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Japanese Princess Mako Gave up Royal Title & Money to Marry Her Sweetheart ⁠— She Now Works at a NYC Museum

Oyin Balogun
Jul 25, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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Mako Komuro, a Japanese princess, only wished to live an everyday life despite being born into a royal family. Mako chose her love over royal title and affluence. Learn how it all turned out.

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Mako Komuro was born in 1991 into the Japanese royal family. She is the first child of her parents and the first granddaughter of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. She is also Emperor Naruhito's niece.

Expectedly, being blue blood puts her life under constant scrutiny, even though it was believed that she would never ascend the throne from birth. It never hindered the expectations of her family and the eagle-eyed public— ever on standby to report every action.

Japanese Princess Mako speaks at a luncheon to welcome her held at a community hall in San Juan, Bolivia, on July 18, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Japanese Princess Mako speaks at a luncheon to welcome her held at a community hall in San Juan, Bolivia, on July 18, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

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In 2004, after rocking a sailor-themed outfit to an event, Mako went viral. Fans creatively edited her photo, and it received uncountable views and comments from the online community.

As a Japanese royal, she understood her duties to the people, and whenever the need arose, Mako acted remarkably. In 2011, as a young adult, she volunteered to help the people affected by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

Apart from performing her obligations, Mako demonstrated that she is a beauty with brains. She studied at various universities, proving her interest in acquiring knowledge and broadening her horizons.

Princess Mako of Akishino speaks with finger language at the opening ceremony of the National High School Student Finger Language Contest at Yurakucho Asahi Hall on August 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino speaks with finger language at the opening ceremony of the National High School Student Finger Language Contest at Yurakucho Asahi Hall on August 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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During her knowledge acquisition, Mako found her prince charming, Kei Komuro. Although he is not a royal, she chose to settle with him, against the wishes of many critics.

Mako's beau works as a lawyer in a Lowenstein Sandler law firm, an indigenous law firm in the US after he bagged his law degree from Fordham University in New York.

Princess Mako of Akishino attends the Japan Traditional Crafts Award Ceremony on September 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino attends the Japan Traditional Crafts Award Ceremony on September 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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The pair met in 2012 at a restaurant while studying at Tokyo's International Christian University. Mako admitted that his demeanor smote her. "First, I was attracted by his bright smiles like the sun," she said.

However, after a little investigation—probably a friendship, she understood his personality and scored him a hundred. Mako knew he was "a sincere, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart."

MAKO AND KEI BECOME INSEPARABLE

Princess Mako of Akishino attends the Japan Traditional Crafts Award Ceremony on September 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino attends the Japan Traditional Crafts Award Ceremony on September 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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Mako and Kei were meant to be from the start, and they knew it— even though they were tight-lipped about their romance. A year after their relationship began, Kei proposed to his lover during dinner, and they continued dating without any media intrusion because it was a secret!

The couple maintained their long-distance relationship while Mako studied for her master's overseas. After she graduated from England's Leicester University in 2016, the news of their involvement became public knowledge. In 2017, the pair appeared publicly and shared plans for their future wedding.

Everyone looked out for a wedding the following year, but it never happened. Instead, the Imperial Household stated that the union had been postponed until 2020.

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Princess Mako of Akishino visits the Fukuroda Falls on October 7, 2019 in Daigo, Ibaraki, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino visits the Fukuroda Falls on October 7, 2019 in Daigo, Ibaraki, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Reportedly, the postponement was announced after the tabloids published a story about her fiancé—controversy stirred between Kei's mom and her former lover as he alleged to have funded the lawyer's education.

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Surprisingly, in 2020, there was still no wedding. This marked the second postponement. As for the first, Mako's excuse was that they were immature. The second time, it took the princess months before she addressed the situation—she explained that she had reviewed things and received her parents' blessings.

Finally, in October 2021, Mako visited a registry office in Tokyo to wed the love of her life. Although the event was not flooded with cameras, dignitaries, or any formalities of a royal wedding, the couple were happy to be joined as one.

