clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Japan’s Princess Mako finally got married — but it wasn’t your typical royal wedding

It was a low-key event with potentially dramatic consequences for Japan

Japan’s former Princess Mako, with her husband Kei Komuro, pose during a press conference to announce their marriage.
Japan’s former Princess Mako, right, the elder daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, with her husband Kei Komuro, pose during a press conference to announce their marriage, at a hotel in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Former Princess Mako married the commoner and lost her royal status Tuesday in a union that has split public opinion after a three-year delay caused by a financial dispute involving her new mother-in-law.
Nicolas Datiche, Pool Photo via Associated Press

It wasn’t your typical royal wedding.

On Tuesday, Japan’s Princess Mako, a niece of the current emperor, married Kei Komuro. But the ceremony wasn’t the lavish event one might expect from royalty — no big televised event or talk of the wedding gown or cake.

Instead, in a news conference announcing the marriage on Tuesday, Komuro simply stated: “I love Mako. I would like to spend my one life with the person I love,” The New York Times reported.

But the low-key event has dramatic consequences: Princess Mako relinquishes her royal status as the law in Japan requires a princess to “leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner,” People reported. This means any children she has will not be in line to the throne, which is already running out of male heirs who can succeed the current monarch, according to The New York Times.

She also turned down a $1.3 million payout that the Japanese government typically offers to women who lose their royal status upon marrying — the first time a member of the royal family has opted out of the payment since World War II, ABC News reported.

The primary reason: The anticipated marriage has faced private and public scrutiny over the last few years.

The couple, who met at the International Christian University in Tokyo, got engaged four years ago, The New York Times reported. They initially planned to marry in 2018, but the wedding was suspended when a financial dispute involving Komuro’s mother surfaced, according to ABC News.

Instead, Komuro left for law school in New York, returning to Japan last month for the first time in more than three years so he could marry Princess Mako, NBC News reported. Amid all of the media attention surrounding their relationship — Princess Mako was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder — the couple decided to forgo the typical royal wedding fanfare and register their marriage at a government office.

Princess Mako’s father, Prince Akishino, initially was against the relationship but said he now approved of the “unprecedented marriage” because his daughter and Komuro had “never wavered” — even amid all of the public attention and controversy, NBC News reported.

“I acknowledge that there are various opinions about our marriage,” Princess Mako said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “I feel very sorry for the people to whom we gave trouble. 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.”

The couple plan to live in New York, and Princess Mako — who now goes by Mako Komuro — said she hopes to “just to lead a peaceful life in my new environment,” The New York Times reported.