Japanese Princess Mako Komuro walks hand-in-hand with her commoner husband in New York
Japanese Princess Mako Komuro of Akishino was spotted with her commoner husband, Kei Komuro, in New York.
The happy couple walked hand-in-hand through Midtown on Thursday.
Mako, 30, cut a causal figure in a green skirt with a black shirt and sweater, paired with simple lace-up boots. She tied her long brown hair in a loose ponytail and left her bangs messy.
Her dashing husband, also 30, cut a dapper figure in a black suit and blue shirt. He accessorized with a black belt and shoes and carried a light gray top handle laptop bag. He also tied his hair in a ponytail.
The couple eventually broke up and Mako went to the Amish Market, a grocery store she frequents.
The low-key couple moved to Manhattan after renouncing their royal title to marry their college sweetheart last October in a small civil ceremony.
Mako and Komuro have kept a low profile while living in a one-bedroom luxury apartment in the city, and are believed to be financially independent.
Japanese Princess Mako Komuro of Akishino was spotted with her commoner husband Kei Komuro in New York on Thursday
The pair strolled hand-in-hand through Midtown as the princess cut a causal figure in a green skirt and black sweatshirt
The former princess was entitled to a $1.3 million payment from the Japanese government after renouncing her noble status, but she refused it.
Mako, the niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, is said to have put her art history training to good use by serving as an unpaid volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“She specifically participated in the preparation of an exhibition of paintings inspired by the life of a 13th-century monk who traveled through Japan introducing Buddhism,” according to the Japan Times.
Mako graduated in Art and Cultural Heritage from the International Christian University of Japan, where she met her husband.
Her husband wore a black suit with a blue shirt and carried a laptop case
The two pulled their hair back into a ponytail as they walked through the Big Apple together. The couple have lived here since their marriage
She then studied art history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before obtaining her master’s degree in museum studies and art galleries at the University of Leicester in England.
She’s qualified and probably takes care of the pieces in the collection. In general, it’s work that requires a lot of preparation and often involves spending a lot of time in the library,” a former Met curator told People.
As she pursues a career in the art world, her husband struggles to pass the New York State Bar.
The aspiring lawyer first sat for the New York State bar exam last July, three months before he married Mako, but it was revealed in November that he had failed.
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, he phoned Okuno Yoshihiko – the head of a law firm in Japan where he previously worked – to tell him he hadn’t made it.
Komuro took the exam for the second time in February, but when the results were posted online in April, his name was not among those who had passed.
New York places no limits or restrictions on the number of times a person can attempt to pass the exam, which means they can take it as many times as they want.
The next time the bar is offered is at the end of July.
Komuro previously worked in a bank and in a French restaurant in Japan before moving to New York to study law. His father died when he was in elementary school and he was raised by his widowed mother, Kayo.
He met Mako in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo. The couple “unofficially got engaged” in 2017 and planned to wed in November 2018.
The news was initially greeted with joy in Japan, but a scandal erupted when it was discovered that her mother, Kayo, had failed to repay a 4 million yen ($35,000) loan from a former engaged, in part to pay for his tuition.
The controversy led critics to suggest that Komuro only married the princess for money or fame.
She was then seen heading to Amish Market, where she was also carrying a matching bag.
The princess was seen walking past a wall of colorful flowers
Komuro released a 24-page statement about the money, saying his mother believed it was a gift and not a loan. Eventually, he said he would pay it back, although it’s unclear if it’s ever been returned.
Despite the turmoil, Komuro and Mako’s love endured and she announced she was moving forward with the wedding in 2020.
“We are irreplaceable to each other – someone to rely on during happy and unhappy times,” she said. “Thus, a marriage is a necessary choice for us to live while cherishing and protecting our feelings.”
Only male members of the Japanese Imperial family are allowed to marry commoners, and Mako had to give up more than his royal title to marry Komuro.
She has a surname for the first time in her life after their marriage and is now known as Mako Komuro. She also had to get a passport to travel, which she didn’t need as a royal.
Mako can no longer live in the Imperial Palace, and if she and Komuro have any sons, they will not be in the line of succession for the male-only Emperor. She will never be able to return to the dynasty, even if her marriage ends in divorce.
Only three of Mako’s relatives can succeed Emperor Naruhito, 62, under current Imperial Household law, including his 86-year-old uncle Masahito, Prince Hitachi.
The others are Mako’s 56-year-old father, Prince Fumihito, who is the Emperor’s brother, and his 15-year-old brother, Prince Hisahito.