Japanese Princess Lost Royal Status After Marriage

Japanese Princess Mako lost her royal status after marrying a commoner, Tuesday (26/10). The marriage itself has drawn controversy and was delayed by more than three years due to a financial dispute involving her mother-in-law.

Marriage documents for Mako and Kei Komuro were handed over by a palace official Tuesday morning, and are now official, the Imperial Household Agency said.

“For us, marriage is a necessary choice for life because it fits our calling,” Mako said at a televised news conference.

No longer an aristocrat, Mako has now taken on her husband’s surname — a problem that affects most other Japanese women as the law requires married couples to use one surname.

This example of prewar paternalism, which the imperial family still maintains, is also reflected in Japan’s widely criticized gender policies as obsolete, including a law requiring married couples to use only one surname, and almost always the husband’s name.

Mako, who turned 30 three days before the wedding, is Emperor Naruhito’s nephew. She is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko.

He and Komuro were classmates at Tokyo International Christian University when they announced in September 2017 that they intended to marry the following year, but a financial dispute arose two months later and the marriage was shelved.

Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiancé Kei Komuro, Princess Mako's university friend, smile during a press conference announcing their engagement at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiancé Kei Komuro, Princess Mako’s university friend, smile during a press conference announcing their engagement at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

The dispute involved money Komuro’s mother received from her ex-fiancé, which was disputed as a loan or gift. Mako’s father asks Komuro to clarify the matter, and Kamuro writes a statement in self-defense but it is still unclear whether the dispute has been fully resolved.

The couple provided written answers to several questions asked by the media previously, including questions about Komuro’s mother’s financial problems, as Mako had expressed concern about responding to those questions directly.

Mako is recovering from what court doctors described earlier this month as a traumatic stress disorder that emerged after seeing negative media coverage of their planned wedding, particularly the attack on Komuro.

Komuro, 30, left for New York in 2018 to study law and only returned to Japan last month. Her hair, which was tied in a ponytail, attracted a lot of attention and criticism as it was seen as a bold statement for a commoner who married a princess in an imperial family that was firmly bound by tradition. [ab/uh]

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