This week, Japan’s Princess Mako married her 'commoner' fiancé. She will lose everything because of it.

This week, Princess Mako of Japan, Emperor Naruhito’s niece and the daughter of his younger brother Crown prince Fumihito, wed her fiancé. 

Because of this, she has now lost her royal status. 

The relationship and wedding have caused quite the controversy in Japan. With Princess Mako ultimately choosing love over royalty, some are asking whether this signals the end of the Japanese monarchy.

Watch: royal etiquette in real life. Post contines below.

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Labelled an “untypically understated affair,” Princess Mako wed her groom Kei Komuro, a 30-year-old recent law graduate.

According to reports, there was no lavish ceremony: none of the trimmings and rites traditionally associated with royal weddings

Rather, it was a registrar wedding, with legal paperwork submitted on their behalf to the courts by the Imperial Household Agency, which is in charge of state matters concerning the royals.

The princess left her Tokyo residence around 10am local time on Tuesday, October 26 to register her marriage, bowing several times to her parents and hugging her younger sister before departing. 

Image: AAP.


The marriage has been even more controversial than once expected, considering Komuro’s money woes in his family.

It was revealed at the end of 2017, that Komuro’s mother and her former fiancé had a series of unresolved money disputes, totalling up to approximately $35,000. 

According to local outlets, Komuro has been unable to convince a vocal section of the Japanese population as to how his family would resolve the dispute. 

The financial affairs generated exclusively negative headlines ever since, leaving Komuro struggling to defend his family’s reputation.

Public opinion polls show Japanese people are still divided about the marriage, and there has even been at least one protest.

It looks like Prince Harry isn’t alone in revealing the toll public life can have on a royal. 

Princess Mako has also shared that the entire experience has left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

“The royal family should exist without troubles connected to money, the economy, or politics,” said Akinori Takamori, a lecturer at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo.

“Morally, the Japanese people want them to be impeccable.”

Image: AAP.


Princess Mako and Komuro reportedly met at a restaurant while studying together at a University in Tokyo in 2012.

The pair then got engaged in 2017. They were supposed to get married at the end of 2018, but when Komuro’s money scandal broke, the couple pushed the wedding back with no set date publicised until recently. 

The push against tradition.

Earlier this week, the couple met each other in person for the first time in over three years, since Komuro left for New York in 2018 to study at law school. 

But it wasn’t just their meeting that made headlines. No, it was his hair: a ponytail to be exact.

Now in the Western world, a ponytail isn’t something many would scoff at. 

But in Japan, hair is an important aspect of one’s social standing, considered as a means of showing someone’s rank in society. And a ponytail for a man doesn’t exactly cut it. 

It appears that Komuro succumbed to the pressure however, the ponytail cut off before visiting his bride’s parents. 

Image: AAP.

It’s his open-mindedness that Princess Mako has said is one of her favourite qualities about him.
In an unusually revealing press conference, she famously said it was his smile that first attracted her to him, given it was “as bright as the sunlight.”


“It is difficult to sum it up in a single word, but Mr. Komuro is someone who always warmly encourages me,” she said to the media room. 

“As I got to know his character, I was drawn to his seriousness, how he makes his efforts while maintaining his own thoughts and strong intentions, and his open-minded response to all things.” 

Komuro shared the same sentiment when asked by reporters. But something that didn’t sit so well with traditionalists was how the pair address one another.

“She is very affectionate, and I was attracted to her by her attitude of clear confidence. I ordinarily call her by her name.”

Image: Getty.

Traditionally in Japanese culture, many consider it disrespectful to call any person, but particularly those from a higher class, by their given name, many opting for the use of the surname instead.

What the Princess was very clear on was the fact they’re doing things differently.

“I’m afraid I must refrain from demonstrating here, but to be precise, we both call each other by our first names.”


The future of Japan’s monarchy. 

Opening up about the reality of leaving a life of royalty behind, Princess Mako said: “I have known since childhood that getting married would involve leaving the imperial household behind. I came to value my own life as well.”

Those who are born into a monarchy are also born into the long-held tradition that their lives and decisions are not really of their own choosing. 

Image: Getty.

As the Queen of England said on her 21st birthday, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family.”

Yes, there is an undeniable level of privilege that comes with being born into one of the richest and most powerful families in the world, but it also comes with a significant amount of expectations and tradition. 

In the current Japanese imperial family, there are very few suitors for the women to choose from, meaning most princesses have no choice but to marry a non-royal: in turn, giving up their title. 

Listen to Mamamia's podcast The Quicky. On this episode, we discuss whether we are we over the royal family? Post continues after audio.

And it appears that Princess Mako made the choice to put herself and her love first. 


She won’t be the last to make a difficult choice either, with more women than men in the imperial line. 

Now, the future of Japan's imperial system is down to three male heirs, including Princess Mako's 15-year-old brother, Prince Hisahito.

What does life look like now for Princess Mako?

Make no mistake, Princess Mako has chosen a new life for herself. 

She has chosen to forgo the lump-sum payment of about $1.3 million that female royals are entitled to receive after they lose their imperial status by marrying a non-royal.   

The couple have also chosen to move countries, deciding to reside in a new home in New York. To do this, she will also need to apply for a passport as an ordinary citizen, something she’s never had to do.

There doesn’t seem to be any ill-will among the family however, with Princess Mako assuring the Japanese people that her parents have been involved in her decision making. 

“My parents also respected my thoughts and offered advice, and looked after me. I would be pleased if I could create together with Mr. Komuro a warm, comfortable family overflowing with smiles,” she said. 

Image: Getty.

Feature Image: AAP