Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince and Princess Akishino of the Japanese imperial family, is making headlines right now for her impending engagement to a commoner — a move that will cost her not much but the royal title. Before we get too caught up in the backwards Cinderella love story, let’s review some facts about the 25-year-old Japanese princess.
1. She can sign
Following in the footsteps of her mother, the princess is educated in Japanese sign language and takes an interest in the deaf community. She and her younger sister Kako are able to deliver entire speeches in sign.
2. She’s a devotee of the arts
Princess Mako holds a bachelor’s degree in art and cultural heritage and a master’s in museum studies. She also took a nine-months art history programme at the University of Edinburgh during her undergraduate studies and has obtained national certification to be a curator.
3. She once hid her identity to help
In 2011, Princess Mako visited affected areas of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami to volunteer in relief aid relief as just another college student, reportedly even making up a nickname for herself. Despite her efforts to lie low about her royal identity, many folks of course recognized the charitable young monarch.
4. She unintentionally became an internet idol
In 2004, photos of the princess in her Japanese school uniform became the fixation of the online community. Fanart of the image began to surface, particularly on a content-sharing site known as Nico Nico Douga. The Imperial Household Agency were unsure of how to respond to the situation since the depictions seemed to praise rather than slander the royal family. Oh, Japan.
5. Last but not least, she’s in love
Although the engagement is pending — engaged to be engaged — it appears that Princess Mako is smitten by paralegal and former university classmate Kei Komuro. She and Kei met in 2012 at a restaurant while they were both undergraduate students at International Christian University in Tokyo. Japanese Imperial Law requires a princess to surrender her royal status upon marrying a commoner. However, this case is expected to spark debate on the ancient law. But for now, all we can be sure about is how adorable this couple is.