Princess Mako of Akishino talks with guests at the arrive at Shinhama Kamoba (Shinhama Imperial Wild Duck Preserve) on December 17, 2019 in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino talks with guests at the arrive at Shinhama Kamoba (Shinhama Imperial Wild Duck Preserve) on December 17, 2019 in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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Moments later, during a conference, Kei confidently looked into the camera while he affirmed his love for the princess. He said, "I love Mako. I would like to spend my one life with the person I love."

Apart from spending their time as lovebirds, the couple intends to build a family. The Fordham University graduate declared, "Mako and I would like to build a warm, nice family."

Princess Mako of Akishino talks with guests at the arrive at Shinhama Kamoba (Shinhama Imperial Wild Duck Preserve) on December 17, 2019 in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino talks with guests at the arrive at Shinhama Kamoba (Shinhama Imperial Wild Duck Preserve) on December 17, 2019 in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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To Mako, it did not matter the cost at which this would happen. The princess, whose love story ushered in a life of regular backlash and disapproval, remained steadfast. She prepared to have a family with Kei. In her words:

"Having a family still goes beyond my imagination, but I hope to make one that is warm, comfortable and filled with smiles."

MAKO'S SACRIFICES FOR HER LOVE

Princess Mako attends a press conference to announce her marriage registration at Grand Arc Hotel on October 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako attends a press conference to announce her marriage registration at Grand Arc Hotel on October 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

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Mako's decision to marry a non-royal attracted consequences: but she was ready for them. As a Japanese princess, marrying a commoner meant she would be stripped of her royal title.

Mako not only gave up her royal title for true love but also refused to accept the Japanese government's $1.3 million customary payout.

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In the past, such payments were presented to women who abdicated the throne following their marriage to a commoner. Mako became the first woman to turn down the large sum.

Another consequence they endured was the harsh words from naysayers. Many criticized Kei's decision to be with the royal, especially after the controversy about who funded his education. Critics believed his marriage was fueled by desperation and another avenue to make money.

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Despite being in love for the right reasons, the princess was scarred mentally and even suffered PTSD. Thankfully, the pair have remained optimistic and supportive of each other, defending their names in the media. Kei said:

"I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations."

LIFE AFTER THEIR WEDDING

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Living without the royal staff at her beck and call or not being scheduled for royal duties and obligations is Mako's new normal. She chose a life of love instead of her childhood lifestyle filled with glamour and comfort.

Following her marriage to Kei, she redefined her comfort by moving into a concise apartment with her husband. It was not an estate in Beverly Hills but a one-bedroom luxury apartment near Central Park, where pay is $4,300 monthly.

Ever since relocating to the US, Mako has settled down nicely. She has been spotted shopping from a regular store and even wears casual outfits. Ultimately, the princess has no problem behaving like a non-royal!

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Princess Mako of Akishino, and Kei Komuro (R) are seen as they leave the hotel after a press conference on October 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Princess Mako of Akishino, and Kei Komuro (R) are seen as they leave the hotel after a press conference on October 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan | Source: Getty Images

Reportedly, the couple lives without financial support from the royal family and possibly no significant funds from the princess. Although Mako has a job with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she works for free to support the museum's Asian art department.

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This is not her first time working in a museum. Back in Tokyo, during her days as a royal, she served as a special researcher at the University of Tokyo's Museum.

Japans former princess Mako Komuro, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, walks to the departure gate for her flight to New York with her husband Kei Komuro at Tokyo's Haneda international airport on November 14, 2021 | Source: Getty Images

Japans former princess Mako Komuro, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, walks to the departure gate for her flight to New York with her husband Kei Komuro at Tokyo's Haneda international airport on November 14, 2021 | Source: Getty Images

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During her time there, a former curator praised her work ethic. "She's qualified and probably handling pieces in the collection. In general, it's work which requires a great deal of preparation and often means spending a lot of time in the library," the source opined.

Despite the criticism Mako faced, she has proven to be a fighter and a hardworking woman ready to earn her way up. But on the journey, she chose to have the love of her life by her side!

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