Japanese Princess Mako gives up royal status to marry a commoner

Japan’s Princess Mako waves from a car as she leaves her home in Akasaka Estate in Tokyo (Chika Oshima/Kyodo News via AP)

Princess Mako of Japan has officially lost her royal rank after marrying a commoner in a union that divided the country's public opinion.

A palace official filed Mako and Kei Komuro's marriage document on Tuesday morning, and it is now official, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

They will give comments at a news conference in the afternoon but will not take questions, according to the agency, because Mako was afraid and uneasy about the questions that would be asked.

According to palace doctors, Mako is suffering from a sort of traumatic stress disorder that she developed after watching unfavorable media coverage of their marriage, including attacks on her now-husband earlier this month.

There will be no wedding banquet, and the couple will have no other rites. According to the agency, their marriage is not widely publicized.

Mako, Emperor Naruhito's niece, turned 30 three days before the wedding.

She and Mr. Komuro were students at Tokyo's International Christian University when they announced their intention to marry the following year in September 2017. However, the wedding was postponed two months later due to a financial issue involving her new mother-in-law.

Mr. Komuro's mother received money from her former fiance, but it's unclear if it was a loan or a present.

Mr. Komuro was requested to clarify by Mako's father, and he published a statement defending himself, although it is unclear whether the dispute has been properly settled.

Mr. Komuro, 30, moved to New York to study law in 2018 and finally returned last month. His ponytail attracted notice as a daring statement for someone marrying a princess from the imperial family's tradition-bound family and further added criticism.

Mako, no longer a princess, has adopted her husband's surname, a problem that most other Japanese women face because the law forbids married couples to use just one surname.

According to palace authorities, Mako has allegedly turned down a dowry of 140 million yen (£893,000) for leaving the imperial family.

She is the first member of the imperial family to marry a commoner without receiving payment since the Second World War. In response to criticism about her marrying a man some deem unsuited for the princess, she chose to do so.

She departed the palace on Tuesday morning, dressed in a pale blue gown and carrying a bouquet.

Outside the residence, she bowed to her parents, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, and her sister Kako and the sisters hugged.

The Imperial House Law stipulates that only males can succeed to the throne. When female members of the royal family marry a commoner, they must forfeit their royal status, which has resulted in the royal family's number shrinking and a scarcity of heirs to the throne.

Following Naruhito, only Akishino and his son, Prince Hisahito, are in line for the throne.

A team of government-appointed specialists discusses the Japanese monarchy, but conservatives are still opposed to female succession or allowing female members to lead the imperial family.

Publish : 2021-10-26 11:42:00

Give Your Comments