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Imperial Household Agency announces engagement of Princess Ayako to businessman

Princess Ayako, left, and her mother Princess Hisako leave the Imperial Palace after reporting Princess Ayako's engagement to businessman Kei Moriya, on the morning of July 2, 2018. (Pool photo)
Princess Ayako's fiance Kei Moriya greets the media in front of his residence in Tokyo's Minato Ward, on June 26, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Princess Ayako, the youngest daughter of Emperor Akihito's late cousin Prince Takamado, is informally engaged to Kei Moriya, an employee of a Tokyo-based shipping company, the Imperial Household Agency announced on June 2.

The traditional "Nosai no Gi" ceremony in which engagement gifts will be exchanged has been set for Aug. 12, and their wedding is set for Oct. 29 this year at Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. After the 27-year-old princess marries her 32-year-old fiance, an employee of shipping and logistics company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, she will leave the Imperial Household according to the Imperial House Act.

Princess Ayako is set to hold a news conference with Moriya this afternoon.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, Princess Ayako was introduced to Moriya last December by her mother Princess Hisako. Princess Hisako met Moriya's mother Kimie at a photography exhibition held by Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (Children without borders), which supports children in developing countries. Kimie was an executive director of the organization, and kept in contact with Princess Hisako, introducing her son Kei in 2010. Kimie Moriya passed away in July 2015, but Princess Hisako met Kei once again when he took over as a director of the nonprofit group last November. Thinking that it would be a good opportunity to get her daughter Ayako, who studied social welfare, interested in international social welfare activities, she introduced the pair the following month.

Princess Ayako was born in September 1990 as the third daughter of Prince Takamado, who passed away in November 2002, and Princess Hisako. After graduating from Josai International University in Togane, Chiba Prefecture, she completed a graduate program at the same institution after studying abroad in Canada. She has been employed as a researcher at the university since June 2017. During her college life, Princess Ayako was an assistant in the university soccer club, and her hobbies include watching sports, traveling, reading and skiing. She serves as honorary patron of the Canada-Japan Society, which works to build relationships between the two countries.

Moriya was born in March 1986, and due to his 62-year-old father Osamu's work at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, spent his kindergarten years in Paris. He also studied abroad for a short period at Oxford University while studying at Keio University. He enjoys running marathons and triathlons. Moriya was hired by Nippon Yusen in 2009, and is currently in charge of managing long-term shipping contracts for the firm.

Princess Ayako's wedding will be the first of a female member of the Imperial Household since her older sister Noriko Senge, 29, was wed in October 2014. When the princess marries, the total members of the Imperial Household will stand at 18, six of whom are unmarried princesses.

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima and Nao Yamada, City News Department)

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