• SHARE

Princess Nori, 36, the only daughter of the Emperor and Empress, and Mr. Yoshiki Kuroda, 40, an urban planning official at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, were married in a Shintoist ceremony on Tuesday. For the princess, it marked the start of a new life as an ordinary citizen. She is now Mrs. Sayako Kuroda. We offer our warmest wishes and congratulations to her and Mr. Kuroda on their marriage, to the Emperor and Empress, and to Ms. Sumiko Kuroda, the mother of Mr. Kuroda.

The Emperor’s words to Princess Nori when she visited him on Saturday were appropriate for the new couple: He hoped that his daughter would further nurture what she has cultivated in her life and that the two would unite their efforts to build a joyful family and carry out their responsibilities as members of society.

This is the first time that a daughter of an Imperial couple has married since 1960, when Princess Suga, the fifth daughter of the Emperor Showa and the Empress Nagako, married Mr. Hisanaga Shimazu. Her daughter’s marriage must have filled the Empress with deep emotion. The Empress had been a commoner herself before becoming a member of the Imperial family. Now the Empress is seeing her daughter start a new life as a commoner as the wife of a salaried worker.

After graduating from Gakushuin University, Princess Nori started working at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in 1992, first as a research assistant and later as a part-time researcher. Her studies on the volumes of avian illustrations by John Gould (1804-81), a British ornithologist, will be published later this month. To adapt herself to a new life, she took and passed a driver’s license test on Oct. 21.

Mr. Kuroda joined the then Mitsui Bank in 1988 after graduating from Gakushuin University. In 1997, he moved to the metro government. It is said that Prince Akishino, an elder brother of Princess Nori, helped her and Mr. Kuroda get acquainted.

In her written statement on her birthday last April, Princess Nori expressed gratitude for having spent happy days with her parents and said she cared about their health. She mentioned “a lot of sad things” that the Empress has experienced in her life, adding, “I sometimes feel that she still has pains that have not yet been healed.” She wrote that the “memory and image of the Empress behaving joyfully both in official duties and at home will continue to remain in my heart even after I have left my present position (as a member of the Imperial family) and will be a great inspiration in my everyday life.”

The wedding ceremony was attended by members of the Imperial family, including the Emperor and Empress and the Crown Prince, and relatives of the bridegroom. It was the first time since the end of World War II that an emperor and empress have attended a wedding ceremony of their daughter. In the past, an emperor and empress usually did not attend their daughters’ wedding ceremonies. Apparently, the Emperor and Empress want to cherish and strengthen familial affection.

In Tuesday’s ceremony, Princess Nori wore a white, long dress — formal attire for a member of the Imperial family — while holding a fan. Mr. Kuroda was in a morning coat. Following the wishes of the bride and bridegroom, there was no exchange of wedding rings.

The wedding party was held in a modest but warm way, reflecting the wishes of the newly wed couple. Besides their relatives, about 50 other guests were invited from Princess Nori’s side and about 40 others from Mr. Kuroda’s side — much fewer than the public had expected. There was no cutting of wedding cake, the main feature of a Japanese wedding party. There also were no greetings from the bride and bridegroom and their family members and relatives.

The party started with a greeting by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara. Only four guests made congratulatory speeches. In the party, Princess Nori wore a kimono that was part of the Empress’s kimono stock, instead of ordering a new kimono. As an aide said, the princess chose to make the best use of what was available. She and the Emperor together chose the kimono for the wedding party.

The bride and bridegroom and their relatives and guests had a French-style dinner sitting at tables of the same height. The newly wed couple sat at the table in the center with the Emperor and Empress, the Crown Prince and Princess, and Prince and Princess Akishino. After the dinner, the participants chatted while holding drinks in an adjacent room, reflecting the intentions of the new couple to talk with as many people as possible.

The wedding party, which avoided showiness and extravagance, showed the new couple’s spirit of humility. The hardships that they may encounter in their new life can be overcome through strong connubial bonds.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW