Japanese Princess Marries Commoner, Gives Up Royal Status

The niece of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, Princess Mako, married a commoner Tuesday, relinquishing her royal status following a heavily scrutinized, controversial four-year engagement.

The Japanese Imperial Household Agency issued a statement announcing the marriage of Mako to Kei Komuro, both 30 years old.

The couple broke with tradition by foregoing the usual rituals and ceremonies of royal weddings, including a reception, while Mako also refused the one-off payment of about $1.3 million typically made to royal women who leave the imperial family to marry.

The couple had been classmates at Tokyo’s International Christian University when they announced their engagement in 2017, saying they intended to marry the next year.

But shortly after the announcement, a dispute involving money Komuro’s mother, a widow, had received from a former suiter surfaced and the wedding was postponed. Komuro wrote a lengthy statement explaining the situation, and but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.

Komuro spent the last three years at law school in New York City, where The New York Times reports tabloid newspapers documented everything from his hairstyle to the food trucks where he bought his lunch.

At a news conference, the former princess addressed the controversies, gossip and mixed public opinion about the relationship, saying, “I am very sorry to the people who had trouble (with our marriage). Also, I feel gratitude towards people who cared and quietly worried about me, or people who were not misled by the non-factual information and still continued to support me and Kei.”

The couple expressed their love for one another, and Mako said, “As we go on with our lives, I think there will be different difficulties. But as we have in the past, we will work together and continue to move on together.”  

The couple plans to live in New York City.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse

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