Japan’s former princess leaves for US with commoner husband

Japan's former Princess Mako, left, the elder daughter of Crown Prince Akishino, takes her mask off at a boarding gate to board an airplane to New York with her husband Kei Komuro, not in picture, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, at Tokyo International Airport in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: AP

TOKYO (AP): A Japanese princess who gave up her royal status to marry her commoner college sweetheart left for New York on Sunday, as the couple pursued happiness as newlyweds and left behind a nation that has criticized their romance.

The departure of Mako Komuro, the former Princess Mako, and Kei Komuro, both 30, was carried live by major Japanese broadcasters, showing them boarding a plane amid a flurry of camera flashes at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University law school, has a job at a New York law firm. He has yet to pass his bar exam, another piece of news that local media have used to attack him, although it is common to pass after multiple attempts.

“I love Mako,” he told reporters last month after registering their marriage in Tokyo. They did so without a wedding banquet or any of the other usual celebratory rituals.

“I want to live the only life I have with the person I love,” he said.

Although Japan appears modern in many ways, values about family relations and the status of women often are seen as somewhat antiquated, rooted in feudal practices.

Such views were accentuated in the public’s reaction to the marriage. Some Japanese feel they have a say in such matters because taxpayer money supports the imperial family system.

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