Mako Komuro, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino, married a common man she had met at the university.
Japan’s former princess Mako Komuro has always been a trailblazer. Now, she's in the spotlight yet again after it was revealed she works in a museum!
Komuro made international headlines after she renounced her royal title to marry her college sweetheart in October last year. Komuro, who is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and the heir to Japan’s imperial throne, married a common man she had met at the university—Kei Komuro. She is also the first member of the Japanese royal family to forgo a royal wedding ceremony. Royal family members who renounce their royal titles are usually given a $1.3 million government payment in exchange but she turned down the offer. According to the Japan Times, she is now working at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Komuro, who holds a degree in art and cultural heritage, is believed to be curating work at the museum.
Komuro moved to New York where Kei works as a lawyer. She is believed to be interning at the Met after sources confirmed that she was not listed as a staff member, hinting she was possibly volunteering. Her background in art is pretty strong considering she studied art history at the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and also has a master’s degree in art museum and gallery studies from the University of Leicester, which she completed in 2016. At the Met, she is currently curating paintings that were inspired by the life of a Buddhist monk, Ippen (1239-1289), who traveled around Japan and introduced religion to the people. She has also written a detailed essay on a hanging scroll by 20th-century artist Yamada Shinzan, which has been posted on the Met’s website.
A former Met curator suggested Mako is likely to be involved with handling artwork and conducting research. The curator told PEOPLE, “She’s qualified and probably handling pieces in the collection.” The curator said, “In general, it’s work which requires a great deal of preparation and often means spending a lot of time in the library.”
Komuro got engaged to Kei in 2017 and marked a departure from royal family traditions. As per Japanese law, women of the imperial family have to give up their royal status to marry a common man, which Komuro did when she married Kei. But, the rule does not apply to men from the royal family. Komuro's engagement made international headlines and also generated criticism back home, with some members of the public slamming the couple and even royal family members over her marriage to a common man.
The whole episode surrounding her marriage saw Komuro be diagnosed with PTSD. The imperial family confirmed that the scrutiny and media attention on her marriage and her choice had a severe impact on her. Kei addressed the media and rallied around his wife. “I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love. I feel very sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations,” he said at the time. Komuro didn't back down from her choice but she apologized to those who felt hurt by her choice. “I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those… who have continued to support me. For me, Kei is irreplaceable – marriage was a necessary choice for us,” she said. "What I would like is just to lead a peaceful life in my new environment.”
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