The Imperial Household rules may seem antiquated to the rest of the Western world, but for Japan, rules are rules. Princess Noriko announced her engagement to a senior priest and commoner and as a result, she will be losing her imperial family status.
The 25-year-old princess, who is the second daughter of the late Prince Takamado and Princess Hisako, revealed her informal engagement to 40-year-old Kunimaro Senge, the eldest son of the high priest of the Izumo Taisha grand shrine in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture. Their engagement will become formal once they’ve undergone the “Nosai no gi” betrothal rite. According to the Imperial Household Agency, their marriage is set this autumn at the shrine where Senge is a “negi,” or senior priest. During the press conference, Princess Noriko shared that her ideal family is “healthy, bright and sweet.”
But the road towards achieving her ideal family may not be as smooth, as according to the Imperial Household Law, if a female member marries a commoner, she will lose her status as a member of the imperial family. She will be leaving the Imperial Palace and reside at the shrine with her husband. When she leaves, the number of family members will be reduced to 21, with 7 of them being unmarried females. There have been concerns that if the females continue to marry commoners, the duties and activities that can only be performed by members of the imperial family will be affected. The previous administration, led by the Democratic Party of Japan, proposed to have branch households that can be led by women, which would allow those who married commoners to retain their imperial status.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]