In a wedding that has raised questions about how modern Japanese royals are supposed to act, as well as gender equality and human rights inside the world’s oldest non-stop monarchy, Princess Mako of Japan married a commoner and departed Japan’s nobility. According to logic, the wedding should not be postponed for longer than three years. It forced the pair to postpone a formal wedding ceremony and instead register their marriage at a government office nearby on Tuesday.
The princess also denied the normal charge of around $1.three million to females who are compelled by law to leave Japan’s royal family after marrying a commoner due to concerns that a contentious marriage could profit from government funds. Princess Mako has changed her name to Mako Komuro, after her husband, Kei Komuro. Both are in their thirties. The former princess is the eldest of Crown Prince Fumihito’s daughters and Emperor Naruhito’s niece.
Kei Komuro, who works in a law business in New York, took the UK bar test in September and graduated from Fordham University Law School with a law degree. The couple intends to move to New York. Following the registration of their marriage, the pair added arranged remarks and then sent written responses to five questions given previously via social media.
According to the Imperial Household Agency, the arrangement was decided at the last minute, in part due to Mako’s surprise at learning that “a number of the questions included fraudulent data being supplied as truth,” as reported by the Kyodo News Agency. “I was afraid, pained, and unhappy that erroneous records were considered as fact, and that those baseless rumors spread,” Mako said, thanking supporters and pushing back at critics.
She didn’t say what the stories were about, but the focus of the controversy is on a $35,000 financial disagreement between groom Kei Komuro’s mother and her former fiancé. Takeshi Hara, an expert on Japan’s imperial machine at the Open University of Japan, observed that the presser, “It looked like the pair only insisted on their own authenticity and declined to answer questions that were inconvenient for them.”
According to a recent poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, 38 percent of respondents support the wedding, while 35 percent reject it. “Those among the 35 percent,” says Ken Ruoff, a historian at Portland State University and author of Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019, “would do well to review their constitution, which quite truly guarantees all Japanese the right to choose their spouse.”
But, according to Takeshi Hara, the desire of women and men to marry did not enter the picture until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when royal marriages were planned without regard for such matters. The first postwar emperor, Akihito, and his wife, Empress Michiko, carved out a new role for themselves, focusing on expressing care for the common people’s well-being and woes, which Hara claims they did in some ways.
“One develops a desire for humanity’s peace and pleasure,” he explains. “The difference becomes going to real people’s homes, standing by them, and speaking to them.” Mako’s decision to prioritize her personal life over her public one, he adds, appears to have rubbed some locals the wrong way. He claims that Akihito and Michiko “established something akin to a standard for how the royal family contributors should behave,” and that “it has put a huge weight on contributors of succeeding generations.”
With Mako’s departure, Japan’s royal family has shrunk to 17 members, down from 67 in 1945, and just three heirs to the throne. Despite having had eight female monarchs throughout its history, Japan is one of the few countries where women are barred from inheriting the throne. The Emperors of Japan claim descent from Amaterasu, the Shinto Goddess of the Sun.
Proposals to overturn the law and allow women to attain the throne were met with opposition from conservatives and politicians from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. While the emperor’s status is symbolic, it is an image that matters, according to Portland State University’s Ken Ruoff. “I believe it tells a lot about the stubbornness of patriarchy in Japan because the country’s image is still dominated by men,” adds the author.
Mako’s exit from the royal family has drawn analogies to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “Megxit” in the United Kingdom. One commonality, according to Ruoff, is that many royals who aren’t in line for the throne are increasingly seeing royalty as an unappealing offer. “It simply would not appear to be really well worth it to a number of the lesser royals to position themselves with the stern limitations on their lives, thinking about how little return they got for it,” he argues.
Kuhn, A., & @. (2021, October 26). Japan’s Princess Mako Will Relocate To New York After Marrying a Nonroyal | UPR Utah Public Radio. Japan’s Princess Mako will relocate to New York after marrying a nonroyal | UPR Utah Public Radio. https://www.upr.org/post/japans-princess-mako-will-relocate-new-york-after-marrying-non-royal.