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Former Japanese princess and husband land in New York

November 15, 2021

Mako Komuro has arrived in the United States with her husband Kei. Upon marrying a commoner, Japan's former princess gave up her royal status and the couple have embarked on a new life away from their homeland.

Japan's former princess Mako Komuro and her husband Kei Komuro arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport
Japan's former princess Mako arrived in New York to begin a new life after marrying a commoner, Kei KomuroImage: Kyodo News via AP/picture alliance

Japan's former princess, Mako Komuro, arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday with husband Kei Komuro at her side, as the pair prepared to begin a new life in the Big Apple.

Earlier in the day, a strobe of camera flashes caught the two before they departed aboard a commercial aircraft in Tokyo. In New York, similar scenes were repeated as footage showed the couple surrounded by security being ushered into a waiting vehicle.

Japan's former princess Mako pulls her mask down to confirm her identity at the boarding gate
To confirm her identity, the former princess pulled down her mask before boarding, just like all the other passengers on the commercial flightImage: Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo/picture alliance

After getting married quietly last month in the Japanese capital, their move to New York, where Kei Komuro clerks at a law firm, is drawing comparisons to Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who abandoned royal life for California last year.

'He is someone I cannot do without'

The Komuro marriage comes on the heels of years of gossip within the Japanese media that Mako said had caused her "sadness and pain." After the engagement was announced in 2017, media reported that the family of the princess' future husband faced financial difficulties.

In announcing their marriage, she said: "He is someone I cannot do without."

Doctors said Mako faced trauma and stress because of the media coverage of her relationship with Kei.

And Kei said of his wife: "I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love."

The couple met at university in Tokyo. They were apart for three years prior to their marriage while he was in the US.

Tokyo Airport: Mako and Kei Komuro
The couple left from Haneda International Airport in Tokyo amid a throng of mediaImage: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP/picture alliance

Uncharted path ahead 

Japanese media reports suggested the recently wedded couple have already secured a place to live but the exact location where they will reside in New York City is still not known.

Mako, the niece of Emperor Naruhito, was forced to abandon her royal status when she married a commoner under postwar succession laws. Only male heirs are permitted to ascend and be named emperor.

Her teen brother is expected to become the next emperor of Japan.

Japan's emperor remains a significant figure in the land of the rising sun despite being removed from the day-to-day decision-making processes.

ar/jsi (AFP, AP)

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