The first granddaughter of Emperor Akihito of Japan, Princess Mako will renounce her royal status in order to marry a commoner, Kei Komuro. Princess Mako and Komuro met while studying at the International Christian University in Tokyo. The couple has yet to formally become engaged, which will consist of gift giving ceremony, but they are planning to nonetheless. They both are 25-years-old.

The laws governing the Japanese royal family instruct that any female member of the family must have their status revoked if they marry a commoner. The rule does not apply to male members of the family, as Emperor Akihito is married to a commoner, although he was the first royal to do so.

Under royal rules, female members of the family are unable to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne regardless of who they marry, making Princess Mako’s revocation all the more unnecessary, according to some. Both rules were made post-World War II.

The Princess’s beau is currently a paralegal at a Japanese law firm. When asked about the current rules and the Princess’s revocation, Komuro told reporters, “I would like to talk about it when the time comes.”

The Princess’s father, Prince Akishino is first in line to succeed the Emperor’s throne. His brother, Prince Naruhito, is second in line, and his son, Prince Hisahito is third.

Many fear that the Imperial family is shrinking and that, with the current rules for female marriage and succession, the royal family will be unable to maintain itself. Currently, there are 19 members of the family and 14 of them are female. The Emperor and his family are direct decedents of Japan’s first emperor, Jimmu, circa 660 B.C.

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