Former Japanese princess leaves behind her title to marry her college sweetheart and move to the US

Former Japanese princess leaves behind her title to marry her college sweetheart and move to the US
In this Sept. 3, 2017, file photo, Japan's Princess Mako and her fiance Kei Komuro look at each other during a press conference at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, Pool, File
  • Kei and Mako Komuro boarded a flight Sunday to start their new life together in New York.
  • Some Japanese media outlets published information about Kei's family following their engagement.

On Sunday, former Japanese princess Mako Komuro joined her new husband, Kei, at the Haneda airport in Tokyo to board a flight, leaving behind a nation critical of their romance to start a new life in New York together, the Associated Press reported.

The pair held a press conference to announce their wedding on October 26 after they submitted their marriage documents, which resulted in the princess losing her royal status, Nippon TV News 24 Japan reported.

As Mako Komuro left her palace for the final time, she made a public statement mentioning harsh criticisms that began to pour in when the pair announced their engagement in 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported. The public's perception of the marriage is underpinned by Japanese views on family relations and women's status that are rooted in feudal practices, according to AP.

Although Japan's shrinking royal family is believed to be the world's oldest continuous hereditary monarchy, women cannot ascend to the throne and often marry commoners, a decision which requires them to renounce royalty, ABC News reported.

Two months after their engagment announcement, Japanese tabloids reported a financial dispute involing Kei Komuro's mother and her ex-fiancé, which further fueled public disapproval of the marriage and resulted in its temporary postponement, Reuters reported.


"Incorrect information, for some reason, was treated as if it were unmistakable fact, and I felt frightened at the way these groundless tales spread," Mako Komuro said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "I had feelings of pain and sadness."

Kei Komuro followed up his wife's statement, stating, "I love Mako-san. I only have one life to live, and I would like to live it together with the person I love."

The Imperial Household Agency, a Japanese government agency that oversees matters concerning the Imperial Family, has repeatedly stated that online slander and critical media coverage of the marriage led Mako Komuro to develop complex post-traumatic stress disorder, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.