Japan‘s Princess Mako is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to negative coverage of her marriage to commoner Kei Komuro, royal aides have revealed.
Mako, the 29-year-old niece of Emperor Naruhito, is receiving treatment for ‘complex’ psychological issues related to ‘abusive commentary’ in the media about her engagement to law-student Kei, aide Takaharu Kachi said.
He revealed the diagnosis at a press conference announcing that Mako and her university sweetheart will wed at the on October 26 without a ceremony, banquet, or other rituals
Instead, the couple, who have been engaged since 2013, will marry in a registrar’s office and then hold a press conference afterwards.
Japan’s imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying a commoner but they are given a substantial wedding sum of ¥150 million (£1million) ‘to preserve the dignity of a person who was once a member of the imperial family’.
However, in an unprecedented break from country’s tradition Princess Mako is set to turn down the one-off million-dollar payment, clearing the way for a marriage delayed for years by financial controversy surrounding her fiancé.
Japan’s Princess Mako (right) is suffering from PTSD over ‘abusive commentary’ in the media over her marriage to commoner Kei Komuro (left), aides have said
Mako’s condition was revealed as aides announced she will wed Komuro (pictured arriving in Tokyo this week) on October 26 without pomp or ceremony
According to reports in the Japanese media, the couple will also skip two formal Shinto betrothal ceremonies: the Nosai-no-Gi betrothal ceremony and the Choken-no-Gi, in which the bride offers a thank you and a farewell to Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
They are expected to start a new life together in New York later this year, where Kei had been studying law.
Mako, the daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito, met Kei when they were students at the International Christian University in Tokyo and went public with their proposal in 2017.
Komuro had proposed over dinner in December 2013, and the pair kept their their long-distance relationship under wraps while Mako studied for her master’s degree in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in the UK.
According to reports, Mr Komuro’s mother had borrowed ¥4 million, or about £27,300, from an ex-boyfriend and then failed to repay it.
But she hit back, saying the man had made it clear when the relationship broke down in 2012 that he did not want to be repaid – before later demanding the money.
In a statement issued in January 2019, Mr Komuro explained his mother had offered to repay the sum, however her ex had ‘clearly stated that he did not expect the money to be repaid’.
However, the man then reportedly sent a letter to his mother in 2013 asking to be reimbursed. After consulting with an expert, Mr Komuro’s mother then met her ex and rejected his request.
Princess Mako is the niece of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito (left, with wife Empress Masako). Her father, Prince Fumihito, is likely to inherit the throne when he dies
Mako (pictured in 2019) will forego a £1million payment to which she is entitled when she marries Komuro and will lose her royal rank, aides added
In the statement, Mr Komoru expressed his gratitude to his mother’s former fiance for providing financial assistance over the years and added that he hoped the pair could come to a mutual understanding.
Amid the furor, Mako and Kei announced that their wedding would be postponed until at least 2020 – ostensibly to ‘give us more time to plan.’
Kei then went back to study law in the US while the couple waited for the outcry to subside and for his mother to work out the situation with her ex.
But any hopes of a 2020 wedding were put on ice when Mako gave an interview saying she could not be certain when the nuptials would take place.
In November 2020, Princess Mako told how, while the couple are ‘irreplaceable to each other’, there are still no ‘concrete plans’ of when they will eventually tie the knot, and that it’s difficult to tell ‘anything about the future’ at the moment.
‘For us, a marriage is a necessary choice to live and honour our hearts,’ said Mako in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency last year.
‘We are irreplaceable to each other, and we can lean on each other in happy times and in unhappy times.
‘[But] it is difficult to tell anything concrete regarding our future plans and others at the moment.’
All eyes then turned back to Tokyo earlier this week when Kei suddenly returned to the city, prompted speculation that a marriage announcement was imminent.
As he stepped off the plane at an airport near Tokyo on Monday, Komuro was met by camera flashes, video crews and a gaggle of eager reporters.
Dressed in a dark suit with his long hair tied back, he bowed deeply to the journalists and did not speak.
He is quarantining for two weeks, as required by Japan’s border restrictions.
Mako is said to be planning to move to the United States after her wedding, drawing inevitable comparisons with another controversial royal couple – Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The couple are expected to start a new life together in New York later this year, where Kei (left) had been studying law.
Mr Komuro was working as a paralegal at a law firm in Tokyo prior to starting his studies at Fordham University in New York in August 2018.
Earlier this month, Japanese media said the pair had decided to wed without some traditional ceremonies, rejecting a payout that usually goes to female royals marrying out of the family.
The size of the payment is unknown, though reports put it at 137 million yen ($1.3million) or more.
Mako is sister to Prince Hisahito, 15, currently the only eligible male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne other than his father.
Mako, who turns 30 three days before the wedding, is a niece of Emperor Naruhito.
Her father, Prince Fumihito, is the younger brother of the Emperor and is currently the heir in line to the throne because Naruhito has only one child – a 19-year-old daughter named Aiko, Princess Toshi.
Japan’s strict succession rules dictate that only men can inherit the throne, with a government advisory panel backing the tradition in a July vote despite public opinion in favour of allowing Empresses.
It is unlikely that Naruhito will have another child, because his wife – Empress Masako – is now aged 57 and has suffered long-standing mental health issues.
That means Fumihito is likely to inherit, which could have put Mako’s children in the line of succession. She is is eldest daughter.
Princess Mako’s aunt, Princess Sayako, became the last royal to be stripped of her status when she wed a Tokyo city official in 2005.