Monday, November 15, 2021
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Mako Komuro at the Tokyo Imperial Palace in 2015.Image: User:Kounosu1.
Mako Komuro and her husband, Kei Komuro, travelled to New York yesterday to start a new life together outside of the Japanese Royal Family. Their relationship had been heavily criticized by members of the public in Japan due to its unconventional nature and breaking social norms for the nation. The couple arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda international airport to much media attention and under heavy security.
Mako Komuro, a former princess and niece of the Japanese emperor, gave up her title in order to marry Kei Komuro, her college sweetheart. While Japan is generally modern in many ways, the status of women and family values are still rooted in feudal practices; Japanese royalty are forbidden from marrying "commoners".
New York was chosen because Kei has a job at a New York law firm, though he has yet to pass the New York bar exam. According to the Associated Press, this fact was used by Japanese media to discredit and attack him, despite it being common place to not pass a bar exam on the first attempt. Comparisons have been drawn by The Straits Times between scrutiny that they have suffered and that of the Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex of the British royal family.
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Yuri Kageyama. "Japan's former princess leaves for U.S. with commoner husband" — CTV News, November 13, 2021
"Japan's former princess Mako moves to New York with husband" — The Straits Times, November 14, 2021