The Romantic Reason This Japanese Princess Is Renouncing Her Royalty

Photo: Aflo/REX/Shutterstock.
This story would be a real-life fairy tale — if it weren't for all the complex family dynamics and sexist history.
Princess Mako of Japan is renouncing her royal title to marry a "commoner" (How weird does that word sound in 2017?), according to CNN. The Imperial Household told CNN that the 25-year-old princess is planning to become engaged to 25-year-old Kei Komuro, a paralegal and graduate student.
As per tradition, the engagement won't become official until the gift-exchanging ceremony. There's also no word on when it will take place, and the royal family has stayed mum so far.
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The princess, who is the granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, met Komuro five years ago when they were students at the International Christian University in Tokyo, according to Japan's national broadcaster NHK.
Japanese imperial law, which has been in place for centuries, "requires a princess to leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner," according to CNN. Princess Mako isn't the first in her family to do so; in 2005, her aunt Sayako — Emperor Akihito's only daughter — also renounced her title to marry a non-royal.
Of the royal family's 19 remaining members, there are 14 women. Six of the princesses are unmarried, and if they, too, marry commoners, it would shrink the number of royals in the family even more. There are currently only three male heirs to the emperor's throne. Imperial law only allows the throne to be passed down to males, which has sparked a debate in Japan about whether there should be a female emperor someday.
While the couple was in college, Komuro starred in a beach-tourism campaign for the city of Fujisawa as the "Prince of the Sea," which has drawn even more people to the story. According to CNN, Japanese media has been camping out outside the law office where Komuro works. But all he has told reporters is: "I would like to talk about it when the time comes."
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