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Princess Mako, the emperor’s niece, married her commoner college boyfriend on Tuesday, leaving the royal family after a years-long engagement marred by scrutiny that left her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mako and his fiancee, Kei Komuro, both 30 hears, announced their engagement four years ago, to much acclaim. However, things quickly deteriorated when tabloids reported on a money issue involving Komuro’s mother, forcing the media to turn against him. The wedding was postponed, and he moved to New York to study law in 2018, only to return in September.
In the morning, an official from the Imperial Household Agency (IHA), which oversees the family’s affairs, submitted paperwork to a local office, avoiding the myriad rites and ceremonies associated with royal marriages, including a reception.
Princess Mako also declined to accept a one-time payment of around $1.3 million, as required by Japanese law, for royal women who marry commoners and become ordinary citizens.
Princess Mako, who had dressed in a beautiful pink frock and pearls, was seen on television waving goodbye to her parents and 26-year-old sister, Kako, at their home’s entrance. Despite the fact that everyone was wearing masks in accordance with Japan’s coronavirus policy, her mother could be observed blinking fast, as if fighting back tears.
Mako bowed to her parents professionally, but her sister grabbed her shoulders and the two enjoyed a deep embrace.
Mako and her new husband ‘komuro‘ will have a news conference in the afternoon, which will be out of the ordinary. Rather of answering questions that have been submitted in advance, the pair will make a brief remark and hand out written responses to the inquiries.
According to NHK public television, authorities at the IHA stated that “several of the queries took incorrect information as fact and disturbed the princess.”
As he left his house in the morning, Komuro, dressed in a pristine dark suit and tie, bowed quickly to TV teams gathering outside his home but said nothing. His laid-back demeanor upon his return to Japan, complete with long hair tied back in a ponytail, had sparked a tabloid frenzy.
Tabloids claimed a financial conflict between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance, with the man claiming mother and son had not settled a debt of roughly $35,000, just months after the two announced their engagement at a news conference when their smiles stole the hearts of the nation.
After the IHA failed to provide a coherent answer, the controversy went to the mainstream media. Komuro delivered a 24-page statement on the matter in 2021, in which he also stated that he would pay a settlement.
According to public opinion polls, the Japanese are split on the marriage, and at least one protest has taken place.
According to analysts, the difficulty is that the royal family is so idealized that even the tiniest suggestion of financial or political difficulties should be avoided.
According to Hideya Kawanishi, an associate professor of history at Nagoya University, the controversy is particularly harmful because Mako’s father and younger brother, Hisahito, are both in line of succession after Emperor Naruhito, whose daughter is ineligible to inherit.
“While they would both be private individuals, Mako’s younger brother will one day become Emperor, so some people thought somebody with his (Komuro’s) troubles shouldn’t marry her,” Kawanishi continued.