Japan’s Princess Noriko relinquished her ties to the royal family and married Kunimaro Senge of the Izumo Taisha grand Shinto shrine in a beautiful wedding.
Everyone loves a wedding, but some weddings are more celebrated than others. One of the most exciting weddings of the year has just occurred between Japanese Princess Noriko and senior Shinto priest Kunimaro Senge in a traditional Shinto ceremony. This is the first time that a female member of the royal family has been married since Princess Sayako married Yoshiki Kuroda in 2005. By choosing to marry a man who is outside of the royal and imperial family, Princess Noriko will lose her status as a princess – which of course is nothing when one is able to marry the person whom they love. The couple also received a one time ¥106.75 million allowance, which is about $1,006,624.75 USD, from the government.
Both the bride and groom are forty-one years old and chose to have a very traditional Shinto wedding ceremony. In the ceremony, the bride and groom often wear traditional Japanese clothes; in this case, both Princess Noriko and Senge chose clothes from the Heian Period, which was between 794 and 1185. When the guests and the happy couple had come together, the Shinto priest who was leading the ceremony blessed them and then read a prayer that is typical for a Shinto wedding ceremony and serves as a purification ritual. Princess Noriko and Senge then went to the Shinto altar, presented an offering, and then bowed.
The Shinto priest will then read aloud a declaration which announces the marriage between the couple to the gods, and seeks blessings for them. A Shinto maiden will then perform a Sacred Dance that brings blessing to the couple. Three nuptial cups are brought forward and both the bride and groom take three sips from each one, demonstrating that they will be sharing their lives from now on. The groom reads the marriage vows aloud, and then rings are exchanged. It is truly a wonderful ceremony.