Japan's Princess Mako, the emperor's niece, renounced her royal status after marrying a commoner, her college classmate Kei Komuro on Tuesday, October 26. The eldest daughter of reigning Emperor Naruhito's younger brother Prince Akishino, and his wife Princess Kiko, 30-year-old Princess Mako tied the knot with Komuro in a low-key ceremony by registering their marriage at the local ward office in Tokyo.
Japan's royal laws require women to give up their royal titles if they happen to marry commoners. Princess Mako announced her engagement to Kei Komuro four years ago. The protests, controversies and public disapproval of the princess' engagement with a commoner over the years were a major blow to the union as the couple expressed their sorrow over the same in a press conference afterward. Princess Mako was denuded of royal traditional rituals for her marriage.
In a press event after the wedding, the newlywed couple sought apologies for any distress caused by their marriage and thanked people who supported them. Princess Mako was seen wearing a pastel dress and pearls. "To me, Kei is a very important, indispensable existence, " she said. "Up till today, there were only limited opportunities for me to express my feelings, and there were some misunderstandings because of that." She also went on to diss news reports about their engagement that allegedly spread false information. She noted that those 'one-sided rumours' left her "feeling sadness and pain."
Who is Princess Mako's husband Kei Komuro?
Kei Komuro, 30, who works at a law firm in New York City, was raised by a single mother. He studied law at New York's Fordham University, took the bar exam earlier this year in July, and is awaiting results that are due in December. Komuro is reported to have worked for tourism promotion near Tokyo earlier. In 2017, Komuro and his mother were allegedly involved in a money scandal, after tabloids reported a monetary dispute between Komuro's mother and her ex fiance. The man had claimed that Komuro and his mother had failed to repay a debt of about $35,000. Komuro, however, alleged that the money was a "gift" and "not a loan". Fast forward to 2021, Komuro, in a 24-page explanation, reportedly agreed to pay a settlement.
"I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love,' Komuro said during the press conference post marriage. "Mako and I would like to build a warm, nice family. At the same time, I would like to do the best I can to support Mako. Happy times, unhappy times, we would like to be together, and we will be indispensable to each other, " he added.
Interesting facts about Princess Mako
- Princess Mako has taken her husband's last name and will be known as Mako Komuro, which also marks the first time the princess has used a last name in her life.
- Princess Mako declined a $1M payout from the government, which she was entitled to as a departing royal.
- Princess Mako's parents, Prince Akishino, and his wife Princess Kiko were also college sweethearts.
- Princess Mako, cannot by law, inherit the throne.
- Princess Mako's younger brother, brother Hisahito, born in 2006, is the first male born to the imperial family since 1965.
- Unlike other royals, Princess Mako attended Tokyo's International Christian University, graduated in 2014 with a degree in art and cultural studies. She also spent a year abroad at the University of Edinburgh. Princess Mako also has a master's degree in Art Museum and Gallery studies.
- Princess Mako has first met Kei Komuro at a meeting of students planning to go abroad in 2012.