Mako of Japan marries: Don’t be a princess anymore

Status: 10/26/2021 9:09 a.m.

Princess Mako, daughter of the Japanese crown prince, has married her great love: a commoner. With the wedding she loses her status – and very few are happy for her.

By Kathrin Erdmann, ARD Studio Tokyo

The wedding in Japan’s imperial family takes place without pomp and without a big celebration. Princess Mako prevailed and fought for freedom in the truest sense of the word. Mako and her college friend Kei Komuro have known each other for a long time: “I spoke to him for the first time in 2012 at an information event at the university,” she once said. “There I was sitting in an exchange student classroom behind Komuro-san.”

Kathrin Erdmann
ARD-Studio Tokyo

The young commoner turned the princess’s head, they both wanted to get married in 2018. But then stories came to light mainly about the groom’s family: father and grandfather had committed suicide, the mother is said to have constantly changed partners and not to have repaid borrowed money.

Kei Komuro could assure so much: “I take it very seriously and know that I have a great responsibility to take the princess as my wife. I will continue to do what I can.” But he was through with conservative Japanese society – and of course with the Imperial Court Office anyway. The wedding fell through.

Princess Mako, the daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, went to the three palace shrines to pray before the wedding (picture from October 19, 2021).

Image: via REUTERS

The couple moves to New York

Kei went to America, studied law. Princess Mako would already forget him, so the hope. But there could be no question of that. She suffered and still loved. “I have the impression that many people are not satisfied with this situation around my daughter’s marriage. And I think my daughter will notice that too,” said her father, Crown Prince Fumihito, contrite at the end of 2020 and finally gave the couple his blessing .

For Mako this means: she gives up the title, waives the dowry of around one million euros and will probably move to New York with her husband, where he will work as a lawyer and she may work in a museum because she studied museum studies.

Demonstrations against marriage

In Japan there were small, silent demonstrations in the run-up to the wedding. A majority is still against it. Like 72-year-old Toshio: “I don’t agree with that. I’m sorry for the harsh words, but the partner is just too bad for her. Princess Mako belongs to the imperial family, she has to live with that. The emperor and also her brother, who will later become emperor, are there. She is probably not aware of that. “

Even young people are critical: “To be honest, I am against this marriage,” says a young man named Kanta. “I want the imperial family to stay as they are because it’s a Japanese tradition.”

26-year-old Megumi is not quite as critical as her boyfriend. She would have thought it better if Mako would have refrained from marrying, but on the other hand, she thinks she is only human. And even if she is worried about her future, emotionally stand behind the princess.

Whether someone worries or is against it: the young couple will soon no longer have to worry about that. It looks ahead, into a common future.

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