Here’s Why Japanese Princesses Have to Give up Their Titles When They Marry an Aladdin
Aladdin would have gone totally differently.
Princess Ayako of Japan has announced that she will be giving up her title in order to marry a commoner, Kei Moriya, according to Harper Bazaar.
Their engagement will become official in a traditional court ceremony this August, and their wedding will take place in October, The Japan Times reported. Afterward, Princess Ayako will have to leave the royal family. Kei Moriya is a 32-year-old worker at the shipping firm NYK Line.
Ayako will be the third female member of the Japanese royal family to give up her title for love. Just two years ago, her cousin Princess Mako also gave up her royal rights in order to marry her college sweetheart.
When recalling what made her fall in love with Moriya, the princess said their conversation had become “so lively that it didn’t feel like we had just met and that I had so much fun that I forgot about time.” Which you know, goals for any first date.
“As I met him many times, I became attracted to his kind, smart and decisive nature,” Princess Ayako said, per The Japan Times. “I don’t know what my mother’s intentions were in introducing him to me, but as the two of us went to various places together and shared our time and memories, we became naturally drawn to each other. I think we were able to come this far thanks to the wonderful ties started by our mothers.”
“It was very sudden, so I asked to hold for my answer,” she said, via CNN. “As we have deepened the relationship including our family, friends and related people, I came to the decision and accepted this proposal.”
While some of us have been enjoying the Meghan Markle afterglow of the royal wedding and all of the things it represented for the future of one of the world’s oldest monarchies, there are still some outdated policies that exist for women within royalty across the world.
The reason why Princess Ayako, her sister Princess Noriko, and her cousin Princess Mako have to leave their royal status behind because they are marrying non-royals is due to Japan’s Imperial Household Law.
According to Imperial Household Law, the Imperial Throne of Japan is succeeded to by male descendants in the male line of Imperial Ancestors. Article XLIV states that: “A female member of the Imperial Family, who is married to a subject, shall be excluded from membership in the Imperial Family. However, she may be allowed, by special grace of the Emperor, to retain her title of naishinnô or nyoô, as the case may be.” Naishinnô roughly meaning Imperial Princess.
The current Imperial Law came about in 1947. Prior to that, there have been eight Emperesses in Japan: Empress Genmei and her daughter Empress Genshō, who are unique because it was the first time a woman succeeded her own mother. The others were the Empresses Suiko, Kōgyoku, Jitō, Kōken, Meishō, and Go-Sakuramachi.
The first time women were barred from being part of the succession was because of the Prussian influence during the 19th century Meiji Restoration. Colonization: will fuck you up even when the country that warped you no longer exists.
People in the Imperial family are also barred from adopting. While public opinion for changing this law does exist, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be changing any time soon unless a bill is put into place to fix it.
I don’t want to make it seem like this is only a problem in Japan.
It was recently brought up as a reminder that if the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Harry only have girls, those female children will not be able to inherit the dukedom and that title will be up for grabs. Why is that? Well, for fans of Downton Abbey, you may remember something called peerage rule.
Peerage rule in the United Kingdom passes on certain titles to sons, not daughters, so the titles of their Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Earl and Countess of Dumbarton, and Baron and Baroness Kilkeel appointments are for men only. Groups like The Daughters’ Rights organization has been campaigning for a legislative change about this.
One supporter of modernizing these rules is, of course, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. Fellowes, according to People “spoke out on the subject last year when a local lord, Baron Braybrooke, died, leaving behind a 6,000-acre estate. None of his eight daughters, led by Amanda Murray, 55, could inherit the title. Instead, it went to a distant male cousin.”
It was only in 2011 that it was changed so that Princess Charlotte would be 5th-in-line to the throne, instead of being pushed to the bottom in favor of her young brothers. This is the first time a female royal has been granted a proper place in the line-of-succession, instead of being the last resort heir if there are no boys around, last resort heirs like her great-grandmother and other female Queens of England before Elizabeth II.
While it is fantastic that the Imperial princesses of Japan are able to marry for love, it seems totally unfair that they have to give up their titles, when male royals do not. It’s time for Japan to reopen the Chrysanthemum Throne to women again (also, boss name for the throne).
(via Harper Bazaar, image: KOJI SASAHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]