Princess Mako, who made headlines last year when she announced her engagement to a commoner — a union that, if entered into, would require her to abdicate her status as a royal, has decided to postpone the impending nuptials. The 26-year-old princess, who is the oldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito, was set to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, also 26, in November. The two were scheduled to be formally engaged in a traditional ceremony known as “Nosai no Gi,” The Nikkei Asian Review reported. But, according to a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency, the princess said she “came to recognize the lack of time to make sufficient preparations. Last May, there had been reports about our engagement at an unexpected time. We believe we have rushed various things,” she said in the statement, adding, “It is because of our immaturity and we just regret it.”
Both events have now been delayed and the wedding is scheduled to take place in 2020.
“I wish to think about marriage more deeply and concretely and give sufficient time to prepare our marriage and for after the marriage,” the princess went on to say in her statement. The couple’s engagement made global headlines when news of it broke last year, in part because Princess Mako, in marrying a commoner, would be forced to relinquish her royal status.
Under current Imperial Household Law, women born to the royal family cannot inherit the throne and must become commoners upon marrying. Her engagement ignited a debate on gender in Japan, with many calling for the Imperial Household to reform its rules concerning marriage over concerns that the dwindling numbers of men in the royal family would leave it all but depleted. Moreover, a recent poll showed that 86 percent of respondents felt that a woman should be able to become emperor. Prior to 1947, women were allowed to ascend to emperor and the country has had eight women take the throne in the past.
If Princess Mako goes through with the wedding and is still forced to give up her royal status, she may be able to take comfort in the fact that her husband was once a prince of another kind. As CNN points out, Komuro became known as the “Prince of the Sea” after appearing in an advertising campaign promoting beach tourism for the city of Fujisawa.
Read the full story at USA Today.