Japan’s Princess Mako losing her royal status, marries commoner boyfriend Kei Komuro

Image caption,The couple spoke at a press conference on Tuesday

Image caption,The couple spoke at a press conference on Tuesday

Japan’s Mako, daughter of a monarch has married Kei Komuro her college sweetheart – thus losing her royal status.

According to Japanese law, female imperial family members lose their position upon marriage to a “commoner” even though male members do not.

She also put aside the customary ritual of a royal wedding and rejected a payment offered to royal females upon their departure from the family.

She is the first female member of the royal family to reject both.

The first woman who gave up royal status for marriage

The couple are anticipated to relocate to the US – where Mr Komuro works as a lawyer – after marriage. The move has drawn unavoidable contrasts with British royals Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, earning the newlyweds the nickname

“Japan’s Harry and Meghan”.

Like Ms Markle, Mr Komuro has come under extreme inspection since his association with Ms Mako was declared. He was most recently faulted for sporting a ponytail on his arrival to Japan.

Many tabloid newspapers and social media users felt his hairstyle – seen as unusual in Japan – was unflattering of someone set to marry a princess.

There was also a objection on Tuesday against the couple’s marriage.

‘[He] is irreplaceable’
Ms Mako in a press conference on Tuesday said, she express regret for any trouble brought to people by her marriage.

“I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those… who have continued to support me,”

she declared, according to an NHK report.

“For me, Kei is irreplaceable – marriage was a necessary choice for us.”

Mr Komuro also added that he loved Ms Mako and intended to spend his life with her.

“I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love,” said Mr Komuro according to an AFP report. “I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations.”


Princess Mako departed her Tokyo residence at around 10:00 local time on Tuesday (01:00 GMT) to register her union, bowing a number of times to her parents, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko. She also embraced her younger sister before she departed, news outlet Kyodo officially announced.

There has been copious media coverage around the couple over the years, which has triggered the princess to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) had earlier reported.

Her association has been met with disagreement in the country.

On Tuesday, people were captured expressing disapproval against the marriage in a Japanese park.

Many slogans seem to bring up financial problems around Mr Komuro’s family – precisely his mother.


Erstwhile princess got engaged to Mr Komuro in 2017 and the two were set to wed the next year. But the marriage was delayed due to statements that Mr Komuro’s mother had financial problems – she had been rumored to have taken a loan from her ex-fiance and could not paid him back.

The palace refuses to admit the delay was linked to this, though Crown Prince Fumihito declared it was vital for the money issues to be resolved before the couple got married.

As stated by the BBC’s Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, the real reason for the strong hostility towards Mr Komuro appeared to be among some conservative Japanese who feels he is not a notable partner for a niece of the emperor.

Mr Komuro – who has received a job offer from a top New York law firm – comes from very humble origins, and local tabloids have spent years discovering and revealing damaging information about his family, in addition to the claims against his mother.

Analysis: Hideharu Tamura, BBC News, Tokyo

The response to Princess Mako and Kei Komuro’s relationship by some media and people in Japan, has spotlights the intimidation women in Japan’s imperial family face.

The Imperial Household Agency has stated Princess Mako suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the harsh disapproval from the media and on social media around her engagement since it was declared nearly four years ago.

She is not the first woman in the Japanese royal family to be touched this way.

Her grandmother Empress Emerita Michiko for the moment lost her voice nearly 20 years ago when denounced by the media as being somehow unsuited to be the Emperor’s wife. Her aunt-in-law Empress Masako, suffered misery after she was condemned for failing to give birth to a male heir.

Royal women have been pressured to strictly comply to certain suppositions – they must be supportive of their husbands, give birth to an heir, and be a custodian of Japan’s traditions. If they fall short they are aggressively criticized.

This is also same with Princess Mako, who declared she would give up her royal status. Yet even that has not been enough to stop the attacks on her, her husband, and their marriage.

Read this story in Japanese here.

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Japan’s princess to finally wed commoner boyfriend

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