Japan’s Princess Mako to Move to 1-Bedroom New York Apartment After Marrying a Commoner

The former princess said she was “thankful” after giving up her royal status to marry her commoner boyfriend.
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Royal representatives filed the couple’s paperwork at a registry office in Tokyo on Tuesday morning. Photo: Kyodo via AP Images

Four years after publicly announcing their engagement, former Princess Mako of Japan has officially tied the knot with her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro.

Royal representatives filed the couple’s paperwork at a registry office in Tokyo on Tuesday morning, with little of the fanfare traditionally seen in royal weddings. Hours later, the newlyweds held a press conference for the first time since 2017.


“I am thankful from the bottom of my heart,” she said, expressing gratitude for the people who have helped and supported her in her life as she spoke to the public for the first time as a civilian, as Japanese law strips the titles of female royals who marry commoners.

For his part, Kei began his opening remarks with “I love Mako.” 

“I want to spend my one life with the person I love,” he told the dozens of reporters gathered in a room they rented for the event.

The marriage registration wrapped up almost four years of media frenzy over Kei’s family, with tabloids reporting that his mother received $36,000 from her former fiancé that she did not repay. Detractors seized on the reports to paint Kei as a money grabber and questioned his motives.

The intense media scrutiny not only delayed their marriage but also contributed to Mako’s PTSD. Uncertainty loomed over the pair, but in the hours since the ink dried on their official marital papers, the couple expressed their intentions of moving on—and out of Japan.

“We will be starting a new life together. Though we’ll experience hardships of a different kind, we’d like to combine our strengths and walk this path together—just as we’ve always done,” Mako said. 

After apologizing for the “trouble” caused in relation to their marriage, Kei went on to thank those who backed the couple. “The reason I’ve been able to maintain this desire of sharing my future with Mako is because of her, and the people who have supported us,” the 30-year-old Fordham Law graduate said. 


To marry her college sweetheart, Mako gave up her royal title and all the perks that came with it, such as attending exclusive cultural events and meeting foreign dignitaries. Any children she may have won’t be considered part of the imperial family either. She also turned down a $1.4 million lump sum payment given to female members stripped of their status and declined the traditional royal ceremony.

To avoid distressing questioning from the press, the couple gave written answers to five questions submitted ahead of time from reporters.

The newlyweds stated they planned to build a warm and peaceful household together, although Mako said she was worried the backlash would continue.

She also said her mental health hadn’t entirely recovered from the negative press coverage, though her husband was supporting her through such difficult times.

Though the newlyweds didn’t detail where they’d live, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the two planned to move into a Tokyo apartment together before moving to New York City. After graduating from law school in May, Kei has been working at a law firm in New York as a law clerk. The broadcaster added that the two would live in a single bedroom apartment, and both would have jobs to financially support themselves. Mako previously lived in the Akasaka Estate, an imperial residence in Tokyo.

In response to questions about doing a televised interview like Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had, the ex-princess said she had no plans to do so, and was “saddened” that her engagement was covered in Japanese media as a scandal. 

“I believe the reason why our engagement became so controversial is because incorrect information was somehow taken up as if it were an undisputed fact, and it spread as a baseless story. This was a painful and sad experience, as well as a scary one,” Mako said. 

But above it all, she chose love. “He’s irreplaceable,” said the former princess, now Mako Komuro.

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