Japan’s Princess Mako formalised her marriage with college lover and commoner boyfriend Kei Komuro yesterday and forfeited her royal status as dictated by Japanese law.
he couple registered their marriage by signing paperwork at a local office in Tokyo’s Akasaka estate in the morning, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
Mako and her husband’s union, heavily criticised on the domestic front, was not a lavish affair and did not have any elaborate rituals such as a grand reception by the imperial family of Japan.
She also rejected a monetary payment of 150 million yen (€1,133,000) handed out to the female members of royal families who marry commoners and leave their family after marriage. She is the first woman from the royal family to deny both rituals and the monetary gift.
Mako, dressed in a pale blue dress and holding a bouquet of flowers, left her home around 10am after bowing to her parents, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, and hugging her younger sister Princess Kako. She waved to her parents before her car left the royal family’s residence.
Mr Komuro bowed to cameras gathered outside his house as he left in a dark suit.
The two decided to forgo a formal meeting with Mako’s uncle and aunt, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, before leaving Tokyo.
The couple, who met in 2012 at Tokyo’s International Christian University, will soon move to the US, where Mr Komuro studied and practises law.
Mako will also start her commoner employee life in New York at a Manhattan law firm.
Years-long efforts to bring their relationship to fruition have been marred by controversy and strong disapproval from the public, the press and political conservatives.
The struggle of marrying a commoner and excessive sensationalist media coverage has left Mako with post-traumatic stress disorder, palace doctors have said.
Mr Komuro has been under intense scrutiny, especially from Japan’s media. In the most recent display, he was criticised for sporting a ponytail when he returned to Japan from the US last month, as media reports frowned upon the “unbecoming” hairstyle of someone marrying the princess.
One hurdle that suspended the marriage for years stemmed from a dispute involving Mr Komuro’s mother over $36,000 she took from her former fiance to pay for her son’s education, sparking debate on whether the money was a gift or a loan. (© Independent News Service)