The long wait for Princess Mako of Japan to marry her fiancé, Kei Komuro, seems to be coming to an end, though not in the most – let’s call it – orthodox way. Emperor Naruhito’s niece will marry later this year, three later than planned, without the paraphernalia surrounding imperial weddings and, most likely, forgoing the dowry of more than 150 million yen (more than a million euros) that corresponds to the women of the Japanese royal family when they marry a subject who, in the slang of their highly distinguished guild, is labeled a commoner.
After being postponed repeatedly, sources close to royalty announced on Wednesday that the wedding will finally take place, but that it will not have any ceremony or traditional ritual, according to the Japanese newspaper. Asahi Shimbun. Mako, who will turn 30 in October, will register her marriage on national soil and, after renouncing her royal status, will move to New York, where her fiancé has resided since 2018.
If this script is fulfilled, which to a certain extent emulates Enrique and Meghan’s soap opera, Akishino’s Mako would become the first princess in modern times who does not get married under the Shinto rite, a liturgy that includes a formal engagement ceremony in which the families exchange gifts, known as Nosai no Gi, in addition to an official meeting with the emperor and empress to show them eternal gratitude, called Choken no Gi.
The law of the Japanese imperial house states that women who marry the so-called commoners are guaranteed a dowry, covered with taxpayers’ money, with the aim of “maintaining the dignity of a person who was a member of the imperial family.” . The amount is determined by the Economic Council of the Imperial House, which includes, among other members of high rank, the very Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga. As a result of the continuous obstacles to taking their prolonged romance to the next level and the rejection that his courtship with Komuro has generated among a certain segment of the population that still sympathizes with this dynastic order, Mako has made public his desire not to charge the nothing modest sum of 152.5 million yen (almost 1.2 million euros) that corresponds to him, an unprecedented request that the government itself is weighing.
Mako and Komuro’s love story has made headlines in and outside the land of the rising sun since the couple announced their engagement in 2017. Japanese public opinion did not welcome the news that the eldest daughter of the future heir to the throne , Prince Fumihito, had chosen to be his spouse a man without blue blood, as this would imply that Mako would lose his royal privileges.
The princess met her future fiancé in 2012, when they were both studying at Tokyo International Christian University. After pursuing their university careers separately (she, in Edinburgh; he, in California), Komuro proposed to Mako in 2013, four years before they both made it public. Initially, the big day was scheduled for November 2018, but, in February of that same year, the imperial house reported its postponement until 2020 offering unconvincing arguments.
It would be the tabloid media, so aware of the most relevant issues that concern a society, which would take care of revealing that the main reason was economic problems of the groom’s family. Komuro’s mother, Kayo, owed about 30,000 euros to her ex-partner, an amount with which she financed her son’s studies and that she claims was a gift, while her ex insists it was a loan. The reaction in the palace was more than blunt: there would be no wedding until that dispute was clarified.
Komuro moved to the United States that same year to study law at Fordham University in New York, fueling criticism from many, who took it as an escape. Komuro himself released several statements to reaffirm to the Japanese people that his feelings for the princess were intact and that the plans to marry were still in place. After graduating last May, the future husband took the official exam of lawyers to practice in the United States in July, of which he will know the results in December.
Despite the fact that Prince Fumihito took advantage of the celebration of his 55th birthday to publicly bless the controversial union, the royal family has leaked concern over the fact that part of the citizenry is emphatically opposed to the wedding. “I approve of them getting married. The Constitution states that marriage must be based solely on the mutual consent of both parties. If it is what they really want, then it is something that I must respect as a father, ”said the younger brother of the current emperor on that festive occasion.
The soap opera that has been generated around the couple’s wedding has also given wings to the debate about the future of the Japanese royal family. The law of the imperial house states that only male descendants of the paternal lineage can ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne. In the current regulations (dating from 1947), in addition, an enormous distinction between the sexes prevails: women lose their royal status when marrying a commoner, but the opposite does not happen.
This old-fashioned procedure threatens the future of the lineage, which currently only has three males in the line of succession and the third, Masahito – younger brother of Emperor Emeritus Akihito – is now in his eighties. Of the 18 members of the current imperial family, including Akihito, 87, and the former Empress Michiko, 86, who no longer hold official functions, 13 are women. Six of them, including Princess Mako, are not married. The future then seems to depend on a 14-year-old boy, Prince Hisahito, Mako’s brother, and who is second in line to the imperial throne of Japan.
The Yamato dynasty, which has traditionally boasted of being the oldest royal house on the planet, with more than 2,600 years of history, and descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, pinned for the moment their hopes of perpetuating current privileges in a teenager, the only heir of his generation. Meanwhile, everything indicates that Mako and Komuro will see the outcome nautical miles apart, living a new life in the New York style.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.