While wishing the young couple a happy future together, I do feel it is a pity that Princess Mako will be “obliged to leave the Imperial family” in order to marry her university classmate Kei Komuro (“Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor, to marry former classmate” in the May 17 edition).

Everyone knows that the Japanese Imperial household is critically short of members. It seems to me to be a lack of common sense to deny male commoners the right to acquire Imperial status. Japan would do well to consider revising the law in this area, and, instead of “exiling” its female members who wish to marry commoners, confer upon both them and their spouses at least a modicum of royal status, as is done, for example, in the United Kingdom and other European royal families.

No British princess who marries a commoner loses her royal status. It also seems out of date and unfair that the rules are different for male royals, who can keep their royal status no matter whom they marry.

In the past in Japan some female commoners became members of the Imperial family. Now that a law is being introduced to allow the current Emperor to abdicate, some thought might be given to this problem. Maybe it’s time for a change of heart.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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