Former Japanese Princess Mako and Her Husband Kei Komuro Begin a New Life in the U.S.
Mako Komuro was a former Japanese princess, who gave up her royalty to marry a commoner. She arrived in America on Sunday along with Kei Komuro her husband, to start their new lives.
The couple, both 30, landed at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and were escorted through the facility by security personnel, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.
Their decision to reside in the U.S. carries echoes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the U.K. for California following reports of tiffs within the British royal family and relentless attention from the press.
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The former Princess Mako—the niece of Emperor Naruhito—has been the subject of intense public scrutiny in Japan since the beginning of her relationship with Komuro, her college sweetheart. The media storm intensified when Komuro’s mother became embroiled in a financial scandal, prompting the couple to postpone their wedding.
Komuro then left Japan to study in a New York law school and only returned in September this year to fulfill his promise to his fiancée. The Associated Press claims that he holds a position at a New York-based law firm, though he still has to take his bar exam. According to media reports, the couple will live in a rented apartment.
According to Imperial household officials, the princess suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the tabloid coverage. Experts claim that non-royals are less likely to be able to join the Japanese imperial family because of the constricting lifestyle they live in.
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“The standards that you are expected to uphold, in your bearing, in your demeanor, in the choices of entertainment, of education, of all these things, they’re held at a very high level that most people would find incredibly stifling,” Shihoko Goto, an expert on Japan and senior Northeast Asia associate at the Wilson Center in Washington, told TIME earlier.
A marriage also raised the issue of an imperial line in the face a thinning royal line.
Only men may become emperors of Japan, leaving 15-year-old Prince Hisahito, 55-year-old Crown Prince Akishino, and Emperor Naruhito’s 85-year-old uncle, Prince Hitachi, as viable successors.