Princess Mako, Komuro met in 2012 at discussion on overseas study

Japan princess announces engagement with commoner

With her marriage to commoner Kei Komuro, Princess Mako eldest grandchild to Emperor Akihito, and eldest child to Prince Akishino; will renounce her status as a member of the Imperial Family.

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

At a news conference, Princess Mako said: 'First I was attracted by his bright smiles like the sun'.

A Japanese princess has confirmed she will marry her "commoner" boyfriend, thereby relinquishing her status as a member of the royal family.

Over time the princess learnt that he is a 'sincere, strong-minded, hard worker'. "I was aware since my childhood that I'll leave a royal status once I marry", she said, adding that she felt "really happy" with her engagement. The law does not apply to male members of the royal family. Komuro, who is now working at a law firm while studying, proposed to the princess after dinner in December 2013.

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

But the celebratory mood was soured by North Korea's sixth nuclear test the same day, with Imperial Household Agency officials and the couple's acquaintances expressing displeasure that the detonation coincided with the auspicious occasion. She is pursuing a doctorate and works as a museum researcher. He is said to be very photogenic and once won a tourism promotion contest to win the honour of "Prince of the Sea".

The announcement was originally expected in July, but was not made due to a rain disaster in the country.

While the couple have officially announced their relationship, their engagement will become official only after a traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi takes place, Japan Times reports.

Princess Mako and her father Prince Akishino during a royal visit to Hungary this year.

Princess Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, is expected to abdicate next year - Japan's first abdication in two centuries.

We can't wait for a royal wedding, and we expect Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino will be breaking down some royal barriers as she makes her way down the aisle.

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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