04 September, 2017
Japanese Emperor Akihito's oldest granddaughter, Princess Mako, will soon become a commoner following her decision to marry a former classmate with no blood connection to the island nation's royal family.
Komuro said they kept in touch even though they were physically far from each other.
Announcing her engagement, Mako said; "First I was attracted by his bright smiles like the sun". The marriage means the princess must give up her royal title, Reuters reported.
Over time the princess learnt that he is a 'sincere, strong-minded, hard worker'. The royal family last wedding ceremony saw Princess Noriko of the Imperial family marry Kunimaro Senge, the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo Taisha, a Shinto shrine.
"Together with Mr. Komuro, I would like to make a warm and peaceful family that is full of smiles", she added. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfill duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life".
Shoko Kamano, 28, who promoted tourism for Shonan beaches in Kanagawa Prefecture with Komuro in 2010, said she was "really surprised" to know he was marrying the princess but "truly happy" to hear the news.
But the celebratory mood was soured by North Korea's sixth nuclear test the same day, with Imperial Household Agency officials and the couple's acquaintances expressing displeasure that the detonation coincided with the auspicious occasion.
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She also knows sign language and works with the deaf community alongside her mother.
The princess works as a researcher at a Tokyo museum, while Komuro, a resident of Yokohama city, south of the capital, is a legal assistant and undertaking a Master's degree in business law.
Her fiancé, Kei Komuro, is a 25-year-old law firm employee.
The announcement was originally expected in July, but was postponed after a rain disaster hit western Japan.
While the couple have officially announced their relationship, their engagement will become official only after a traditional rite of betrothal called Nosai no Gi takes place, Japan Times reports.
Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, has expressed a desire to abdicate and is expected to do so in late 2018.
Mako says she has since introduced him to her parents, Prince Akishino - second in line to the Chrysanthemum throne - and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to "share her future with". Her younger brother, Prince Hisahito, is the third in line to the throne after their uncle, Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, and their father.