Sayako Kuroda

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Princess Nori
Sayako Princess Nori 001 detail.jpg
Sayako Kuroda (then Princess Nori)
at Expo 2005, 3 August 2005
Born (1969-04-18) 18 April 1969 (age 48)
Hospital of the Imperial Household, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Spouse Yoshiki Kuroda (m. 2005)
Full name
Sayako (清子?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Emperor Akihito
Mother Empress Michiko
Religion Shinto
Occupation Shinto priestess of the Ise Grand Shrine
Researcher of Tamagawa University Education Museum

Sayako Kuroda (黒田清子?, Kuroda Sayako, born 18 April 1969), formerly Sayako, Princess Nori (紀宮清子内親王?, Nori-no-miya Sayako Naishinnō), is an imperial Shinto Priestess of the Ise Grand Shrine. She is the youngest child and only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.

Kuroda held the appellation "Nori-no-miya" (Princess Nori),[1] until her marriage to Yoshiki Kuroda on 15 November 2005. As a result of her marriage, she gave up her imperial title and left the Japanese Imperial Family, as required by law.

Education and career[edit]

Princess Sayako studied at and graduated from the Department of Japanese Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters, Gakushuin University, with the Bachelor of Letters degree in Japanese Language and Japanese Literature in 1992. Later in the year she was accepted as research associate at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, where she specialized in the study of kingfishers.[2] In 1998, she was appointed researcher at the same institute. She contributed articles about birds to various academic works.

Apart from her research, she has traveled extensively abroad and within Japan, as a representative of the Imperial family.

Marriage and change in status[edit]

On 30 December 2004, the Imperial Household Agency announced the engagement of the 35-year-old Princess Nori to the 39-year-old Yoshiki Kuroda (黒田慶樹 Kuroda Yoshiki; born (1965-04-17) 17 April 1965 (age 52)), an urban designer with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and longtime friend of Prince Akishino.[3] Upon her marriage, which took place at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo on 15 November 2005, Princess Nori left the Imperial Family, taking the surname of her husband; at 40 years of age he became the first non-aristocratic commoner to marry an Imperial Princess. This change in her status is mandated by the Imperial Household Law that requires females of the Imperial Family to relinquish their title from birth, official membership in the Imperial Family, and allowance from the state upon marriage. At 36 years of age, she became the sixth female member born into the Japanese Imperial Family to marry a commoner since the passage of the Imperial Household Law in 1947, and the first member of the family to lose royal status since the marriage of Princess Masako of Mikasa, one of Emperor Akihito's cousins, in 1983.[4]

The Emperor and Empress were in attendance at her wedding, as were Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and other members of the Imperial Family. About 30 people attended the ceremony, and some 120 guests attended the reception.[5] Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets between the royal palace and the city hotel where the half-hour marriage rite took place.[5]

Kuroda resigned from her job as an ornithologist to focus on her family life. While she is no longer entitled to an imperial allowance, she reportedly received a dowry worth US$1.29 million (in Japan, the bride is given a sum of money for her marriage).[6][7] To prepare for her change of lifestyle, Princess Sayako reportedly took driving lessons and practised shopping at the supermarket.[5]

After the marriage[edit]

In April 2012, Kuroda was appointed as a high priestess of the Ise Grand Shrine to assist her aunt, Atsuko Ikeda, Chief Priestess of the shrine,[8] who was also subjected to the conditions of the Imperial Household Law upon marriage. She was among the guests during a banquet held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace in honour of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium in October 2016.[9] In years after her marriage, Kuroda has continued to appear during some formal occasions with other members of the Imperial Family.[10][11]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Sayako, Princess Nori
(before her marriage)
Imperial Coat of Arms
Reference style Her Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness

Prior to her marriage on 15 November 2005, she was styled as Her Imperial Highness The Princess Nori. After her marriage, she became known as Mrs. Sayako Kuroda, having adopted her husband's surname.


National honours[edit]



  1. ^ "Princess Sayako turns 35, voices relief over hostage release". Japan Policy & Politics. 19 April 2004. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  2. ^ News The Times, 12 November 2005
  3. ^ "Japanese emperor's only daughter to wed". China Daily. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Japanese princess to marry the best friend of her brother". The Daily Telegraph. 15 November 2004. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Japanese princess weds commoner". BBC. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Grace, Francie (15 November 2005). "Japan Loses A Princess". CBS News. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Japanese princess weds commoner". Daily Mail. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mrs. Sayako Kuroda - chief priestess of the Ise Shrine". Jiji. 7 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "State Visit of King and Queen of Belgians Vol.1". Imperial Family of Japan. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Birthday Concert". Imperial Family of Japan. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Remembering Prince Tomohito". Imperial Family of Japan. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 

External links[edit]