Japan princess to wed commoner this month despite dispute

TOKYO – Japanese Princess Mako and her fiance will finally tie the knot later this month, but no wedding ceremonies are planned.

Their marriage is not fully supported by the public because of a financial dispute over their future mother-in-law, the palace said on Friday.

The controversy surrounding Mako’s fiancé Kei Komuro’s mother is an embarrassment for the imperial family and led to public reprimands that delayed their marriage for more than three years.

Komuro, 29, returned to Japan last week from New York where he was studying law. His hair tied in a ponytail was considered a bold statement for someone who married a princess in the traditional family and only added to the criticism.

Komuro flew to Tokyo for his first visit in three years on Monday, wearing a ponytail that sparked widespread tabloid and television debate about whether he was disrespectful.Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP via Getty Images

The couple will register their marriage on October 26th and hold a joint press conference, the Imperial Household Agency said. They are expected to start a new life together in New York later this year.

There will be no wedding banquet and other rituals for the couple, “because their marriage is not celebrated by many people,” said the agency.

Mako has also turned down the 150 million yen ($ 1.35 million) she is due for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said. Mako would be the first female member of the imperial family since World War II to receive no payment when marrying a commoner.

She was recently diagnosed with a mental illness, which palace doctors described as a form of traumatic stress disorder, according to the agency.

Mako, who turns 30 three days before the wedding, is a niece of Emperor Naruhito.

She and Komuro were classmates at Tokyo International Christian University when they announced their intention to get married the following year in September 2017, but the financial dispute arose two months later and the wedding was suspended.

The dispute concerned whether the money his mother received from her ex-fiancé and spent on Komuro’s education in Japan was a loan or a gift.

Komuro traveled to New York to study law in 2018 and has been returning for the first time since then.

The imperial house law only allows male succession.

Female members of the royal family must give up their royal status if they marry a commoner – a practice that has resulted in the decline of the royal family and a shortage of heirs to the throne.

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