Princess Mako’s relationship with non-royal Kei Kumoro has stirred up controversy for years in Japan. Here is everything to know about Mako.
Princess Mako is a royal no longer. The 30-year-old (former) member of the Japanese imperial family married her non-royal college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, on Tuesday, October 26, marking the official end of Mako’s royal status. Under Japanese law, female members of the royal family have to sacrifice their titles if they marry a “commoner.” Mako’s decision to marry Kei, 30, has been scrutinized by many — including her own family members. Below, everything you need to know about Mako and the controversy surrounding her marriage.
1. Princess Mako was a member of the Japanese imperial family.
Mako comes from the powerful Japanese imperial family that has ruled the country for centuries. Her parents are Prince Fumihito and Kiko Kawashima. Her uncle is Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019 after the abdication of Mako’s grandfather, former Emperor Emeritus Akihito. Mako has two younger siblings: sister Princess Kako and brother Prince Hisahito. Due to Japanese law prohibiting women from ruling, Mako was never actually in line to the throne.
2. Her relationship with Kei has not been well-received.
Mako started dating Kei after the two met in 2012 at Tokyo’s International Christian University. Since then, their relationship has faced intense disapproval by the Japanese public and royal members. But Mako didn’t let the outside noise end her relationship with Kei, and on Oct. 26, over 4 years after they got engaged, the couple tied the knot. “For me, Kai-San is a priceless person. For us, our marriage was a necessary choice to live while cherishing our heart,” Mako said in a news conference before the wedding, per The Associated Press. She also apologized for “the inconvenience caused” by the relationship and said she was “grateful for those who have continued to support me”
3. Her wedding was delayed by 3 years.
Mako’s relationship with Kei was so controversial that the wedding was actually delayed by three years. The pair got engaged in May 2017 and were set to be married in November 2018, but it was postponed due to a reported money scandal involving Kei’s mother. That caused even more disapproval over the relationship from the Japanese public. Mako and Kei eventually went through with the wedding, which involved the pair skipping a formal ceremony and instead registering their union at a local government office. Mako also declined a payment of $1.3 million from the government that is given to women who leave the royal family due to a non-royal marriage, according to NPR.
4. She’s dealt with mental health struggles.
During the years leading up to her wedding, Mako experienced mental health issues that stemmed for the backlash to her romance with Kei. Weeks before the nuptials, she was diagnosed with PTSD by the NTT Tokyo Medical Center, per reports. According to the Japan Times, doctors found that her PTSD originated from high school, but Mako has reportedly blamed it on the criticism against her marriage.
5. She’s moving to NYC with her husband.
A lot is changing for Mako now that she’s a married woman. Aside from losing her royal title, she’ll also be moving out of Japan and relocating in New York City, where Kei works at the law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP. Mako had to leave her Tokyo residence to register her marriage on the day of her wedding. Per BBC, she bowed to her parents and hugged her sister before she left to marry Kei.