Japan’s Princess Mako marries boyfriend Kie Komuro, gives up royal status

Princess Mako also became the first lady in the royal family to refuse a dowry of 152.5 million yen ($1.3 million) since World War II (WWII).

Princess Mako, the niece of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, tied the marital knot with her civilian boyfriend Kie Komuro on Tuesday, formally exiting the island country’s royal family.

The details were made public by the Imperial Household Agency (IHA), which is a Government of Japan agency in the responsibility of state concerns pertaining to the Imperial Family, as well as the custody of Japan’s Privy Seal and State Seal.

The couple had to forego Japan’s royal wedding traditions

According to Kyodo News, the marriage happened after years of drama over a financial issue involving Komuro’s mother, which caused the pair to forego customary royal wedding traditions.

Princess Mako is no longer a member of the Imperial family and has become a commoner.

Because Japan’s imperial rule deprives women of their royal title after marriage, she will reportedly leave the family and begin a new life as a civilian in the United States.

Meanwhile, Princess Mako became the first woman in the royal family since World War II (WWII) to decline a 152.5-million-yen ($1.3 million) dowry, which is customarily given to women in the royal family when they marry.

The marriage comes after years of media scrutiny

In their thirties, Princess Mako and Kei Komuro announced their engagement four years ago to much admiration. However, things quickly deteriorated when tabloids reported on a money issue involving Komuro’s mother, forcing the media to turn against him.

A person claimed the mother-son duo owed him $35,000 and that they had not paid it back. After the IHA failed to offer a convincing answer, the controversy went to the mainstream media.

Komuro released a 24-page statement on the issue in 2021, in which he also stated that he would pay a settlement.

According to public opinion polls, the Japanese are split on marriage, and at least one protest has taken place against it.

Princess Mako’s departure highlights Japan’s lack of royals

The princess’ departure drew attention to the lack of royals in the island country of Japan.

Immediately following WWII, Japan’s royal family had 67 members. There are now just 17 members as of October 26, with just three successors to the throne including 15-year-old Hisahito.

Members of royal family in Japan
Members of the royal family in Japan | Image Courtesy: The Imperial Household Agency

Pertinently, Japan is one of just a few modern monarchies that restricts succession to men, like Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Several high-ranking political officials have discussed modifying the restrictions over the last two decades, but to no avail, despite widespread popular support for female succession.

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