(translated from Japanese with Deepl.com; I hope the few small alterations I made are correct)
I wonder if there has evern been such a low-key royal wedding as the one of Kei Komuro and Princess Mako of Akishino on 26 October 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, exactly one month ago. The traditional ceremonies didn’t take place. except for visits to mausoleums of her ancestors. Mako also said goodbye in person to her grandparents Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, and to her uncle and aunt Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. From what I understood there wasn’t even a ceremony, which would be unthinkable in The Netherlands and many other countries. The Imperial Household Agency simply submitted the marriage registration around 10am, without the couple being present. And around the same time Mako, now merely Mako Komuro, left the residence at the Akasaka Estate, that had been her home for 30 years, and said goodbye to her parents and her younger sister Princess Kako, who was the only one to hug Mako. She also visited her sister as soon as she had arrived at her hotel.
Statement of the Crown Princely couple
Today, our eldest daughter, Mako, got married.
Since we first announced that they were getting married, something unexpected has happened. We have received many suggestions, concerns and objections from those around us. It has also had a considerable impact on the Imperial Family. We sincerely apologise to all those who have been inconvenienced.
Today, they submitted their marriage registration and it was accepted. From the moment they started thinking about marriage until today, despite all the difficulties they have faced, they have never wavered in our thoughts. The fact that last year I (Fumihito) said in a press conference that I approve of their marriage is also due to the fact that they have always been consistent in their thoughts. I hope that they will continue to cherish the feelings they have had and that they will build a happy family together in their own way.
This has been an unprecedented marriage for the Imperial Family. However, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who have quietly watched over us in the midst of all this, and to those who have supported us directly and indirectly.
Statement of Princess Kako
My sister has been and will always be very important to me. I have had a lot of fun with her, and I have often felt saved thanks to her presence. I am sincerely grateful to her. I am also grateful to Kei Komuro for the importance he places on my sister.
I was also very saddened by the fact that false information about the marriage was reported as if it were true, and that there was a lot of slander. Despite all this, I have watched closely how my sister and Kei Komuro have supported each other. I am delighted that they have been able to marry today.
From now on, I sincerely hope that my sister, Kei Komuro and Kei Komuro’s family will be able to spend peaceful days together.
Afterwards there was a press conference at 2pm at the at Grand Arc Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Around 50 representatives of the media were allowed to attend the press conference of the newly weds in person. Questions for the couple were however submitted in advance. Some of the questions received were premised on “unfounded stories”, which shocked Kei and Mako, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by critical press coverage, and it was said that answering them personally could only lead to further misunderstanding. The opening statement was made in person by Kei and Mako. The couple only stayed for about ten minutes.
In her opening remarks Mako thanked everybody who has supported her and Kei. She also said, she has fulfilled her responsibilities as a member of the Japanese imperial family to the best of her ability. She feels sorry that there were people who felt distressed about the marriage. Mako stated that: “Kei is indispensable for me. And fur us, marriage is a necessary choice as we listen to and protect our hearts and feelings.” Kei told the media representatives that he loves Mako. He also stated: “You only live once, and I think that my wish is to live my life together with someone that I love.” Also Kei apologized for the distress he might have caused to people.
Mako said that she hasn’t been able to make a lot of public statements about her relationship. She says that since their engagement Kei hasn’t made his own decisions. Mako herself has advised in the financial trouble between Kei’s mother and her ex-fiancé. She asked him also to go abroad and create a base for them there. He was, according to Mako, not acting for his own convenience. Kei thanked his mother’s ex-fiancé again for his financial support and as his mother s suffering of psychological stress he is the one who tries to resolve the issue right now. Mako is looking forward walking together side by side.
What are the couple’s feelings about the marriage?
(Mako) At the moment, I am relieved to be able to get married. We have always been supported by each other and by the people who have always encouraged and supported us. I would like to keep your words about our marriage and how I have received them in my heart and mind.
(Kei) I hadn’t seen Mako for three years, so when I came back to Japan and was able to meet her, I was very happy. I am also very happy that we are married today. We have been apart for a long time, but I am grateful that Mako has kept the same feelings for me. What has been my emotional support is that I have been able to share many feelings with Mako through our daily contact.
What are Mako’s feelings about leaving the family?
(Mako) It has not been long since I left the Imperial Family this morning. The feeling of being a civilian will probably be felt at the earliest after this day and tomorrow. It is very difficult to answer how I feel in just a few hours. For me, my position as a member of the Imperial Family has been made possible with the help, care, support and warmth of so many people. The time I have spent as a member of the Imperial Family has been coloured by many encounters. Each memory is a treasure, and it is unlikely that I will be able to choose a particular memory.
As for my future, I would like to refrain from answering this question, as it is a personal matter, but I hope that I will be able to build a warm family in an environment where I can spend my time in peace. However, this is not a decision that has been made in consultation with you. I hope that we will be able to live in peace from now on. As I am entering a new environment, there are many things to worry about. If I had to pick one of my biggest fears, it would be that there will continue to be slander against me, my family, Mr. Kei and Mr. Kei’s family. As for your question about how Kei and I, as a former member of the Imperial Family and her husband, intend to be involved with the Imperial Family, all I can tell you is that, as a person, I would like to wish the members of the Imperial Family every happiness.
