I’m Done with Givenchy and Meghan, Can We Focus On Princess Ayako’s Wedding?


Oct 29, 2018


Step aside Megan, that Givenchy dress was beautiful, but we need to talk about Princess Ayako of Japan. In a wedding on Monday morning, the princess gave up her royal title to marry a commoner, Kei Moriya, in a traditional Shinto-style ritual. By choosing to marry Moriya, Ayako rescinds her royal title and leaves Imperial Household of Japan. Talk about true love, right?

Wearing a Heian-era hairstyle (picture the long, thick black hair in illustrations from Tale of Genji),  the princess entered the pagoda-style building in Tokyo’s Meiji shrine. In her robe, patterned with pink flowers and green leaves, she seems resplendent, standing next to Moriya in his coat tails. Women who marry into the royal family must wear a 12-layered kimono, called the junihitoe, which dates back several centuries. Ayako’s wedding clothes might be understated in comparison, but the choice of kimono, patterns, and colours are all filled with symbolism.

“(The colors) are all given names after plants or flowers, and traditionally they would be worn just before that flower bloomed,” says Sheila Cliffe, author of “The Social Life of the Kimono: Japanese Fashion Past and Present.” Japanese bridal clothes are also decorated with pine trees, plums, and bamboo, which are seen as symbols of good fortune. In her hand, the princess holds a fan made of Japanese cypress, called a hiougi.


Japan’s Princess Ayako weds commoner Kei Moriya in ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo
Princess Ayako and Kei Moriya after their wedding ceremony. Photo courtesy of Kyodo.

After the ceremony, Ayako changed into deep red, formal Shinto-style robes, called a kouchiki and a long skirt, naga-bakama. To the reporters waiting for a soundbite, the now ex-princess simply said, “I am filled with happiness.” 


Written By Nadia Nooreyezdan

Nadia Nooreyezdan is The Swaddle’s culture editor. Since graduating from Columbia Journalism School, she spends her time thinking about aliens, cyborgs, and social justice sci-fi. She’s also working on a memoir about her family’s journey from Iran to India.


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