Former Princess Mako and Kei Komuro Financial Difficulties and Visa Problem in the US Hot Topic Now | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Princess Mako and Kei Komuro Financial Difficulties and Visa Problem in the US Hot Topic Now

The cost of living in New York is about 6.6 million yen a year for rent alone.

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On November 14, 2009, Kei Komuro (30) and Mako (30) were full of hope as they left Haneda Airport for New York. They were supposed to be away from the traditions of the Imperial Family, enjoying their freedom without worrying about what others would think.

However, a dark cloud is already hanging over their longed-for life in New York. Hiroshi Kiyohara, an international lawyer licensed by the New York State Bar, said, “In the worst case scenario, there is a possibility that Kei Komuro will be fired from the law firm she works for.” says Hiroshi Kiyohara, an international lawyer licensed to practice in New York.

In November ’21, Mr. and Mrs. Komuro departing from Haneda Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport (NY). At the time, they were expected to pass the bar exam early. Photo by Shinji Hasuo

Mr. Komuro is expected to pass the bar exam and become a lawyer at some point in the future,” said Mr. Hasuo. “Nevertheless, there will be another outstanding law school graduate this year. It is not surprising that the management might think, that it would be better to hire a younger, more promising graduate rather than continue to employ Ms. Komuro, who may or may not pass the exam.”


Mr. Komuro is reportedly aiming to take the exam for the third time in July. But first, there is a big hurdle to overcome. The visa issue.

Mr. Komuro is currently on the OPT Program, which is an extension of his student visa, but it is scheduled to expire in May. So, at any cost, he had to pass the exam this time and obtain an H-1B visa.

The annual rent for the couple’s apartment in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen is approximately 6.6 million yen. Mr. Komuro, who works as a legal assistant, earns about 6 million yen a year. With the visa deadline looming, his pocketbook is tight. It was his wife, Mako, who came to the rescue of Mr. Kei Komuro, who was in such dire straits. The U.S. media all reported at once that Mako was going to take a job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (commonly known as the MET).

The reporter mentioned above said, “The MET is a private organization that is owned by the Kennedy family.”

“The MET has close ties with the Kennedy family. The MET has advantages as well. The Imperial Household Agency manages many national treasures and works of art, including a biwa from the Nara period (710-794) and a picture scroll from the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) called “The Story of the Mongol Invasion”. So, through Mako, they will be able to exchange works of art.”

“Employment with the MET will enable Ms. Mako to obtain an “O-1 visa,” which is issued to people who have proven themselves in academia and retain exceptional ability. So Mr. Komuro will be able to receive that spouse visa. However, he cannot work on a spouse visa, so he will have to pass the exam in July anyway.”

“If she gets a job at the MET, she will earn an annual income of 10-15 million yen. Even so, it is not enough to live in Manhattan, the most expensive city in the world.” A member of the Akishino family told us.

A source close to the Akishino family said, “The Komuro couple may return to Japan once in May. The possibility has emerged that the O-1 visa may not be issued in time for the May deadline. It seems that they are aiming to have Mr. Komuro concentrates on his studies in Japan, where they can keep an eye on him.”

The only way for Mr. Komuro to stay grounded in New York is to pass the examination. However, Mr. Kiyohara cannot hide his concern.

“I’m worried that Mr. Komuro has a habit of failing. It has been reported that Mr. Komuro said, ‘I was five points away from passing,’ which is a very dangerous sign. The thought, ‘I didn’t pass this time by accident, but I will pass the exam sooner or later,’ is the very thinking pattern of people who fall into the habit of failing.”

“In many cases, such people are in a situation where they cannot become lawyers and have no income, but someone else manages to provide for them. Looking at Mr. Komuro so far, I can’t deny the impression that he lacks the enthusiasm to become a lawyer.”

“If that is the case, he may want to pursue a career other than being a lawyer.” Miyoko Kudo, a non-fiction writer with extensive knowledge of the Imperial Family, mentioned this possibility.


“In North America, interest in the traditions and prestige of the Imperial Family is high, and its market value is high. There must already be offers for an exclusive interview with Mako, publication of a book of her confession, or a lecture. What the Akishino family and the Imperial Household Agency are now afraid of may be that the Komuro couple will start an ‘imperial family business’ like Britain’s Princess Meghan (40). We cannot rule out the possibility of an exposé of the imperial family abroad.”

Even far away from their homeland, the topic of the Komuro couple is still likely to cause a stir in Japan.

The “Metropolitan Museum of Art” where Mako is reportedly going to work in the near future. Mako writes commentaries on the museum’s collection. It is located not far from the apartment where the couple lives.

From the May 6-13, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • Photo by Shinji Hasuo Afro

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