saw Princess Noriko of the Imperial family marry Kunimaro Senge, the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo Taisha, a Shinto shrine.

Koji Watanabe, 75, vice chairman of the Japan Tennis Association, for which the princess serves as honorary patron, said he vividly remembers her honest attitude toward official duties, such as watching tennis games for long hours, and always listening to briefings by officials of the association in a respectful manner. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfill duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life". He proposed in December 2013, telling her, "Let's get married in the future".

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

Komuro is now working in a law firm while studying business law at Hitotsubashi University.

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The couple had a long-distance relationship while studying overseas - Mako in Britain and Komuro in the United States - for one year.

The Imperial Household Agency first said there were plans underway for the couple's engagement. She is pursuing a doctorate and works as a museum researcher.

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

But the announcement was postponed because heavy rain and flooding hit the northern part of the Kyushu region in early July, with Princess Mako and Komuro worrying about the situation in areas afflicted by the disaster and feeling sympathy for affected people. This is called the traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi.

The couple is expected to tie the knot in the same year Emperor Akihito will relinquish the throne.

On Sunday evening, Princess Mako and Komuro were slated to have a dinner with Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko and Komuro's mother at the residence of the young princess' parents in the Akasaka estate.

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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