Princess Mako’s Escape to Freedom




In 2017, when former Princess Mako of Akishino accepted her college sweetheart’s (Kei Komuro) hand in marriage it seemed the Japanese public had strong opinions, viewing their union as a commoner’s infiltration of the royal family’s bloodline. Mako was met with harsh criticism following the announcement. 


The insults continued after the news was released that his mother was involved in a financial scandal: a dispute over $36,000. She had received the money from a former fiance partially to pay for Komuro’s law school tuition. This led to the imperial family and the public disapproving of the two’s relationship, and the wedding was postponed for three years. During this time, misinformation was spread about the scandal and Mako was subject to harassment and bullying.


The couple finally wed this year, outside of the public eye, despite the ongoing disapproval. Unfortunately, this did not occur without consequence. On her behalf, the Imperial Household Agency announced that Princess Mako had been diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) due to strong criticism from her family, the media, and citizens.


In a news conference, Mako’s psychiatrist said, “She felt like her dignity as a human being had been trampled on. She thinks of herself as somebody without value”.


Now known as Mako Komuro, she has given up her title by marrying Kei Komuro. Traditionally, when a female member of the imperial family becomes a commoner, they are offered $1.3 million dollars for the departure under Imperial Household Law. However, she turned down the offer, opting to move to New York with her husband and pursue a career with her degree in Art and Cultural Heritage. Meanwhile, her husband would step into the American workforce with his law degree.


Monarchies have a lengthy history of sexism. These institutions often promote gender inequality because of how women are reduced to their ability to produce a male heir. And when compared to their male counterparts, they’re also subject to harsher treatment for alleged “shortcomings.”


Mako’s grandmother, former Empress Michiko of Japan, temporarily lost her ability to speak twice after the intense public criticism. The Tokyo Imperial Palace has let out little detail about the situation. One can only assume that she suffered somewhat emotionally. 


In addition, Empress Masako of Japan was shunned for her inability to produce a male heir after years of media attention solely based on whether or not she conceived a son. 


This isn’t the first time a royal has severed ties with their family. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wed in 2018, and in February 2021 announced that they would step down as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. After they moved to the US, Harry expanded on why he left, claiming it was because of “lack of support and lack of understanding.”


Some on social media blame Meghan for allegedly brainwashing Harry into believing the royal family was insane and ultimately convincing him to move to America with her, however, this assumption is entirely false. Much like Mako and her husband, Meghan and Harry faced similar issues from their family and their country. 


Mako is the first female member of the imperial family to decline the imperial money offering and the first to forgo an official wedding ceremony. We can only hope that she’ll finally find her much-deserved peace through her new life in America.