The Japanese imperial family has announced the joyous news that Princess Noriko will marry Kunimaro Senge, a commoner. She will have to give up her royal status.
He is not an ordinary commoner, however. He is the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the most important and oldest Shinto shrines in Japan.
Their wedding is scheduled to take place in the fall. According to a report on Drama Fever, how they met and fell in love reads like a fairy tale.
Apparently their common interest in bird watching planted the seeds for the two lovebirds. The couple met because their families have been friendly for many years.
Princess Norika often accompanied her mother to visit the grand shrines nearby Lake Shinji for bird watching. Kunimaro would also join them to show them sites and to photograph the birds.
Forty-year-old Kunimaro must be a very patient man as this is his first marriage and he's waited seven years for his princess bride. Twenty-five-year-old Princess Noriko first met Kunimaro when she started her college study at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, and went to visit the shrine located in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
The Senge family has been in charge of shrine rituals at Izumo-Taisha for generations, and Kunimaro is expected to eventually succeed his 71-year-old father's position as chief priest. He is already assisting his father, Takamasa Senge, in managing the shrine.
Princess Noriko is the second daughter of Princess Hisako and the late Prince Takamado, who was the third son of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother Emperor Hirohito. The Reigning Emperor Akihito was the eldest son of Emperor Hirohito (so this makes Princess Noriko the current emperor's grandniece).
As required by Imperial House Law, Princess Noriko will exit the Imperial House upon marrying.
Izuomo-Taisha is well known for enshrining the god of marriage. This new royal announcement is sure to excite young people of marriageable age to visit this shrine for good fortunate in marital bliss.
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