National

Classmates and teachers describe Princess Mako as dependable

JIJI

People who were close to Princess Mako during her school days describe the 25-year-old bride-to-be as a lively, dependable woman.

“I was very delighted to hear the happy news,” a 25-year-old former classmate of Princess Mako at Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School in Tokyo said. “She’ll be the first of my close friends to get married.”

The former classmate recalls with nostalgia how she and Princess Mako talked about romance during high school.

While she does not remember what type of boys Princess Mako said she liked back then, the woman thinks the princess and Komuro will “make a nice couple.”

“She is a lively woman and is a leader type,” the classmate says of Princess Mako’s personality. “As her fiance looks gentle, I guess she will be leading him.”

The woman, who also studied with Princess Mako at Gakushuin Primary School, says that when she was bullied by a boy at school it was the princess who helped her.

“She came between the bully and me and said, ‘Stop it,’ ” the woman recalls. “She was cool and dependable.”

Teacher Yumiko Sakaguchi, 60, who was in charge of Princess Mako’s homeroom in high school, has a similar impression of the princess.

During a school excursion to Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, the princess’ group got lost and she went to a convenience store by herself to ask for directions, Sakaguchi said.

“I was surprised when she told me that she wanted to study at ICU (International Christian University)” in Tokyo, Sakaguchi says.

When the teacher asked why, the princess said that as a member of the Imperial family she frequently had contact with people overseas and that she wanted to refine her international way of thinking by studying at a university with many foreign students and Japanese students who had lived abroad.

Princess Mako met the groom, Kei Komuro, when they were studying at ICU.

After graduation, Princess Mako studied museology at the graduate school of the University of Leicester in Britain and earned a master’s degree in museum studies.

In April 2016, she began work as an affiliated researcher at the University of Tokyo’s University Museum. The princess has been continuing her museum studies in the doctoral course of the arts and science division of ICU’s graduate school since September the same year.