Princess Ayako en­gage­ment made of­fi­cial

Bangkok Post - - ASIA -

TOKYO: Princess Ayako, the youngest daugh­ter of Em­peror Ak­i­hito’s late cousin, be­came of­fi­cially en­gaged yes­ter­day to com­moner Kei Moriya in a tra­di­tional cer­e­mony in Tokyo.

The be­trothal cer­e­mony called “No­sai no Gi” is the first in a se­ries of rites lead­ing up to the wed­ding on Oct 29 be­tween the 27-year-old princess and the 32-yearold em­ployee at ship­ping firm Nip­pon Yusen KK.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, a mes­sen­ger from Mr Moriya vis­ited Tokyo’s Taka­mado res­i­dence with gifts in­clud­ing sake and sea bream to for­mally con­vey the pro­posal.

The cou­ple first met last De­cem­ber when they were in­tro­duced by Princess Ayako’s mother Princess Hisako, who had long known Mr Moriya’s fa­ther and mother, the lat­ter who is now de­ceased.

Princess Hisako was hop­ing to spark her daugh­ter’s in­ter­est in in­ter­na­tional wel­fare ac­tiv­i­ties through meet­ing Mr Moriya, who is a board mem­ber of a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­port­ing chil­dren in devel­op­ing coun­tries.

Princess Ayako, the third daugh­ter of late Prince Taka­mado and Princess Hisako, grad­u­ated from Jo­sai In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity in Chiba Pre­fec­ture and earned a master’s de­gree there in 2016. She is cur­rently work­ing as a re­search fel­low at the univer­sity’s Fac­ulty of So­cial Work Stud­ies.

Mr Moriya has an in­ter­na­tional back­ground, hav­ing gone to kinder­garten in Paris, and at­tended schools in Switzer­land and Bri­tain be­fore grad­u­at­ing from Tokyo’s Keio Univer­sity. He en­joys run­ning in marathon and triathlon races.

Af­ter the mar­riage, Princess Ayako will leave the im­pe­rial fam­ily as the Im­pe­rial House Law stip­u­lates women lose their royal sta­tus af­ter mar­ry­ing a com­moner.

Last year, the Im­pe­rial House­hold Agency an­nounced the planned en­gage­ment be­tween Princess Mako, the el­dest grand­daugh­ter of Em­peror Ak­i­hito, and Kei Ko­muro, a com­moner who is her long-time boyfriend. But in Fe­bru­ary, their for­mal en­gage­ment and wed­ding were post­poned un­til 2020, due to “lack of prepa­ra­tion”.

Af­ter the mar­riages of Princess Ayako and Princess Mako, the num­ber of im­pe­rial fam­ily mem­bers will fall from 19 to 17 and that of fe­male mem­bers to 12 from 14.

Among the string of rites that will pre­cede their wed­ding at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, “Kokki no Gi” or the rite of an­nounc­ing the wed­ding date, will be held on Sept 19 at the Taka­mado res­i­dence.

Fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony, the lump sum amount of money to be given to Princess Ayako un­der Ja­pa­nese law will be de­cided at a meet­ing at­tended by the prime min­is­ter and the speak­ers of the up­per and lower houses.

Sayako Kuroda, the daugh­ter of Em­peror Ak­i­hito and Em­press Michiko, re­ceived about US$1.35 mil­lion (45 mil­lion baht) when she mar­ried Tokyo met­ro­pol­i­tan govern­ment em­ployee Yoshiki Kuroda in 2005.


Ja­pa­nese Princess Ayako, right, the third daugh­ter of the late Prince Taka­mado and her fi­ance Kei Moriya, left, an­nounce their en­gage­ment in July 2018.

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