Mako Komuro and her husband Kei finally landed in New York on November 14. Mako appeared at John F. Kennedy Airport just after 11:00 a.m. and walked briskly with her long hair uncombed. The hair on the back of her head was a little disheveled, but she didn’t seem to mind. At the exit of the airport, where the sun was shining brightly, he smiled, which he had not shown when he left Haneda Airport. Before getting into the car, he repeatedly bowed to the officials with an even brighter smile.
It was not just an archaic smile with the corners of his mouth turned up, but his eyes were beaming. I wondered what she was feeling in the New York sunshine. Did she feel that her four years of hard work had paid off, or did she think about the rest of her life?
“Now I’m free!”
I wonder if she felt that way.
It had been a long time. It had been four years since they had made an offer of marriage, and they were now twenty-six years old and had just turned thirty.
They had already been together for five years when they made the offer, so they had spent their twenties betting on this love. Three months after the unofficial engagement press conference, Kei’s mother and her ex-fiancee were reported to be having financial troubles, and their plans were thrown into disarray.
Two years passed without any concrete moves, but things changed when Mako sent out a document in November 2008.
The document, “Marriage is a necessary choice for us to live our lives while carefully protecting our hearts,” contained her thoughts and her determination to carry out this marriage no matter what. In response, His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino referred to the provision of the Constitution which states that marriage is based solely on the “consent of both sexes. It seems that he has landed on the conclusion that marriage must be recognized, even though the “Noh-ai-no-gi,” an event for the royal family, cannot be performed.
His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino also said, “We are not in a situation where many people are satisfied and happy. His feelings as a father were mixed with his feelings as a member of the Imperial Family, which survives solely on the support of the people, so to speak, as a “public figure. It must have been hard for Prince Akishino. It may have been a difficult decision for him.
Mako, on the other hand, accepted his “words as a father” and went ahead with the marriage. In September of this year, media outlets reported that the two were planning to get married within the year. Then, in October, the Imperial Household Agency officially announced the marriage. This shows just how much coordination has gone on behind the scenes.
At the same time, it was announced that Mako has complex PTSD.
After it was reported that they were going to get married, the bashing against them intensified to the maximum. Violent comments from some of the public were all over the Internet, referring to the fact that they were getting married with financial problems (which is the mother’s problem), the taxes that would be thrown at them, and even the parenting of Prince and Princess Akishino.
I did my best to protect the man I love.
In the midst of such a storm, the couple submitted their marriage registration on the 26th. “Mako became Mako Komuro, and at the press conference, they spoke sincerely about their feelings. Some people accused her of being childish, as she spoke as if she were reading documents to each other. Even so, Mako repeated herself. In spite of this, Mako repeated that Kei was an irreplaceable person for her and that marriage was a necessary choice for them.
She confessed that it was her wish for Kei to move up his studies in the U.S., and that she had asked him to move in the direction she intended regarding the financial issues. I could see Mako’s enthusiasm, desperately wanting to protect Kei at all costs.
It was a love that had cost her everything in her twenties. No matter how bad she became, she wanted to get married anyway. And she wanted to leave the Imperial Family and settle down in America. I think she wanted to live among people who didn’t know her face.
After their marriage, they were immediately faced with difficulties. Kei’s failure to pass the New York State bar exam and the death of her maternal grandfather. The media and the public have been paying attention to their every move. The public’s attention is focused on Mako, who is forced to go out for her grandfather’s funeral and homecoming.
Nevertheless, they have been married for less than three weeks, and they must have made a lot of effort in their own way. Two days before she left for the U.S., Kei met with her mother’s former fiancé to decide how to resolve the financial issues that had triggered the series of disturbances. Perhaps he wanted to put an end to all this.
The day before she left for the U.S., Mako returned to the Akasaka Imperial Palace and spent a long time with her family. She may have been comforting her mother who had lost her father. It wasn’t as if the affection between father and son had disappeared. At the end of the day, I wonder if he and Princess Kako shared another hug. At this time, Mako was dressed in a knit with a V collar and rolled up wide jeans. Some media reported that she was ready to be a normal person, but I think she wanted to show that she was free to be a normal person.
A “life” of sashaying around with her arms rolled up.
At Haneda Airport when she left Japan, Mako was wearing a navy blue knit sweater, black wide-legged pants, and low-heeled shoes. The sleeves of the knit were rolled up. Her hair was completely down. She walked briskly with her shiny, clean, straight hair flowing in the air.
And when she arrived in New York, she had a smile on her face as if she had been blown away. In the future, many things may still be said about me. In the U.S., they may think that being a former member of the Imperial Family does not attract attention, but there may be Japanese media lurking around, or there may be paparazzi who have been asked by the Japanese. She may not be able to live her life the way she wants, and her marriage may be cracked.
But she will live in the land of the free, where the passions that have been simmering in her heart for nearly a decade will come to an end, and she will start her life anew. It was inspiring to see how she persistently waited for the “right time” to come and just followed her will. I can’t get her image out of my mind as she rolls up her knit sleeves and walks briskly without wasting time smiling.
From now on, I don’t have to laugh when I want to and not when I don’t want to. There is no need to be selfless. You can live your life for yourself. I would like to congratulate one person for having the freedom that he has been seeking.
Reporting and writing by： Sanae Kameyama Photo: Kyodo News： Kyodo News