Princess Mako’s boyfriend arrives in Japan from U.S. for marriage
Written by tokyoclub on September 27, 2021
Kei Komuro, the 29-year-old boyfriend of Princess Mako, arrived in Japan on Monday from the United States, where he currently lives, to prepare for their marriage amid a public controversy triggered by a money dispute involving his mother.
Komuro is expected to meet the 29-year-old princess, a niece of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and hold a press conference together after roughly two weeks of coronavirus quarantine, sources with the knowledge of the matter have said.
Kei Komuro (2nd from R) is pictured at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sept. 26, 2021. (Kyodo)
It is his first return to Japan since he left for New York in August 2018 to study at Fordham University’s law school, from which he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in May this year.
The couple plan to register their marriage in October and start a new life together in the United States, where Komuro is working at a law firm, according to the sources.
Their wedding has been postponed for about three years following a string of media reports about a dispute between Komuro’s mother and a former fiance over 4 million yen ($36,000) in financial support, including money spent on Komuro’ education.
In April, Komuro issued a statement seeking to correct what he called misunderstandings among the public about his mother’s financial status.
Shortly after releasing the statement, Komuro abruptly offered to make a payment to his mother’s former fiance in an effort to settle the money dispute. But there has been no progress in the case since then.
The Imperial Household Agency is planning to forgo the usual rites associated with imperial family members’ weddings, such as an official engagement ceremony called “Nosai no Gi,” and a “Choken no Gi” event to officially meet with the emperor and empress prior to marriage.
While female imperial family members traditionally receive a lump-sum payment of up to about 150 million yen upon their departure from the household, the agency will likely accept Princess Mako’s unprecedented request that she not receive any such payment, government sources have said.
Under the current rules, female imperial family members lose their royal status upon marrying a commoner. The payment, which would be financed by taxpayers’ money, is intended to maintain the dignity of former royal family members.
If the money is not gifted to Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito, it will be the first time in Japan’s postwar history for a female imperial member not to receive such a payment upon marrying a commoner.
File photo shows Princess Mako (R) and Kei Komuro attending a press conference in Tokyo on Sept. 3, 2017. (Kyodo)
Since Japanese imperial family members do not have passports, the princess needs to first create a family registry with Komuro as an ordinary citizen before applying for her passport.
After submitting legal papers to register the marriage, the princess is expected to move from her imperial residence to a Tokyo condo while preparing for the new life in the United States.
Komuro and the princess met in 2012 as students at International Christian University in Tokyo and were unofficially engaged in September 2017.
Their wedding was initially scheduled to take place on Nov. 4, 2018, but the agency announced in February that year the postponement of ritual ceremonies related to their marriage following reports on the financial dispute.