Saturday January 29, 2022

Japan’s princess Mako marries years after ‘pain’ of rumours

October 27, 2021

TOKYO: Japan’s princess Mako married her university sweetheart on Tuesday, but it was a low-key union bereft of traditional rituals, with the couple voicing sadness over the controversy that haunted their engagement.

Under the rules of the imperial family, Emperor Naruhito’s 30-year-old niece Mako gave up her royal title as she wed Kei Komuro, who is the same age and works for a US law firm. "To me, Kei is irreplaceable. Our marriage is a necessary step for us to be able to protect our hearts," she told reporters after the marriage was registered.

"I have been scared, feeling sadness and pain whenever one-sided rumours turn into groundless stories," she added as the newlyweds read out rehearsed statements in a soberly decorated hotel function room.

Since announcing their engagement in 2017, the couple has faced tabloid scandals and vicious online sniping over allegations that Komuro’s family had run into financial difficulties. After much delay, they finally tied the knot with no wedding ceremony, reception banquet or any of the usual rites -- opting to do so privately, away from a public that has not always been kind.

Mako also turned down a large payment usually offered to royal women on their departure, reportedly up to 153 million yen ($1.35 million), and they are now said to be planning a move to the United States.

Royals are held to exacting standards in Japan, and Mako has developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder because of the media attention, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

"I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love," Komuro said. "I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations."