Princess Ayako of Takamado, the youngest daughter of Princess Hisako and Emperor Akihito’s late cousin Norihito, Prince Takamado, will marry businessman Kei Moriya on 29 October 2018, the Imperial Household Agency announced today.
The Princess and her future husband first met last December, according to the Imperial Household Agency. Kei Moriya is a 32-year-old graduate of Keio University who now works for the shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K. A full press conference is expected to be held next Monday, where the couple will give more details about their relationship. The couple will officially become engaged in a traditional court ceremony called “Nosai no Gi”, which will take place on 12 August.
Princess Ayako is a graduate of the Josai International University in Chiba Prefecture and earned a master’s degree in 2016. She is currently working as a research fellow at the Faculty of Social Work Studies. She is known for her interests in soccer and skiing and is a qualified childminder. She was born on 15 September 1990. Her father died in November 2002 at the age of 47 of heart failure.
Her sister Princess Noriko married Kunimaro Senge in 2014, upon which she gave up her Imperial titles. Princess Ayako will also have to give up her Imperial titles to marry Kei Moriya as required by the Imperial House Law. An engagement between Princess Mako of Akishino and Kei Komuro was announced last year, but their wedding was postponed until 2020, due to “lack of preparation.” After the weddings of Princesses Ayako and Mako, the number of the Imperial Family members will drop to 17, of which 12 are female.
A resolution was added to the Emperor’s abdicated law, which called on the government to start deliberating the succession issues and to include an option to allow a Princess to establish their own branch within the Imperial Family after they marry a commoner.