(Kei) As I live with Mako from now on, I would like to cherish each day and create a warm family. I would also like to continue to devote myself to creating an environment in which Mako feels comfortable. I have always felt this way since the beginning of our relationship. As for your last question, I feel the same way as Mako.
Crown Prince Fumihito earlier asked Kei Komuro to “respond in a reasonable manner” and “in a visible way” concerning the financial issue. How do they feel about the negative reactions to their marriage?
(Mako) How we responded to my father’s request is reflected in how we have responded since then. We have done our best to respond to his request, but the extent to which we have done so is for the reader to judge. As for the negative media reports and internet postings, we were terrified that false information would somehow be taken as if it were an unquestionable fact and spread as an unspeakable story. I decided to go public with my Complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because of my marriage. My current health condition is not good by any means, but with the help of those around me I have managed to stay alive to this day. Kei is also concerned about my health and has been supporting me.
(Kei) I have done my best to deal with the situation, but I don’t think it is for me to judge the extent to which I have been able to respond. I am aware that there are some negative thoughts about our marriage, but I would like to cherish the life we are about to begin together. I would like to do everything I can to support Mako, so that her health improves as soon as possible.
(i) The financial trouble of Kei’s mother has not been resolved, (ii) furthermore Kei’s career has been perceived as “using the Imperial Family”. What is their reaction?
(Mako) I think that this question could give the impression that false information is true. The thought of answering such a question orally in the hall would rekindle fears and cause further psychological trauma, making it impossible for me to answer the question orally. I regret that you have asked questions that may give the impression that false information is true. I would like to answer the questions related to (i). As I have already told you, I have asked him to take the direction I have asked him to take in dealing with Mr Kei’s mother’s former fiancé. There were a number of specific pieces of advice, but I cannot list them here, so I will refrain from answering them. I am sure that each of you will have your own feelings about “conviction and blessing”. However, we are grateful to all those who have supported us and blessed us with this day, despite the difficult circumstances. We are also grateful that Kei, who has been subjected to many harsh and unfounded criticisms, has kept his intention to marry me. If he had given up on marrying me, he would not have been subjected to so much unfounded criticism over the past few years. I would like to answer the question related to (ii). There is no evidence that Kei attempted to enroll at Fordham University as a “fiancé”.
(Kei) As for the questions related to (i), some of the answers overlap with what I told you in “Thoughts on the events so far”. With regard to the alleged financial trouble between my mother and her former fiancé, the details of the situation are as I announced in April this year. My mother and I have thanked her ex-fiancé for his support at various times, as I wrote in my public statement, and we are still grateful to him. The discussions between my mother and her ex-fiancé have been conducted through a journalist from a weekly magazine who was appointed by the ex-fiancé. The person who dealt with this journalist was my mother’s lawyer. In April of this year, I suggested that we settle the case by giving him a settlement, and he replied that it was important for him to meet with my mother. However, my mother is suffering from mental health problems and has been put on doctor’s orders to see her ex-fiancé. Therefore, I wanted to deal with the situation on her behalf and informed her of this through her lawyer. I have received a positive response from her ex-fiancée through the weekly journalist who is our contact. I will do everything I can to help resolve the matter. I have not changed my mind about receiving the settlement money. As for the fraudulent receipt of the survivor’s pension, there is no such fact.
I will answer the questions related to (2). There is no evidence that I have made use of the Imperial Family. There is no “special treatment as a fiancé”. Fordham University’s admission policy states that applicants must have a law degree as well as an equivalent legal education. In my case, my application was accepted because Fordham University School of Law accepted law studies that I had completed prior to entering law school. The full-tuition scholarship was based on an overall evaluation of my application, including the grades I submitted. At no time during the admissions process was I informed that I was “Princess Mako’s fiancé”. I did explain to the University after the decision had been made that there was a possibility that the Japanese media might contact the University and this might cause some inconvenience. As for the statement on the university’s website, it was a decision made by the university based on the totality of the circumstances.
How do you feel about Mako being compared to and scandalized by Princess Meghan?
(Mako) This question was asked in both the English and Japanese versions. The word scandal used in the English question can also mean a scandal, but for the purposes of our answer we will assume that scandal means controversy. We believe that the controversy arose because misinformation was somehow taken as if it were an unquestionable fact and spread as an unjustified story. This has been frightening, painful and sad. I don’t have any particular thoughts about the comparison. As well as answering your earlier question, I would like to refrain from answering any questions about my personal life in the future, but at the moment I am not thinking of giving an interview. I would like to lead a peaceful life in my new environment.
See for a more extensive document in English here.
Reactions in Japan
What happened afterwards?
For a while Kei and Komuro stayed in an apartment in Tokyo, until Mako received her personal passport. The Imperial Household Agency has asked on her behalf to leave them alone, as she is now a private person and no longer a member of the Japanese imperial family. The couple has left Japan for New York on 14 November 2021. Kei Komuro is employed at a New York law firm as an articled clerk. He graduated from Fordham University’s law school earlier this year. However he failed the New York state bar exam in July 2021, which became known days after the wedding. On 13 November it was announced that Kei had settled the financial issue with his mother’s ex-fiancé.