Japan’s former princess travels to start life in New York with a new husband

A Japanese princess who gave up her royal status to marry her non-royal college girlfriend traveled to New York on Sunday when the couple pursued their happiness as newlyweds, leaving behind a nation that has criticized their romance.

The departure of Mako Komuro, the former Princess Mako, and Kei Komuro, both 30, were carried live by major Japanese television companies showing them boarding a plane in the middle of a shower of camera flashes at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University Law School, has a job at a law firm in New York. He has not yet passed his law degree, another news item that local media has used to attack him, although it is common to pass after several attempts.

“I love Mako,” he told reporters last month after registering their marriage in Tokyo. They did it without a wedding banquet or any of the other usual party rituals.

Mako takes off her mask at a boarding gate before traveling by plane to New York on Sunday. (Eugene Hoshiko / The Associated Press)

“I want to live the only life I have with the person I love,” he said.

Although Japan appears modern in many ways, values ​​about family relationships and the status of women are often seen as somewhat outdated, rooted in feudal practice.

Such views were highlighted in the public reaction to the marriage. Some Japanese feel they have influence in such cases because taxpayers’ money supports the imperial family system.

Lifestyle speculation

Other princesses have married non-royals and left the palace. But Mako is the first to provoke such a public outcry, including an insane reaction on social media and in local tabloids.

Speculation ranged from whether the couple could afford to live in Manhattan, to how much money Kei Komuro would earn, and whether the former princess would end up supporting her husband financially.

Mako is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, who also married a non-royal, Masako. Masako often suffered mentally in the closed, regulated life of the imperial family. The negative media coverage surrounding Mako’s marriage gave her what palace doctors last month described as a form of traumatic stress disorder.

Former Emperor Akihito, father of the current emperor, was the first member of the imperial family to marry a non-royal. His father was the emperor that Japan fought under in World War II.

SE | The engagement pressure took a heavy toll on the Japanese princess Mako:

Japan’s Princess Mako chooses marriage over royalty

After many years of intense media attention and resistance, the Japanese princess Mako has married an ordinary citizen and left the royal family. 2:01

The family has no political power but serves as a symbol of the nation, attends ceremonial events and visits disaster zones and remains relatively popular.

Mako’s loss of royal status comes from the imperial house law, which only allows male inheritance. Only male royals have household names, while female imperial family members only have titles and must travel if they marry non-royals.

Brother expected to become emperor

Mako is the daughter of the emperor’s younger brother, and her 15-year-old brother is expected to become emperor in the long run.

It complicated the former princess’ engagement to get married, announced in 2017, was a financial dispute involving Kei Komuro’s mother. That issue was recently settled, according to the Kyodo news service.

When Kei Komuro returned from the United States in September, the couple were reunited for the first time in three years. They met while attending Tokyo International Christian University ten years ago.

By announcing their marriage on October 26, the former princess, a museum inspector, made her choice clear.

“He’s someone I can not do without,” she said. “Marriage is the decision that is necessary for us to live on and remain true to our hearts.”

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