After four years, it’s finally official.
Princess Mako, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, and her boyfriend, Kei Komuro, will get married Oct. 26, a senior official at the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.
The couple will then leave for the United States, where Komuro will pursue his career as a lawyer.
It is the first official announcement that they will go ahead with the marriage, which had been postponed for years due to a financial scandal involving Komuro’s mother. The pair is set to hold a news conference on the same day after they register their marriage — three days after Princess Mako’s 30th birthday.
The Imperial Household Agency announced that Princess Mako will not receive a lump sum payment of up to ¥152.5 million. The decision came amid the controversies surrounding Komuro’s family.
The couple will not hold a wedding ceremony or related marriage rituals that are traditionally conducted for a royal marriage. Under normal circumstances, women who marry commoners and are stripped of their status are entitled to a dowry from the government, which is guaranteed under the 1947 Imperial Household Law.
As the marriage saga reaches its conclusion, the toll it took on the couple is now coming into focus.
Takaharu Kachi, an aide to the family of Crown Prince Akishino, Princess Mako’s father, said in a news conference that the princess has been dealing with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the extensive media coverage of her and Komuro. A person suffers from complex PTSD when he or she suffers from the same traumatic incident for a long period of time.
The two, who will both turn 30 later this month, met in 2012 while studying at International Christian University in Tokyo. They announced their engagement in 2017 and were planning to get married in 2018.
But their marriage was postponed following a string of reports that Komuro’s mother was involved in a financial squabble with her former fiance. The man claimed he shouldered the young Komuro’s educational expenses, while his mother considered it a gift. Komuro offered to settle the issue earlier this year.
Crown Prince Akishino approved of their marriage but the controversy shattered Komuro’s reputation and sparked criticism from both imperial family members and the general public.
Last November, the princess said in a statement that she and her boyfriend, a commoner, are “irreplaceable to each other” and that “a marriage is a necessary choice” for their lives.
Princess Mako, who spent two periods abroad studying in the U.K. and earned a master’s degree in art museum and gallery studies, has been waiting to marry her boyfriend until her role as honorary president of an international ceramics festival in Mino, Gifu Prefecture, comes to an end. Her role in the event, which will run through Oct. 17, will likely be her last official duty.
In preparation for her wedding, the princess quit her job on Thursday as a special researcher at the University of Tokyo’s museum, where she started working in 2016.
Komuro returned to Japan on Monday for the first time since he left for New York in August 2018 to study law.
He is now self-isolating at his home in Yokohama until Oct. 11 in line with the nation’s quarantine policy, which requires all arrivals to undergo a 14-day quarantine. They will reunite afterward.
In contrast to procedures in many countries abroad, marriage in Japan is formally registered after a couple or their representatives file a marriage document at a city hall. The document needs to be signed by the couple along with two witnesses, who don’t need to be present during the registration. Once they are registered, the municipality will create a koseki, or official family registry, with one of the spouses stated as the head of the household.
Princess Mako, who as an imperial family member is not registered in the family registration system, will see her name included on a koseki for the first time. The princess will also obtain her first passport, a document she did not need as an imperial family member.
After all the legal procedures of marriage are completed, the two plan to move to New York, where Komuro lives. Komuro has already started working for a law firm and will be promoted to an attorney pending the results of the bar exam he took in July.
The wedding date — Oct. 26 — falls on a taian, a day of good luck in the Buddhist calendar.
Information from Kyodo added
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