(First of 2 parts)
On September 3, Princess Mako, eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, gave a press conference at Akasaka Goyochi in Tokyo with her fiancé Kei Komuro, 25, her former classmate at International Christian University.
In that public appearance together, she famously said his smile was “as bright as the sunlight,” while he said the Princess “watches over me as quietly as the moon.”
Because Japanese and foreigner alike cannot seem to get enough of the couple’s story, JAPAN Forward is publishing in two parts the full transcript of the press conference.
We are pleased to offer our sincere congratulations to you on your engagement. Although it was postponed by the rain disaster, we are very pleased to have a chance to talk with the two of you today. Thank you very much.
The pleasure is ours.
Please let us know of your candid feelings on your engagement.
Princess Mako: I am sincerely pleased to be able to announce today that, having received the blessing of His Majesty the Emperor, we are engaged to be married. However, there must be some who are still in distress following the influence of July’s heavy rains in northern Kyushu, and the heavy rains thereafter in various regions. I lament the loss of lives, and pray from the bottom of my heart that the victims of the disaster will quickly be able to return to unperturbed lives. As the announcement was made suddenly before concrete details of the wedding were confirmed, I fear that we have caused trouble for many, so I am grateful that we are able to greet you all on this day.
Mr. Komuro: I am very grateful to have received permission from His Majesty the Emperor. I further express my gratitude to Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino and all those who have sent their congratulations.
During your announcement to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress today, was there an exchange of messages?
Princess Mako: A short time ago, we offered a greeting at the palace. We received very warm and gracious words from Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, which I will treasure in my heart.
Mr. Komuro: A short time ago, we had the opportunity to offer a greeting, and I am very grateful to have heard the words of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. Along with the Princess, I will treasure them in my heart.
Please tell us the details of how you met and your acquaintance, and how you developed an intention to become engaged, including when and how the proposal was made.
Princess Mako: I first made the acquaintance of Mr. Komuro during my freshman year in college, but we merely passed and greeted each other. Our first proper conversation was in 2012, at an orientation for studying abroad held in a classroom at the International Christian University.
At that time, my seat was behind Mr. Komuro’s, and we began a friendly conversation, and began dating before the study abroad began. At that time, it was our mutual understanding that the person we were dating would be someone good to marry, so marriage was on our mind from the beginning. So it was not the case that I was first aware of the intent to marry on being proposed to, but of course, I was very pleased. I was decided in my heart, so I agreed to the proposal, and we decided to consult with each other regarding the timing.
Mr. Komuro: My answer will be much the same. Our first proper conversation was at the study abroad orientation held on campus in 2012. We began dating before the study abroad began, and, afterwards, the Princess traveled to Britain for a year, and myself to America, so we were separated for a long while. However, even during that time, we continued to stay in touch, and our relations deepened. After returning home, we confirmed our mutuals feelings, and I offered a proposal. In December 2013, I proposed to the Princess with the words, ‘Let’s marry in the future.’ I recall that the location was within the city, and the timing was after a meal, when the two of us were walking together.”
(To be continued)
(Click here for the original article in Japanese.)