Former Japanese princess Mako Komuro leaves with newlywed husband for New York

The pair have come under intense scrutiny from the Japanese media and public.

Andrew Koay | November 14, 2021, 03:52 PM

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The former princess of Japan, Mako Komuro left the country on Sunday (Nov. 14) to start a new life with her husband in the United States.

According to Kyodo News, the big move comes less than a month after the two thirty-year olds had a low-key wedding.

The controversy-shrouded relationship has regularly attracted media attention, and the couple's departure from Japan was no different.

Kyodo reported that about 100 reporters were gathered at Haneda Airport to watch Mako and her husband Kei Komuro get on the flight to New York, where Kei works as a law clerk.

The newlyweds were seen smiling at each other when they reached the boarding gate.

They first met while studying at the same university in Tokyo.

Media frenzy around the Komuros

Mako and Kei came under scrutiny after local tabloids reported on a financial dispute involving Kei's mother, who owed a former fiance four million yen (S$47, 510).

The Guardian reported that the revelation sparked a media frenzy, with weekly magazines and daytime TV shows "reporting frantically" on the issue.

Kei has also become easy prey for tabloids and conservative commentators because his family is not fully protected by the imperial household agency.

When he returned to Japan from his studies in the United States, some media outlets zoned in on his physical appearance, in particular, a ponytail that he was sporting at the time.

Pressure from the public later saw Mako, who is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, turn down a lump-sum payment of about 150 million yen (S$1.78 million) in taxpayers' money.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, such grants are normally guaranteed to any female who loses their imperial family member status upon tying the knot with a commoner.

Mako has also been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by the psychological abuse the couple and their families have received in the process.

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Top image by Kyodo News via Getty Images