Japan's weekly magazines occasionally take advantage of serendipitous timing to inflate the significance of certain stories. On Nov. 13, Princess Mako released a statement about her stalled betrothal to Kei Komuro, whom she met in university. Although the two announced plans to marry more than three years ago, they later put off the engagement until after all the rituals surrounding the succession of a new emperor were completed.
That cycle ended in early November when Mako's father, Prince Akishino, was officially declared the Crown Prince in a formal ceremony. In her statement, Mako reiterated her intention to wed Komuro while acknowledging that some people were "negative" about the match. Coincidentally, her father held his annual birthday press conference and the matter of Mako's marriage came up. His comment was provocatively equivocal in that he said his daughter's desire to marry should be "respected" while also implying she needed to make a better case to the public for why it had to be Komuro.
The weeklies grabbed this implied tension and ran with it, exaggerating certain aspects for sensational effect. In his regular roundup of the weeklies in the Dec. 6 Tokyo Shimbun, Hiroyuki Shinoda marveled at how cleverly they twisted the story's meaning. Shukan Bunshun gave the impression it was digging up more dirt on Komuro's family, using a headline that suggested the magazine would reveal the "real character" of Komuro and his widowed mother, who allegedly received a loan from a former lover that she has yet to pay back. Shinoda found "no new facts" in the article. It essentially rehashed matters that have already been reported numerous times.