Princess Mako: The Japanese Royal Who Gave Up Her Title for Love

Princess Mako

After a turbulent yet long engagement, Princess Mako, the Emperor’s niece, wedded her college lover Kei Komuro on Tuesday. Mako gives up her royal powers and title when she marries Komuro. Her marriage also brought to mind previous royals around the world who have given up their crowns and abdicated because they married commoners. 

Mako’s royal rank was jeopardized by her marriage to Kei Komuro. She got her husband’s surname, which was the first time she had a family name. Due to a rule requiring just one surname for each married partner, most Japanese women must give up their surnames when they marry.

A palace official filed the couple’s marriage papers on Tuesday morning, and it has been declared official, according to the Imperial Household Agency. The couple did not have a wedding dinner or any other marriage rites. Several people have expressed their displeasure with her marriage to the lawyer, according to the agency. 

Kei-san is a wonderful individual in her eyes. Mako claimed in a televised news conference that her marriage was an “essential choice” for them both to live while cherishing their emotions.

Komuro expressed his love for Mako by saying, he loves Mako.  He only has one life to live, and he wants to spend it with the person he cares about. He expressed his desire to spend time with Mako, sharing sentiments and encouraging one another in both joyful and tough moments.

He aspires to have a warm family with Mako-san, and he promises to continue to support her.

Mako had previously turned down payment of 140 million yen (approximately $1.5 million Cdn) due to her departure from the imperial family, according to palace authorities. She is the only member of the imperial family not to receive the payment since World War II, and she opted to do so in response to criticism of the marriage. 

The wedding has been postponed due to a financial dispute

Mako is Emperor Naruhito’s niece, having turned 30 just 3 days before the wedding. Komuro and she were both students at Tokyo’s International Christian University when they announced their plans to marry the following year in September 2017. But, the wedding got delayed six weeks later caused by financial issues with his mother.

Mako wore a pale blue dress and carried a bouquet when she left the palace on Tuesday morning.  She bowed to her parents, as well as her sister outside of the residence and the sisters hugged.

The pair did not take questions at the press conference because Mako was hesitant to speak in person. Rather, they responded to inquiries from the media in writing, including ones about his mother’s financial problems.

Mako was suffering from a sort of traumatic stress disorder which she developed after viewing bad media coverage regarding their marriage, including attacks on Komuro, which palace doctors diagnosed earlier this month.

In a written response to one of the inquiries, Mako wrote that incorrect information had been taken as reality and that unsubstantiated rumours had propagated and that they were shocked, worried, and disappointed.

The point of contention would be whether the money his mother received through her ex-fiancé was a loan or a gift. Mako’s father requested an explanation, and Komuro replied by making a statement justifying himself, however, it’s uncertain if the dispute was already resolved correctly.

The scandal over money

Tabloids claimed a financial conflict between Komuro’s mother with her former fiance, also with the man claiming mother and son still hadn’t returned a debt of around $35,000, barely months after the pair declared their engagement at a news conference where the smiles they shared stole the hearts of the nation.

Just after IHA failed to provide a coherent answer, the story reached the media. Komuro issued a 24-page statement on the issue in 2021, as well as a statement stating that he would pay a settlement.Polls reveal that Japanese people are split over marriage, and at least one protest has taken place. The difficulty, according to analysts, is that the imperial dynasty is so idealized that even the tiniest suggestion of financial or political difficulties should be avoided.

According to Hideya Kawanishi, an associate professor of history at Nagoya University, the controversy is especially harmful because Mako’s father and younger brother, Hisahito, both are in the line of succession following Emperor Naruhito, whose daughter cannot inherit as she is ineligible.

Even though they would both be private citizens, Mako’s younger brother will one day become Emperor, so some people believed that somebody with his (Komuro’s) troubles should not marry her, Kawanishi remarked. When Mako applies for her first passport, the couple will live in New York.

Relocating to New York City

Komuro, 30, moved to New York to study law in 2018 but only returned to Japan this month. His hair had been pulled back into a ponytail at the time, and also the look caught people’s attention as a bold statement for someone marrying a princess from the imperial family’s traditional family, contributing towards the criticism.

The couple plans to start a new life in New York together.

As they begin their new lives, they will face a variety of challenges, and that they will face them together because they have in the past, Mako stated, thanking everyone who has helped them.

Many individuals experience difficulty and painful feelings while attempting to safeguard their hearts, Mako said, evidently referring to mental health issues. She expressed her honest desire that society will become a place where more people can live and preserve their hearts with the help of other people’s kind assistance and support.

Mako isn’t the only female royal for whom mental health has been harmed by threats both inside and outside the palace.In 1993, her grandmother, Empress Emerita Michiko, the wife of former Emperor Akihito and the very first non-royal to marry a king in modern Japanese history, fainted and lost her voice due to unfavourable press attention.

Empress Masako, a Harvard-educated former diplomat, has been suffering from a stress-related mental illness for nearly two decades, owing in part to criticism for failing to produce a male heir. Mako’s marriage, according to some critics, demonstrates the problems women confront in the Japanese imperial household.

Female imperial members of the family only have titles and should depart if they marry a non-royal. 

Akishino and his son, Prince Hisahito, are in line to replace Emperor Naruhito due to the male-only succession rule. While a panel of government-appointed specialists proposed a more stable succession plan, Conservatives vigorously opposed female inheritance and allowing women to lead the imperial family.

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