Japanese princess gives up over one million US dollars and royal status to marry her non-royal boyfriend – Mothership.SG

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Princess Mako of Japan is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart Kei Komuro this year.

Who are they?

Princess Mako is the daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko.

She and Komuro met in 2012 while studying at Tokyo International Christian University, and got engaged in 2017.

In 2018, Komuro moved to New York to study at Fordham University Law School. He has since obtained a license to practice law in New York State, NHK reported, and returned to Japan this year.

This is the first time that Komuro and Princess Mako have reunited in three years.

Details of the couple’s wedding, such as when they will hold a joint press conference and when they will leave for the United States to begin their new life, are expected to be announced shortly, according to a source at the agency.

Imperial rules

Under current rules, female members of the Imperial family lose their royal status by marrying a commoner. Only men are allowed to marry outside the family.

Women also traditionally receive a lump sum payment of around 150 million yen (approximately S $ 1.8 million) when they leave the home, Kyodo News reported.

Mako’s request to marry a commoner means that she will relinquish both payment and her royal status.

If she ends up not receiving the sum of money, it will be the first time in the history of post-war Japan that a female member of the Imperial family will not receive such a payment.

Does the royal family approve?

The crown prince has been quoted saying he approved of his daughter’s marriage.

He said:

“The Constitution says marriage should only be based on the mutual consent of both sexes. If that’s what they really want, then I think that’s something I have to respect as a parent.”

Public opinion on the relationship, however, has been negative so far.

Controversies around Komuro

Support for Komuro initially waned following a controversy involving his mother.

Local tabloids had reported a financial dispute over Komuro’s mother who owed her former fiance 4 million yen. Komuro then released a 28-page statement clarifying his mother’s financial situation, which, according to Washington Post, was not well received by the public.

In addition, Komuro’s image has also come under scrutiny and criticism.

When she arrived at Narita Airport on September 27, which was broadcast live, media attention focused on her hairstyle – a ponytail.

japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports, for example, posted a story on the front page with the headline “Kei Komuro Comes Back With A Ponytail”:

Her ponytail, according to Washington Post, was seen by Japanese society as a symbol of its “inability to be involved with the royal family”.

Besides the hairstyle, he has also been criticized for his body language, such as putting his hands in his pockets and ignoring the press.

An ongoing debate

At the center of this marriage are other pertinent questions regarding the Japanese monarchy.

This marriage, for example, may influence an ongoing debate to allow female members of the imperial family to retain their royal status even after marrying commoners.

A professor of media and communication in Sapporo, Makoto Watanabe, was also cited by SCMP highlighting questions people might have about the Princess’s decision to marry Komuro, including whether she really loves him and wants to move to the United States with him, or is she just sick of the restrictions she faces Tokyo as a member of the imperial family?

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Top photo via AFP / Getty Images.



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