Princess Mako (left) is expected to marry her university classmate Kei Komuro in 2018.
PHOTOS: EPA/THE JAPAN NEWS
TOKYO - Princess Mako, the 25-year-old eldest grandchild of Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, will become engaged to a university classmate and is expected to marry next year, media reports said.
The prospective fiance was identified as Kei Komuro, who lives in Yokohama and was a student at International Christian University in Tokyo, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The Imperial Household Agency later confirmed the report and said Komuro is a 25-year-old graduate student at Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University and also works at a law firm.
It will be the first engagement among the four grandchildren of Emperor Akihito. Mako is the daughter of Prince Akishino, the emperor's second son, and his wife, Kiko, reported the Japan Times.
The last marriage of a Japanese princess took place in October 2014 when Princess Noriko, the 28-year-old daughter of Emperor Akihito's late cousin Prince Takamado, tied the knot with Kunimaro Senge, the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo Taisha, the daily said.
Princess Mako met Komuro about five years ago through a friend at International Christian University, and later accepted a marriage proposal from him, the Japan Times reported, citing an Imperial Household Agency source.
She has already introduced her boyfriend to her parents, and they have approved of the relationship, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing sources.
Komuro was coy about the relationship when approached by reporters on Wednesday.
To such questions as “How do you feel right now?” and “What attracted you to Princess Mako?”, he simply replied, “When the right time comes, I would like to talk again.”
Komuro said he talked to Princess Mako on the phone in the morning before leaving for his office, telling her “I’m off”. Her response? “Have a good day.”
After graduating from university, Princess Mako has been engaged in official duties as an adult member of the Imperial family, including as honorary patron of the Japan Tennis Association.
She currently works as an affiliate researcher at the University Museum of the University of Tokyo.
Once married, the princess would be obliged to leave the Imperial family, as stipulated by the Imperial House Law.
This article originally appeared on The Straits Times.