Japanese Princess Ayako Is Engaged to Commoner, Will Lose Royal Status

Mimi Nguyen Ly

Japanese Princess Ayako became officially engaged to commoner Kei Moriya following a traditional engagement ceremony on Aug. 12.

Ayako and her mother, Princess Hisako, attended the ceremony, called ‘Nosai no Gi’ (engagement ceremony), at Tokyo’s Imperial House. Princess Ayako formally accepted the proposal and a list of gifts, which included fine Japanese sake and fabric for a dress. The gifts were delivered by a messenger sent by Moriya.

“I am happy to conclude the ‘Nosai no Gi’ smoothly,” Ayako said in a statement through the Imperial Household Agency, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Ayako, 27, is the third daughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito’s cousin, the late Prince Takamado. She currently works as a research fellow at Josai International University in Chiba Prefecture, at the Faculty of Social Work Studies.

Moriya, 32, works at Nippon Yusen KK, a shipping firm. He is also a board member of a nonprofit that supports children in developing countries.

The couple was introduced to each other by Ayako’s mother last December.

“I don’t know what my mother’s intentions were in introducing him to me, but as the two of us went to various places together and shared our time and memories, we became naturally drawn to each other,” Ayako said, Express.co.uk reported. She added that her husband-to-be has a “kind, smart and decisive” personality.
According to Japan Today, Ayako’s mother had hoped she would develop an interest in international welfare initiatives through meeting Moriya.

The couple plans to hold their wedding on Oct. 29, at Meiji Jingu Shrine.

By marrying a commoner, Princess Ayako will be leaving the imperial family and lose her royal status, as per Imperial House Law. This law does not apply to male members.

This is the same path that Ayako’s cousin, Princess Mako, 26, had planned to take two years ago. Last year, Mako announced that her marriage to long-time boyfriend Kei Komuro, would be postponed to 2020, after her grandfather Emperor Akihito abdicates next year.

Princess Noriko, Ayako’s older sister, also married a commoner, Kunimaro Senge, in 2014.