After abandoning the royal family and renouncing her royal title, Japanese former princess Mako Komuro and her husband, Kei Komuro, have arrived in the United States, trading traditional imperial traditions for the dazzling lights of New York.
Following years of public attention over a small financial incident involving Kei Komuro’s mother, which Mako Komuro claimed caused her “sadness and anguish,” the couple married quietly in Tokyo last month.
The pair was surrounded by security authorities as they made their way through New York’s John F Kennedy airport and into a waiting vehicle, according to footage shown by Japanese television networks.
A transfer to the United States had been rumored for a long time. On Sunday, the two 30-year-olds boarded a commercial aircraft from Tokyo to New York, where Kei Komuro studied law and currently works.
Mako, Emperor Naruhito’s niece, lost her royal title after marrying a “commoner” in the postwar succession laws, which only allow male members of the imperial family to accede to the throne.
The former princess — a museum curator – made her decision obvious in announcing their marriage. “I can’t live without him,” she explained. “Marriage is the decision that allows us to continue living our lives while remaining faithful to our emotions.”
Following their 2017 engagement, the Komuros were bombarded with news stating that Kei Komuro’s family was in financial distress.
The Imperial Household Agency stated Mako Komuro acquired complicated post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the public attention.
“Whenever one-sided whispers evolve into groundless reports,” she stated at a news conference following their marriage, “I’ve been afraid, experiencing grief and pain.”
“I adore Mako,” her husband stated, adding that he was “extremely sad that Mako has been in such horrible mental and physical shape.” We only have one life to live, and I want us to spend it with the people we care about.”
The couple’s controversies, as well as their decision to relocate to the United States, have inevitably prompted similarities to another royal couple: Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Komuros, who met a decade ago while attending university in Tokyo, had already booked a home to live in New York, according to Japanese media, but it was unclear where in the city they will establish their new life.
According to rumors, the initial plan was for Kei to fly to the United States ahead of Mako, with the former princess accompanying him after she acquired her first passport.
However, Kei stayed in Japan longer than intended to attend Mako’s grandfather’s funeral.
Although the Emperor of Japan has no political authority, he is a powerful figurehead.
With the number of male royals declining, there has been some debate in Japan about modifying the laws, with polls suggesting that the majority of people support allowing women to govern. However, any change will be sluggish, as traditionalists are adamantly opposed.