Japanese Princess to reject $1.36 million pay for female royals, expected to live as commoner in US after marriage

Princess Mako, Kei Komuro to marry

Japan’s Princess Mako will finally marry her long-term boyfriend, Kei Komuro, and renounce her royal title by the end of this year.

Royal traditions: Princess Mako will become the first woman in the Imperial family to skip traditional marriage ceremonies in its postwar history when she marries.

  • Before becoming officially engaged, the couple, both 29, must go through a Japanese royal tradition known as “Nosai no Gi.” The ceremony requires the man to send a messenger to the princess’ Imperial household and present his gifts, as per the Japan Times.
  • Other rites will follow, including “Kokki no Gi,” in which Komuro’s messenger will announce the date of their wedding.

Money issues: Princess Mako is expected to reject the 150 million yen ($1.36 million) lump-sum typically given to female royals who are about to leave the household, a government source told Kyodo News on Wednesday. This money reportedly comes from taxpayers.

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  • For more than two years, the couple’s wedding has been postponed due to negative publicity, which stemmed from a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and his mother’s former fiancé. The former fiancé claims that Komuro’s mother owes him 4 million yen ($36,500), which she allegedly used to pay for her son’s fees at Tokyo’s International Christian University, according to the South China Morning Post.
  • Whether Princess Mako will be legally allowed to decline the money is unclear. The government will reportedly consider the idea under current rules.
  • Crown Prince Fumihito, the emperor’s younger brother and first-in-line to the throne, already “approved” the marriage. However, he believes Komuro’s mother must first settle the financial dispute to appease the skeptical public.
  • “I would appreciate it if people could understand there were various circumstances (behind the dispute) by reading the document,” the princess said, according to an official from the Imperial Household Agency.
  • Komuro reportedly offered to pay and settle the dispute between his mother and her former fiancé. The unidentified man was also willing to negotiate with Komuro, saying the planned marriage and dispute are separate issues.

A new life: After the wedding, Princess Mako may move to the U.S. with Komuro to start a new life as a commoner. Under current rules, female Imperial family members who marry commoners will have their royal status revoked.

  • Komuro, who is currently living in the U.S., earned a Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University’s School of Law in May. He took the New York state bar exam in July, the result of which will arrive in mid-December. He is expected to work for a local law firm.
  • Makoto Watanabe, a professor of communications at Hokkaido Bunkyo University, believes the couple’s move to the U.S. would help them avoid the eyes of the Japanese media. “Being in the U.S. may reduce the pressure on them and is likely to appeal as soon as the family and the Imperial Household Agency has granted its consent to the wedding,” he said.

Featured Image via Kyodo News

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