Komuro’s engagement to former Princess Mako, announced in 2017, caused widespread public outcry, mostly on social media and in the tabloids. One of the reasons was a financial problem from Komuro’s mother, although this has since been resolved.
Japan seems modern on the surface, but values regarding family and women are rooted in feudal practices. Many Japanese are also often jealous of people who study abroad or get jobs in international companies.
Komuro, 31, a graduate of Fordham University Law School, works at a New York law firm and lives in New York with Mako, a museum curator.
Komuro has missed the bar on his two previous attempts. It is common for people to succeed after several attempts. Of the 9,609 candidates for the last exam, the pass rate was 66% out of 6,350 people, including Komuro.
The couple did without any fancy marriage, registered their marriage and flew to New York in November last year. They met while attending Tokyo International Christian University ten years ago.
Japanese tabloids had stalked the couple in New York, taking snapshots and snidely commenting on Mako’s casual attire, which contrasted with the usual formal attire of the Japanese Imperial family.
Other princesses married commoners and left the palace, as there is only male succession in the imperial family. But the reaction to Komuro and Mako has been particularly frantic, largely focusing on his ability to support his wife.
Speculation has now shifted to how much money he might earn as a lawyer, rather than when he might be fired.
Reports indicate that Komuro’s precarious position will improve with the Imperial family, the couple may move from Hell’s Kitchen to a more upscale neighborhood and Komuro’s mother may move in with them.
Mako, who turns 31 on Sunday, is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, who also married a commoner, Masako. Masako, a Harvard graduate, suffered from depression in cloistered imperial life. Former Emperor Akihito, Naruhito’s father, was the first member of the imperial family to marry a commoner.
The family holds no political power but serves as a symbol of the nation, attending ceremonies and visiting disaster areas.
When Komuro returned from the United States last year to marry Mako, they were reunited for the first time in three years.
Mako then said, “He’s someone I can’t live without.”
Komuro echoed his devotion, “I want to live the only life I have with the person I love.”
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama