Mako Komuro arrives at New York’s JFK International airport.—Reuters
Mako Komuro arrives at New York’s JFK International airport.—Reuters

NEW YORK: Japan’s former princess Mako Komuro arrived in the United States on Sunday with her husband, swapping ancient imperial rites for the bright lights of New York after leaving the royal family.

The pair tied the knot in Tokyo last month in muted fashion, following years of tabloid gossip and online sniping over their union that Komuro said caused her “sadness and pain.” Footage broadcast on Japanese TV channels showed the couple flanked by security officials as they made their way through the airport and into a waiting vehicle.

A move to the United States had long been rumored. The two 30-year-olds finally boarded a commercial flight Sunday from Tokyo to New York, where Kei Komuro attended law school and now works.

Mako, the niece of Emperor Naruhito, lost her royal title when she married a commoner under post-war succession laws that also only allow male members of the imperial family to ascend the throne.

After announcing their engagement in 2017, the Komuros were confronted with a barrage of reports alleging that Kei’s family had run into financial difficulties.

Japan’s royals are held to exacting standards, and the Imperial Household Agency said Mako developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder because of the media attention.

“I have been scared, feeling sadness and pain whenever one-sided rumours turn into groundless stories,” Mako said at a press conference after their marriage.

Kei said he felt “very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically,” declaring: “I love Mako.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2021

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