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Japan’s Princess Mako and her long-term boyfriend, Kei Komuro, are entering the final stages of their upcoming marriage to the dismay of many in the Japanese public.
Royal drama: In 2017, Princess Mako, the granddaughter of former Emperor Akihito, publicly announced her engagement to Komuro, a commoner, and had the approval of the majority of Japan’s citizens.
However, soon after, the financial battle between Komuro’s mother and her ex-fiancé, to whom she reportedly owed 4 million yen (approximately $36,000), made headlines across tabloids and news outlets. The public shunned the soon-to-be groom because part of that money was allegedly spent on his education.
The dispute embarrassed the royal family and caused Princess Mako’s father, Crown Prince Akishino, to have mixed feelings about their marriage, according to AP News.
In 2018, Komuro left Japan to pursue a degree from Fordham University’s School of Law. He graduated in May with a Juris Doctor degree and took the New York state bar exam in July.
The couple’s decisions: On Monday, Komuro returned to Japan for the first time since 2018. He landed a job at a law firm in New York and is expected to live there with Princess Mako after their marriage, according to the Washington Post.
Komuro made headlines once again for sporting a ponytail and no necktie after he landed, which fueled more Japanese news reports bashing him for his appearance and concluding that he is unfit for his engagement. TikToks mocking his ponytail have also gone viral, with one reaching over 4.5 million views.
Great front page in today's Nikkan Sports, with the headline "Kei Komuro comes back with a ponytail". Crime of the century, with the evidence presented from multiple angles. I bet he was wearing dress shoes with no socks as well. pic.twitter.com/njcMxwW4pB
— Andrew McKirdy (@Andrew_McKirdy) September 28, 2021
AERAdot, run by one of Japan’s largest newspapers, Asahi Shimbun, created an online survey that ran from Sept. 22 to 28 asking if respondents would congratulate the couple. Ninety-one percent of the survey’s 2,051 respondents answered no.
While the royal status itself doesn’t grant any real political power and its members are more so figureheads who carry out ceremonial duties, if Princess Mako leaves, then she will never be able to return to her former title even with a divorce.
Still, she continues to hold on to her stance of renouncing her title and becoming a commoner, refusing all official wedding rites and being the first female royal member since World War II to reject the 150 million yen ($1.35 million) payment every Japanese royal is guaranteed when they opt to leave the family. The lump-sum is paid for by taxpayers to keep up the image of the departing royal.
The couple is believed to marry in October.
Featured Image via Nippon TV News 24 Japan
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