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Kei Komuro the sun to Princess Mako's moon

Princess Mako, right, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiance, Kei Komuro, hold a press conference following the announcement of their informal engagement, at the Akasaka Estate in Tokyo's Motoakasaka district on the afternoon of Sept. 3, 2017. (Pool photo)

Princess Mako and her fiance Kei Komuro exchanged smiles whenever their eyes met during a press conference following the announcement of their informal engagement on Sept. 3, as they likened each other to the sun and moon.

When asked about their partner's strengths, Princess Mako, 25, likened Komuro, also 25, to the sun. "He has a smile as bright as the sun, and shines with his diligence, strong will and hard work," the princess said. Komuro responded, "Princess Mako quietly looks over me like the moon. She shines brightly with her deep affection and passionate beliefs."

The press conference was held from 3 p.m. at the Akasaka Estate in the Motoakasaka district of Tokyo. Princess Mako wore a bright green dress while Komuro appeared in a sharp navy suit. With his closed fists on his knees as he sat, Komuro gave away his nervousness.

When asked how they address each other, the princess answered, shyly, "While we are holding back for this official occasion, we usually call each other by our first names."

The two first met in 2012 at a student exchange program information session held in a classroom at International Christian University in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka, where they were both students in the same year. Princess Mako was seated directly behind Komuro, and that was the impetus for them to begin talking and growing close.

The couple frequently went on dates to places like Yokohama's Minato Mirai district, and like other young couples, mainly traveled by train. At the request of her parents Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, who supported Princess Mako's relationship with Komuro, bodyguards from the Imperial Guard that must accompany the princess when she goes out tried to blend into the crowd while performing their duty.

"We share the view of wanting to date someone with the expectation of marriage, so I had our marriage in my mind from the beginning," the princess disclosed. Along those lines, Komuro's proposal was reportedly, "Let's get married in the future." The words came during a walk after having dinner in Tokyo in December 2013.

"Because I had already made up my mind, I accepted on the spot," Princess Mako said.

Komuro currently is attending graduate school while working at a Tokyo legal firm. His favorite phrase is "Let it be." When it comes to the prospect of having a royal as his wife, Komuro said, "I feel an extremely heavy sense of responsibility. I'm sincerely facing my role." Of his dreams and aspirations, Komuro said, "Right now, it is important to take on the challenges of work and study in front of me. I would like to think about our future while consulting the princess."

At the start of the press conference, Princess Mako also spoke about disaster-hit northern Kyushu, which was inundated by heavy rainfall in July. "Even now there are many who are going through a difficult time. Along with praying for those who lost their lives, I also hope from the bottom of my heart that all those affected by the disaster can quickly settle down and return to their normal lives," she said.

After the close of the conference, the couple dined at the Akasaka Estate with Princess Mako's parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and Komuro's 51-year-old mother, Kayo.

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