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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 16:33 GMT
Japan princess in royal farewell
Princess Sayako at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Princess Sayako of Japan has said her formal farewells to the imperial family ahead of her wedding to a commoner.

Wearing a 12-layered ceremonial kimono, she also paid her respects at the shrines of her ancestors during a traditional ritual in Tokyo.

Princess Sayako is the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

On Tuesday, the 36-year old princess marries Yoshiki Kuroda, 40, who works for the Tokyo city authorities. She must then give up her imperial title.

I hope that even in your new life you will continue to be a good member of society while looking after your household
Empress Michiko

Japan does not allow women to take the throne, and therefore the youngest child of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko must leave the imperial family after the wedding.

New life

Dressed in the traditional multi-coloured kimono, Princess Sayako visited shrines in the Imperial Palace grounds that are dedicated to Japanese gods and emperors of the past.

Japan's Princess Sayako (left) and Yoshiki Kuroda (right)
The couple are to marry on Tuesday
Television footage showed her slowly walking along a wooden balcony with a fan in her hand.

Later, having changed into a white dress, the princess met her parents to exchange parting cups filled with Japanese sake, Jiji Press news agency reported.

"I hope that even in your new life you will continue to be a good member of society while looking after your household," Empress Michiko said to her daughter.

The empress has said recently that she will greatly miss her daughter when she leaves the imperial palace.

"Sayako was a child who would come over to me serenely and say 'Never mind' whenever I was disappointed about a mistake I made or about something that happened unexpectedly," the empress said.

"How fondly we will remember and miss this tender and heart-warming 'Never mind' in the days to come."

Princess Sayako is the first emperor's daughter to marry in 45 years.


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