The high-profile person who appeared in public for the first time in about two weeks had a completely different impression.
It was just before 8 a.m. on October 18 when Kei Komuro, 30, emerged from his apartment in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. He was wearing a navy blue suit and a checked tie. Carrying two white paper bags in his left hand, perhaps as souvenirs, he bowed to the assembled press and headed for the Akasaka Imperial Palace in Tokyo’s Minato Ward to greet Prince and Princess Akishino before his upcoming marriage to Princess Mako on October 26.
What surprised me was the drastic change in her hairstyle; when she returned from her study in the U.S. on September 27th, her long hair was the talk of the town, but on this day, her hair was slicked back. She changed from her wild image to a fresh atmosphere.
She said, “I think I called a hairdresser to my apartment the day before and cut my hair. The hairdresser she used to go to before coming to the U.S. arranged it. It’s been three years and two months since I went to the U.S. to study in August of 2006, and I’m going to meet not only Prince and Princess Akishino but also Princess Mako. She spent about two and a half hours getting her hair done.
“Honestly, it’s a shame.
It was after 9:00 a.m. when Mr. Komuro arrived at the Akasaka Imperial Palace. From inside the car, he bowed twice and three times to the 80 or so members of the press.
“It is believed that she explained to Mr. and Mrs. Akishino about the financial troubles between her mother, Kayo, and her former fiancé. In November 2006, at his birthday press conference, Prince Akishino often said that he would not be able to hold the “Nousai Ceremony,” which is the so-called engagement ceremony, unless many people were satisfied and happy with the situation.
In addition to not holding the Nousai Ceremony and other events, Mako also declined the lump-sum payment of about 140 million yen that would be given to her upon her departure from the Imperial Family. This is a way of saying that the marriage has nothing to do with the Imperial Family, but I don’t think His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino will be satisfied if the problems remain unresolved. It is thought that Mr. Komuro talked about concrete ways to resolve the problem.
Mr. Komuro stayed at the Akasaka Imperial Palace for about three and a half hours. He left just before 1 p.m.
Mr. Komuro changed his hairstyle from the long hair he had when he returned to Japan. What was in her mind? Don Konishi, a fashion designer, tells us.
“To be honest, I thought it was a little disappointing. Whether it’s fashion or hairstyle, it’s great because it shows a person’s personality and inner world. But this new hairstyle didn’t give me a sense of Ms. Komuro’s personality. Probably because her long hair was so controversial, she decided to go for a bland hairstyle. The bangs were long and gave the impression of being half-hearted. If she was going to cut it, I would have liked her to make it shorter and show her determination to get married.
I had taken a favorable view of her long hair right after her return. It gave me a wild impression. Compared to four years ago when she held her engagement press conference (September 2005), she seemed to be asserting that she had changed. He said that he had grown up through his military training in the U.S. and that he was different from the lad-like person he was four years ago. I felt that he had gained experience in New York, where he was staying, and had a strong will to stick to his own style.
In the future, I would like her to express herself more. Since she and Mako will be starting their new married life in the free United States, I would like her to refrain from trying to fit in with her surroundings. Next time, I’d love to see Mr. Komuro in his casual clothes.
Princess Mako and Mr. Komuro are scheduled to register their marriage on October 26 and hold a wedding press conference at a hotel in Tokyo. I wonder what kind of hairstyle and fashion Mr. Komuro will wear.
Photo： Kyodo News Photo by： Shinji Hamasaki