TOKYO — The only daughter of Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko married a childhood friend Tuesday and became a commoner, relinquishing life in the royal palace and giving up the title of princess.
Thousands of well-wishers cheered 36-year-old Princess Sayako as she was driven from the palace grounds to the Imperial Hotel, where she married Yoshiki Kuroda, a Tokyo city employee, in a low-key ceremony.
The wedding was austere by royal standards. The Shinto-style ritual, performed by the chief priest of Ise Shrine in central Japan, considered the nation's most sacred, was attended by 31 people, including the emperor and empress.
The reception was attended by about 120 guests, including Sayako's parents and her brothers, Prince Akishino and Crown Prince Naruhito.
Sayako was married in a simple white dress and pearls but changed into a beige kimono for the reception.
Afterward, the former princess, now Sayako Kuroda, moved to a Tokyo apartment. To prepare for her new life, Sayako took driving lessons and practiced shopping at supermarkets.