5 OCTOBER 2005

Click here to send this news item to a friend Princess Sayako of Japan continues to celebrate traditional wedding rites in the run-up to her nuptials as on Wednesday the Imperial Palace formally set the date for her big day.

At the ceremony it was officially announced the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will tie the knot with Tokyo government employee Yoshiki Kuroda on November 15.

Called Kokki no Gi, or the Rite of Announcing the Date, this week's 15-minute gesture saw a messenger, sent on behalf of the groom, tell the chief palace courtier the preferred wedding date. The palace official then reported the message to the emperor and empress; subsequently, the royal couple's acceptance of the proposal was announced.
The traditional rites leading up to the marriage – which will mark the first time in 45 years that a female member of a reigning emperor's family weds – began last November, when wedding plans were first announced. Since then, royal watchers have enjoyed the pomp and tradition of Japan's fascinating and detailed wedding customs.

Sayako's engagement was officially confirmed in December 2004, and four months later the royal family turned out for the traditional rite of betrothal, called "Nosai no Gi", in which the bride and groom's families exchange gifts.

The next rite is set for November 12, when the princess will worship at the imperial sanctuary at the palace, before expressing her gratitude to her parents.

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Photo: ©
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stand with their only daughter, future bride Sayako, as they take part in the traditional rite formally setting the princess' wedding datePhoto: © ReutersClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
The groom, Yoshiki Kuroda, arrives at the Imperial Palace with his mother SumikoPhoto: © AFP
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