Without typical wedding rituals, Japanese Princess Mako married a commoner on Tuesday, saying their marriage, which had been three years in the making and had been deemed inappropriate by some, “was a vital option to live while cherishing our hearts.”
Mako’s royal position was lost when she married Kei Komuro, and she now has her husband’s surname, which is the first time she has had a family name. Due to a rule requiring just one surname per married partner, most Japanese women must give up their own family names when they marry.
The Imperial Household Agency said the couple’s marriage paperwork was filed by a palace official Tuesday morning and declared official. The couple did not have a wedding meal or any other wedding ceremonies. According to the agency, their marriage is not widely publicized.
“Kei-san is a precious guy for me. “Our marriage was a necessary option for us to live while cherishing our hearts,” Mako said at a televised press conference, addressing her spouse with an honorific.
“I adore Mako,” Komuro said. “I only have one life to live, and I want to spend it with someone I care about.” He expressed his desire to be with Mako in order to share sentiments and support one another at happy and bad moments.
“With Mako-san, I wish to build a warm family, and I will continue to do everything I can to assist her,” he stated.
Mako, who turned 30 three days before the wedding, is Emperor Naruhito’s niece. She and Komuro, who were classmates at Tokyo’s International Christian University, announced their intention to marry the next year in September 2017, however the wedding was postponed two months later due to a financial issue involving his mother.
Mako departed the palace on Tuesday morning, dressed in a pale blue gown and carrying a bouquet. She bowed to her parents, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, and her sister Kako outside the home, and the sisters hugged.
The pair did not react to questions during the press conference because Mako was afraid of responding to them in person. Instead, they offered written responses to questions from the media that had been submitted in before, including ones regarding his mother’s financial problems.
Mako is suffering from a sort of traumatic stress disorder that she developed after watching bad media coverage about their marriage, including assaults on Komuro, earlier this month, according to palace physicians.
The point of contention is whether the money his mother got from her ex-fiancé was a loan or a gift. Mako’s father demanded clarification, and Komuro responded by writing a statement defending himself, although it is unclear whether the disagreement has been properly settled.
Komuro, 30, moved to New York to study law in 2018 and finally returned to Japan last month. His hair was pulled in a ponytail at the time, and the style grabbed notice as a daring statement for someone marrying a princess from the imperial family’s tradition-bound family, adding to the criticism.
Mako had previously turned down a dowry of 140 million yen ($1.23 million) for leaving 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 over her marriage to a man some believe unworthy for the princess.
The pair plans to start a new life together in New York.
“As we begin our new life, there will be a variety of challenges, but we’ll face them together as we have in the past,” Mako added, thanking everyone who helped the pair.
“Many individuals have problems and painful sentiments while attempting to safeguard their hearts,” Mako said, presumably referring to mental health concerns. “I genuinely hope that our society will become a place where more individuals may live and guard their hearts with the help and support of others,” she added.
The Imperial House Law, which only allows male succession, has resulted in Mako’s loss of royal rank.
Female imperial family members have merely titles and must depart if they marry commoners. The legacy of prewar paternalism is mirrored in many of Japan’s archaic gender rules, such as a law requiring married couples to use just one surname, usually typically the husband’s.
Only Akishino and his son, Prince Hisahito, are in line behind Emperor Naruhito due to the male-only succession rule. The Japanese monarchy is being discussed by a team of government-appointed specialists, but conservatives are still opposed to female succession or allowing female members to lead the imperial family.