Wednesday, March 29

The former princess of Japan goes to the United States with a commoner husband

A Japanese princess, who gave up her royal status to marry her college sweetheart, left for New York on Sunday as the couple sought happiness as newlyweds and left behind a nation that has criticized their romance.

The departure of Mako Komuro, the former Princess Mako, and Kei Komuro, both 30, was broadcast live on major Japanese broadcasters, showing them boarding a plane amid a flurry of camera flashes at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. .

Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University School of Law, works at a New York law firm. He has yet to pass his bar exam, another piece of news that local media has used to attack him, although it is common for it to pass after multiple attempts.

“I love Mako,” she told reporters last month after registering her marriage in Tokyo. They did so without a wedding banquet or any of the other customary celebratory rituals.

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

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Japan looks modern in many ways, values ​​about family relationships and the status of women are often seen as somewhat outdated, rooted in feudal practices.

Such views were accentuated in the public’s reaction to the marriage. Some Japanese feel they have a voice in these matters because taxpayer money supports the imperial family system.

Other princesses have married commoners and left the palace. But Mako is the first to have sparked such a public outcry, including a frenzy 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 make and whether the former princess would end up supporting her husband financially.

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Mako is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, who also married a commoner, Masako. Masako often suffered mentally in the cloistered and regulated life of the imperial family. Negative media coverage of Mako’s marriage gave her what palace doctors described last month as a form of traumatic stress disorder.

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

The family has no political power but serves as a symbol of the nation, attending ceremonial events and visiting disaster areas, and remains relatively popular.

Mako’s loss of royal status stems from the Imperial Household Law, which only allows male succession. Only royal men have family names, while imperial family women only have titles and must leave if they marry commoners.

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

To complicate the former princess’s marriage, announced in 2017, there was a financial dispute involving Kei Komuro’s mother. That problem was recently resolved, according to the Kyodo news service.

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

When announcing her marriage, the former princess, curator of the museum, made her choice clear.

“He’s someone I can’t do without,” he said. “Marriage is that decision necessary for us to continue living, staying true to our hearts.”

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