In a break with tradition, she’s prepared to give everything up for love to marry a commoner, including a huge sum of money from the government.
A Japanese princess will not only give up her royal titles when she marries a commoner later this year, but has also rejected a $1.7 million payout she is entitled to from the government.
Princess Mako of Akishino, who got engaged to her university sweetheart Kei Komoru in 2017, plans to join her husband in the US once the couple are wed.
The niece of Emperor Naruhito, Princess Mako must renounce her royal status to marry a commoner under Japanese law.
However, she is entitled to a $1.7 million payment from the Japanese government, which is funded by taxpayers to kickstart her royal life but has refused the offer, according to the Times of London.
The payment’s aim is “to preserve the dignity of a person who was once a member of the imperial family”.
Both 29, the couple met in 2012, while studying at International Christian University in Tokyo, where Mako confessed she was first attracted to his “bright smile”.
Komoru was studying law and has recently graduated, with plans to take up an offer of a job at a New York law firm.
Mako holds a master’s degree in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from Leicester University in England.
The couple initially planned to marry in November 2018 but the nuptials were postponed due to “immaturity”, Mako said at the time.
But now the couple are gearing up for their big day.
“For us, a marriage is a necessary choice to live and honour our hearts,” Mako said last year. “We are irreplaceable for one another, and we lean on each other in happy times and unhappy ones.”
Japan's Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko in garden of Akasaka Palace with daughters Mako and Kako, in 2008. Photo / News Ltd
She will also be the first princess in modern times to forego formal Shinto betrothal ceremonies, according to reports in the Japanese media, preferring a low-key event.
Typically, the ceremony involves the couple, their family and their close friends, with the bride wearing a white kimono with a white scarf as a symbol of purity, and includes purification, prayers and the groom reading words of commitment.
In the ceremony, the couple are also expected to take three sips from three cups of sake poured by the shrine maiden, who also performs a sacred dance.
Komuro once held the title of “prince of the sea” in his home town of Yokohama on the coast — an honour placed on attractive local youths whose wholesome image is used to promote tourism in the area.
Japan’s tabloids have been keen to use the relationship to fill pages, including an obscure dispute between Komuro and a former partner over $48,000.
Mako’s father, Fumihito, addressed the issue last year. “From my point of view, I think they are not in a situation where many people are convinced and pleased (about their engagement) … One thing I can say for certain is that even if you take some measures to address the issue (of the financial scandal), it is necessary for them to be visible.”
Mako will be the first former member of the Japanese imperial family to settle overseas after the wedding.