Royal official said arrangements made for mother and daughter and the public could watch from parliament lawn
Japan’s Princess Mako has been married to a high-ranked university official in a carefully choreographed ceremony that revealed a teenaged princess poised to follow in her father’s steps and play a meaningful role in public life, according to palace officials.
Her 34-year-old bridegroom, Kei Komuro, is a commoner and graduated first in his class from Kobe University in western Japan last year. Prince Akishino, Mako’s father, is second in line to the throne.
Mako and Komuro arrived at the cathedral-like Naha Imperial Palace wearing traditional tori robes. They held hands as they entered the hall and gave brief speeches, emerging to kiss Komuro’s hand.
Princess Mako and groom Kei Komuro will get married in Naha. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/AFP/Getty Images
With much fanfare, the 21-year-old princess and Komuro later entered a royal palace room decorated with red and white flowers and where an adult bride traditionally bids farewell to her parents.
The ceremony was followed by a lavish evening banquet with food such as snow crab cakes and orange-infused sake.
During the ceremony, many waited for the princess to emerge from the imperial palace accompanied by her new husband, although most wore a discreet expression of surprise when she emerged from the palace in a beige, floor-length mink hat.
Japan’s laws requiring female royal weddings must be arranged when a princess turns 18.
Mako’s brother-in-law, Prince Akishino, a former sailor, has not been a commoner since he married Princess Kiko in 1991. The couple has two daughters.
Komuro, as he was then known, lives in his parents’ home village of Kawachi, about a 30-minute drive from Kobe city. He runs an investment company called Kinoku Corporations.
Royal officials said arrangements were made for the mother and daughter to accompany the bride and groom to the public viewing area in an open area in front of parliament, which could be viewed by members of the public.
The nimble-kneed, thin-lipped, demurely covered Mako is the most visible representative of the family in public life. The royal family has limited life outside of official duties. She is jobless and has no children.
Kanako, the current princess, was sent to France in 1998 to recuperate from cancer, and her mother has spent time in Los Angeles and Dubai during the past 25 years.
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Princess Mako has a bachelor’s degree in classical studies from Keio University in Tokyo and later joined the NHK television network as a reporter. She is fluent in English and German.
As Japan prepares to mark the 200th anniversary of its imperial family’s rule this year, its current line of rulers will continue, with Prince Akishino, Mako’s uncle, ascending to the throne when her father passes away.
As the granddaughter of Prince Mikasa, the monarch born on the rare Japanese island of Kyushu, Mako grew up with Japan’s imperial family.
Kampo, now one of Japan’s oldest emperors, crowned for the first time in 1815, renounced his throne in 1905 after the republic was declared in Japan. He died in 1924 and was buried in his palace garden.