Mako Komuro, formerly known as Princess Mako, and her long-term partner Kei Komuro who was the subject of controversies and the Japanese public’s disapproval, married on Tuesday.
Their journey recapped: In 2017, Mako, the granddaughter of former Emperor Akihito, publicly announced her engagement to Kei, a commoner. It meant that she would need to renounce her royal title and become a commoner once married.
- The public was initially open and accepting of their relationship until a financial battle ensued between Kei’s mother and her ex-fiancé. The latter claimed that she owed him 4 million yen (approximately $36,000), and the former thought it was a gift.
- Japanese tabloids and news outlets soon latched onto the story and were relentless in their negative coverage of Kei thereafter. They nitpicked his every move as incorrect and conflated the money issue with Kei’s engagement, calling him a gold digger and claiming that he was using the princess.
- The public quickly soured to their would-be union and shunned the soon-to-be groom to the point of intense cyberbullying.
- In 2018, Kei left Japan for three years to pursue a degree from Fordham University’s School of Law, which delayed their wedding once again. The public then thought that he had abandoned Mako, and when he graduated in May with a Juris Doctor degree, some also thought that the awards he had rightfully earned were fake.
Rock-solid: Despite the tumultuous journey the two have endured, Mako’s parents acknowledged that the pair’s “feelings never wavered even once,” according to Reuters.
- In September, the groom finally returned but was once again met with scrutiny towards his appearance.
- Kei was plastered all over newspapers for sporting a ponytail and no necktie. A TikTok that mocked his ponytail went viral and reached over 7.2 million views.
- On Oct. 1, Mako was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of all the forced negative publicity.
- On the day of the wedding, when he went to meet his soon-to-be in-laws, he chopped off the ponytail and wore a pinstripe suit, which prompted criticisms of how he should’ve gone with a plain navy or black one instead.
- Although there were thousands celebrating the newlyweds’ marriage, there were also small protests on the streets of Tokyo.
- “Part of it is that Mr. Komuro was not very submissive to Japanese values because he went to an international school, is a fluent English speaker and quit a Japanese bank,” Kyoto University of Foreign Studies sociology professor Kumiko Nemoto told the New York Times. “In Japanese society, people like to see that people are sacrificing part of themselves to society and the group and family,” however, Kei displays more individuality and is “trying to prove himself by accomplishing something professionally.”
Married at last: Instead of a large-scale wedding, the recently-turned 30-year-olds were unified in a registry office in Tokyo and attended a formal conference.
- “I love Mako. I would like to spend my one life with the person I love,” Kei proclaimed.
- “I acknowledge that there are various opinions about our marriage. I feel very sorry for the people to whom we gave trouble,” Mako said. “I’m grateful for the people who have been quietly concerned about us, or those who continued supporting us without being confused by baseless information.”
- Mako will forgo the 150 million yen ($1.36 million) dowry given to female royals who leave the household.
- The Komuros’ union also brought about public discord about the unfair and sexist treatment female royals receive in comparison to the males. The women are expected to give up their titles when marrying a commoner, whereas the men have the household names and are the only ones in line for the throne. Concerns hang heavy as the number of male heirs dwindles and Crown Prince Akishino and Prince Hisahito are the only members of the Japanese royal family who are eligible for the throne.
- The couple will move to New York after Mako applies for her first passport.
Featured Image via BBC News