Japan Data

Princess Mako Becomes Komuro Mako: Japan’s Imperial Family Now Has 17 Members

Imperial Family Culture History

Following the marriage of Princess Mako, Japan’s imperial family has just 17 members. Over the decades, many princesses have lost imperial status due to getting married.

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 cadet 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.)

imperial family Princess Mako