Japan’s Princess Mako Marries Commoner and Loses Royal Status

October 26, 2021

TOKYO, Japan—Her Imperial Majesty Princess Mako quietly married a commoner in a simple ceremony on Tuesday, thus relinquishing her royal status in the Japanese Imperial Household—the world’s oldest continuous monarchy, which began on February 11, 660 B.C.

The marriage between commoner Kei Komuro and Princess Mako was delayed for three years and prompted the couple to skip any type of formal ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Komuro ended up registering their marriage at a local government office.

Her Imperial Majesty was aware of concerns surrounding her controversial marriage and declined the usual payment of $1.3 million USD to women who leave the Imperial family after marrying a commoner because she didn’t want the public to think she benefited from taxpayer money.

Both Princess Mako and her husband, Kei, are 30-years-old and met in 2012 while attending university. The former princess is the eldest of two daughters of Crown Prince Fumihito and is the niece of Emperor Naruhito who came into power in 2019 after his father abdicated the throne due to old age.

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Naruhito is the grandson of Emperor Hirohito, the only surviving Axis Powers leader who lived through World War II and passed away at the age of 87-years in 1989.

Kei Komuro works in a law firm in New York and returned to Japan in September in preparation for his marriage. He recently passed the state bar exam and received a law degree from Fordham University Law School. The couple plan to relocate to New York.

A recent poll taken in Japan found 38 percent supported Mako’s marriage while 35 percent opposed it. Traditionally, female members of the Imperial Household are banned from inheriting the throne—even though Japan had eight Empresses throughout its long history.

Women in the Imperial Household also lose their royal status if they marry a commoner, however, male members of the family do not lose their royal status if they were to do the same.

Japan’s royal family is down to 17 members, compared to 67 in 1945. There are only three heirs to the throne. There have been attempts to change the law and allow women to ascend to the throne, however, any such laws were opposed by conservatives and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan is the world’s third-largest economy right after the United States and the People’s Republic of China with a GDP of $5.6 trillion. Japan was the world’s second-largest economy from 1968 through 2010, until they were overtaken by China.

Feature Image via Getty Images

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