Japanese princess marries commoner, leaves royal family

Japanese princess Mako married a commoner on Tuesday in a low-key ceremony without the traditional celebrations and She said her marriage, delayed three years and deemed inappropriate by some, “was a necessary decision to live up to our hearts.”

By marrying Kei Komuro, Mako lost her royal status and adopted her husband’s surname, the first time she has had a surname. Most Japanese women must give up their last names when marrying due to a law that requires married couples to use only one.

“For me, Kei-san is priceless. For us, our marriage was a necessary decision to live up to our hearts,” Mako said at a televised press conference, using a term of respect for her husband.

Komuro replied, “I love Mako. I only have one life and I want to spend it with someone I love.” He expressed his hope that he and Mako could share their feelings and cheer each other up in happy and difficult times.

“I am confident that I will have a loving family with Mako-san and will continue to do everything I can to provide for her,” he said.

Mako, who turned 30 three days before the wedding, is the niece of Emperor Naruhito. She and Komuro were classmates at Tokyo International Christian University when they announced in September 2017 that they intended to get married the following year. However, two months later the financial dispute arose and the wedding was called off.

Mako left the palace Tuesday morning wearing a light blue dress and a bouquet of flowers. Before the family residence he bowed to his parents, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, and his sister Kako, and then the sisters embraced.

The couple did not respond to questions at the press conference because Mako had expressed fear and discomfort about what might be asked, the agency said. Instead, they responded in writing to questions sent by the press in advance, including questions about his mother’s finances.

Mako is recovering from what palace doctors described this month as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder she suffered after seeing negative media coverage of her marriage. especially the attacks on Komuro.

The controversy revolved around whether the money Komuro’s mother received from her ex-fiance had been a loan or a gift. Mako’s father asked Komuro to clarify the matter and he wrote a statement defending himself, but it was not yet clear if the dispute had been fully resolved.

Komuro, 30, left for New York in 2018 to study law and did not return to Japan until last month. Her long hair in a ponytail was perceived as a daring decision for someone who was to marry a princess in the traditional imperial family, and it only increased criticism.

Mako had given up the 140 million yen ($ 1.23 million) dowry he was entitled to for leaving the imperial family, according to palace officials. She is the first member of the imperial family since World War II who does not receive the money when she marries a commoner, and she decided to do so because of criticism for her wedding to a man who some considered inappropriate for the princess.

The couple planned to move to New York to start a new life.

“There will be different difficulties when starting our new life, but we will walk together as we have done in the past,” said Mako, thanking everyone who supported the couple.

In an apparent allusion to mental health, he noted that “many people have difficulties and their feelings are hurt when they try to protect their hearts (…) I sincerely trust that our society will be a place where more people can live and protect their hearts. with the loving help and support of others. “

The rules of the imperial house only allow male succession and require women to renounce their royal status when they marry a commoner, which has reduced the number of family members and heirs to the throne.

In the Japanese imperial family, only males are given a family name, while females only have titles and must leave if they marry commoners.

This example of pre-war paternalism, which still persists in the imperial family, is also reflected in Japanese gender policies, which many call outdated, such as a law that requires married couples to use only one last name, almost always the name. of the husband.

After Naruhito, only Akishino and his son, Prince Hashito, remain in the line of succession. A government-appointed committee of experts studies a stable monarchical succession, but conservatives still reject female succession or allow women to lead the imperial family.


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