Japan's royal marriages reflect their time

Japan's royal marriages reflect their time

The marriage of Princess Mako, whose informal engagement to former university classmate Kei Komuro was announced on Sunday, will be the eighth by a female member of the Imperial family since the end of World War II.

The first woman in the Imperial family to marry after the war was Kazuko Takatsukasa, the third daughter of Emperor Showa, who passed away in 1989.

Kazuko married in 1950 after being trained in housework for a little more than a year at the house of a former grand chamberlain for the Imperial family.

Less than five years had passed since the end of the war and Japan was still under occupation, but a festive mood prevailed on the streets from the Imperial Palace to the wedding venue.

In 1952, Atsuko Ikeda, the fourth daughter of Emperor Showa, now 86, married Takamasa Ikeda, a rancher in Okayama Prefecture. Much attention was paid to the fact that Takamasa was the 16th head of the Ikeda family, which used to rule the Okayama domain in the Edo period (1603-1867). He passed away in 2012.

Takako Shimazu, the fifth daughter of Emperor Showa, married in 1960. "I want the person I chose to be seen," 20-year-old Takako said at a press conference. The comment was considered bold.

Japan's Princess Mako to be engaged to university classmate

Yasuko Konoe, the eldest daughter of Prince Mikasa, married Tadateru Konoe in 1966 while a student. The dates she went on with him in a car, and the fact that their wedding took place in a luxury hotel, became popular subjects of conversation.

In 1983, Masako Sen, the second daughter of Prince Mikasa, married Soshitsu Sen, who is younger than herself. Asked about the age gap at a press conference on the occasion of their informal engagement, she said shyly, "It's not a problem because I'm still immature."

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Sayako Kuroda, the eldest daughter of the Emperor, married Yoshiki Kuroda - a friend of her elder brother Prince Akishino since childhood - in 2005.

Their relationship developed in a natural manner, meeting at Prince Akishino's residence and corresponding by phone, letters and emails. The announcement of their informal engagement was delayed a little over a month in consideration of the people affected by the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake.

Noriko Senge, the second daughter of Prince Takamado, married Kunimaro Senge in 2014. The first head of his family is said to have been the second son of Amaterasu Omikami, the sun deity and founder of the Imperial line.

"I feel a deep sense of destiny in the fact that this day has come after the passage of more than 2,000 years," Kunimaro said.

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