January 20, 2006 Princess gives up palace life for love and
apartment by Gulliver
What greater love can a woman have for a man than she gives
up her royal birthright for him.
That's just what the only daughter of Japan's Emperor Akihito
and Empress Michiko did when she married a commoner.
The 36-year-old Princess Sayako gave up the title of princess
and swapped the royal palace to start life as a commoner in
a Tokyo apartment with 40-year-old urban planner Yoshiki Kuroda.
She was cheered by thousands of well-wishers as she was driven
from the palace to the Imperial Hotel where the low-key wedding
ceremony took place.
This was the first time that an emperor's daughter married
a commoner. The wedding, attended by Sayako's parents and
her brothers Akishino and Crown Prince Naruhito, was an austere
one by royal standards.
The bride wore a simple, full-length white silk dress and
pearls. The traditional Shinto ceremony was held in a sparsely
The couple were greeted by a priest dressed in white silk
robes. About 30 close relatives, including the emperor and
Instead of exchanging wedding rings, the half-hour ceremony
centered on the sipping of cups of sake rice wine.
Afterwards the bride - now known as plain Sayaka Kuroda -
moved to her Tokyo apartment to begin her new life as a wife
"I want to learn new things and I look forward to a new
life as a member of the Kuroda family, while treasuring in
my heart the life I have led up until now with their majesties
and my family," Sayako said after the wedding on November
15, 2005 .
The emperor and empress wished the newlywed couple a quiet
life together and thanked the public for their support.
The couple were childhood friends, and their romance began
two years ago at a tennis party thrown by Sayako's brother