Japanese Princess Gives Up Royal Status to Marry Commoner

About 1,000 close family members and friends attended the Tokyo wedding.

Japanese princess
Japanese Princess Ayako and her husband Kei Moriya will walk away from public life. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

In a fairy tale twist, Japanese Princess Ayako gave up her title to marry a commoner.

The bride and her groom, Kei Moriya, was showered with wishes of “Banzai,” for a long life after their ceremony in Tokyo Monday, as the Princess happily forfeited her title, allowance and royal status. Japanese imperial law stipulates these losses for female members of the royal family who choose to marry someone without an aristocratic title, CNN reported.

The rule does not apply to men.

Upon marrying Moriya, the 28-year-old Ayako is walking away from royal life with a lump sum of $950,000 from the Japanese government, the news site reported.

“I would like to support her firmly and, hand in hand, build a happy family with lots of laughter,” Moriya, 32, who works in shipping, said to a crowd of reporters who gathered to ask the pair questions as they emerged from their private ceremony.

“I am awed by how blessed I am,” Ayako said.

Ayako’s late father, Prince Takamodo, was the cousin of Japan’s Emperor Akihito.

Akihitio announced at the end of last year that he will abdicate the throne on April 30, 2019, handing over duties to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Since imperial law says that only males can can inherit the throne, the state of the Japanese monarchy is up in the air, considering Naruhito only has one 12-year-old son.

The patriarchal law has been debated before and was brought back into question after Ayako’s engagement. The Japanese royals, however, seem more than hesitant to change.

“It is a sensible option and necessary in terms of managing risk but the elite conservatives that govern have resisted strongly despite robust public support for female succession,” Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, Jeff Kingston, told CNN. “Apparently they take no inspiration from Queen Elizabeth … and instead take refuge behind fatuous patriarchal justifications for not doing so.”

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