Earlier this morning, Princess Mako of the Japanese imperial family finally tied the knot with her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro. The event marks the end of a long and tumultuous road to the altar that will now see Mako forgo her status as a royal, reject her $1.4 million dowry, and likely move to New York to begin a new life as a normal citizen.
In lieu of the televised spectacle that would typically accompany a Japanese royal wedding, the nuptials instead took place in the modest surroundings of a Tokyo registry office. A press conference in which the couple responded to five preapproved questions from the nation’s media served as the only public-facing element of the day’s proceedings.
Since meeting Komuro during her time at the International Christian University in Tokyo in the early 2010s, Mako’s choice of suitor has been roundly criticized by much of the country’s tabloid media for his humble origins, highlighting the disproportionate pressure placed on women in the imperial family. After their engagement was first announced in 2017, a planned wedding in November 2018 was postponed due to a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiancé, with the latter reportedly accusing the former of failing to pay back a 4 million yen ($36,000) loan, despite Komuro and his mother’s belief that the money was a gift.
The subsequent backlash, which Komuro countered with a 28-page document explaining the financial arrangement and his plan to pay the money back, led to a social media firestorm, with Mako eventually being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the scandal earlier this year. “Kei is irreplaceable for me. For us, marriage is a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts,” Mako said with unusual candor at today’s press conference. “The flow of arbitrary criticism of Kei’s actions, as well as one-sided speculation that ignored my feelings, made falsehoods somehow seem like reality and turn into an unprovoked story that spread.”