The former Japanese princess Mako Komuro arrived in New York Sunday with her new non-royal husband Kei Komuro to start their married life together abroad, less than a month after the two married and she was forced to give up her royal title.
The Komuros, both 30, left behind years of intense media scrutiny and scandal in Japan surrounding their courtship when they departed Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and landed at JFK Airport in New York City.
The pair met as students at International Christian University in Tokyo and married in a modest ceremony in October, four years after announcing their engagement.
Mako is the elder daughter of Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of Emperor Naruhito, while her new husband was raised by a single mother and graduated from Fordham Law School, according to the Associated Press.
He has a job with a law firm in New York but recently failed the state’s bar exam.
Three years. That’s how long their marriage was delayed because of myriad scandals surrounding the Komuro’s courtship, from criticisms of Kei’s ponytail to controversy involving his mother’s finances.
The intense public scrutiny and disapproval led to Mako developing post-traumatic stress disorder. The women of Japan’s royal family are subject to “ruthless standards” by the public and press. As the New York Times put it, “With the emperor and his family standing as symbols of traditional Japan, the royal women are subjected to a concentrated version of the broader gender inequality in the country, where a conservative streak in society often still consigns women to rigid roles.” Mako also turned down a one-time payment of $1.3 million usually made to women who marry outside of the Imperial Family, in a bid to avoid having the controversial union benefit from taxpayer money.
“Former Japanese princess moves to New York with newlywed husband” (CNN)
“Japan’s ex-princess Mako and husband begin new life in U.S.” (Reuters)
“Japan’s Princess Mako will relocate to New York after marrying a nonroyal” (NPR)
“How Public Criticism Has Affected Japan’s Royal Women” (New York Times)
“Japan’s Princess Mako is going ahead with wedding to commoner Kei Komuro. Not everyone approves” (CNN)