- Japan’s Princess Ayako married Kei Moriya at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on Monday.
- To marry a commoner, Ayako had to give up her royal status.
- Imperial family members are allowed to marry who they choose, but women who marry commoners must leave the family while male family members are allowed to retain their royal status regardless.
A Japanese princess married a commoner for love on Monday, and was thus forced to renounce her royal status.
Princess Ayako married Kei Moriya, an employee of the shipping company Nippon Yusen, in a small ceremony at the Meiji Shrine in Toyko.
A crowd of about 1,000 gathered outside the shrine, dedicated to the bride’s great-great grandfather and grandmother, to show their well wishes for the couple, CNN reported. A small group of family members attended the actual ceremony itself, where rings were exchanged, along with a traditional cup of sake.
Ayako wore two elaborate kimonos for the ceremony, a pale-yellow one to travel to the shrine in and a red one she changed into right before the ceremony itself. Her hair was swept back into an elaborate style worn by Japanese noblewomen during the Heian period, which ran from 794 to 1185 AD.
Her groom wore pin-striped trousers, a morning jacket, and a silk top hat that once belonged to the bride’s father, the late Prince Takamodo, according to CNN.
Upon marrying Moriya, Ayako officially left the royal family. While members of the Japanese imperial family have been able to choose who they marry for three generations, according to Al Jazeera, women who marry commoners must renounce their royal status while male members who do the same are allowed to stay in the family.
The current emperor, Akihito, is an example of this. He married a commoner, Michiko Shoda, in 1957.
When the couple announced their engagement this summer, the Imperial House Economy Council (which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sits on) convened and decided to give Princess Ayako a lump-sum payment of about $US950,000 so that she could keep up her high standard of living after leaving the family, The Japan Times reported.
The ceremony on Monday comes less than a year after the bride’s mother introduced the couple in December 2017. Ayako’s mother and Moriya’s had been long-time friends.
Following the ceremony, Princess Ayako told members of the press that she is “filled with happiness.”
Moriya said his wife looked “beautiful” and that he hoped to “build a happy family with lots of laughter.”
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