Princess Mako Becomes Komuro Mako: Japan’s Imperial Family Now Has 17 MembersImperial Family Culture History
On October 26, 2021, Princess Mako married her former college classmate Komuro Kei. With her marriage, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko relinquished her membership in the imperial family, becoming Komuro Mako.
Japan’s imperial family now has 17 members. The current Imperial House Law states that only “a male offspring in the male line belonging to the Imperial Lineage” may become emperor. This means that the only eligible heirs now are Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother Crown Prince Fumihito, his nephew Hisahito, and his uncle Masahito. If the five unmarried princesses get wed, they too will lose imperial status. Addressing the decreasing size of the imperial family continues to be a pressing issue.
In July 2021, a government panel established to consider how to ensure stable succession focused on two main proposals for maintaining the size of the imperial family, one of which is to allow female members to retain imperial status after marriage. The other is to use the adoption system to restore the imperial status of male descendants in the paternal line from branches that were removed from the family in postwar reforms.
The chart below shows the remaining 17 members of the imperial family, now that Princess Mako has become Komuro Mako.
Princesses Marrying Out of the Family Since 1945
|Date of Marriage||Relation to Family||Name After Marriage|
|May 20, 1950||Third daughter of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito)||Takatsukasa Kazuko (deceased)|
|October 10, 1952||Fourth daughter of Emperor Shōwa||Ikeda Atsuko|
|March 10, 1960||Fifth daughter of Emperor Shōwa||Shimazu Takako|
|December 18, 1966||First daughter of Prince Mikasa (Takahito)||Konoe Yasuko|
|October 14, 1983||Second daughter of Prince Mikasa||Sen Masako|
|November 15, 2005||Daughter of Emperor Emeritus Akihito||Kuroda Sayako|
|October 5, 2014||Second daughter of Prince Takamado (Norihito)||Senge Noriko|
|October 29, 2018||Third daughter of Prince Takamado||Moriya Ayako|
|October 26, 2021||First daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito||Komuro Mako|
Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Imperial Household Agency website and media sources.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, at left, and Princess Aiko enter the renovated imperial palace on September 6, 2021. © Jiji.)