Second time lucky? Princess Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband Kei Komuro steps out after re-taking bar exam in NYC after she sensationally quit Japanese royal family to start new life with him in US
- Princess Mako’s husband was spotted after taking his New York State Bar Exam
- Former Princess sensationally quit royal family to marry ‘commoner’ Kei Komuro
- Komuro left Japan for New York after couple’s wedding was postponed in 2018
- The 30-year-old took the exam for the first time in summer last year but failed
Former Princess Mako’s husband Kei Komuro cut a sombre figure as he was pictured following his second attempt at the New York State Bar Exam today.
Mako, eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, gave up her royal title to marry ‘commoner’ Komuro last year in a small civil ceremony.
The couple, who were engaged for eight years before tying the knot, have since moved to a one-bedroom apartment in New York, where Komuro works at New-Jersey based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP.
He was spotted today calling an Uber outside a test centre following the exam – which he took for the first time in summer last year but failed.
Former Princess Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband Kei Komuro, 30, was spotted waiting for an Uber outside a test centre after taking New York State Bar Exam for the second time this afternoon
The lawyer was spotted today calling an Uber outside a test centre following the exam – which he took for the first time in summer last year but failed
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, Komuro phoned lawyer Okuno Yoshihiko, the head of a firm in Japan where he previously worked, to tell him he failed the exam.
The results of 2021’s exam were posted on the website of the New York State Board of Law Examiners last November. Komuro’s name was not among the successful candidates.
Komuro was raised by his widowed mother, Kayo. His father died when he was still in elementary school. His jobs in Japan included working in a bank and a French restaurant.
He met Mako in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo.
Komuro and the former moved to a one-bedroom apartment in New York, where Komuro works as a lawyer at New-Jersey based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP
The couple, both now 30, got ‘unofficially engaged’ in 2017, and planned to tie the knot in November 2018.
Initially the news was greeted with delight in Japan, but then a scandal grew up when it was discovered that Kayo had not repaid a 4million yen ($35,000) loan from a former fiancé, partly to pay her son’s tuition.
The commoner who wooed a princess: How Kei Komuro overcame scandal to wed Mako
Komuro was raised by a single mother, with some media reports saying part of his education was funded by his mother’s former fiancé.
At one point, he earned some money by working for tourism promotion near Tokyo.
Trouble erupted a few months after he and Mako announced their engagement in 2017, when tabloids reported a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance, with the man claiming mother and son had failed to repay a debt of about $35,000.
Komuro later said the money had been a gift, not a loan. But in 2021, he submitted a 24-page explanation and later reportedly said he would pay a settlement.
In September 2018, he left for studies at New York’s Fordham University and didn’t return until September this year, after having graduated from law school and started working at a New York law firm.
When he returned to Japan, he was dressed casually and sporting long hair drawn back in a ponytail, setting off a media frenzy because it was deemed ‘disrespectful’.
But on Tuesday morning, ponytail shorn and dressed in a crisp dark suit and tie, he left to claim his bride. Most of his face was covered with a mask in line with Japan’s coronavirus protocol, but he looked happy.
That led critics to suggest Komuro was only marrying the princess for money or fame.
Komuro issued a 24-page explanation about the money – claiming it was a gift not a loan. Eventually he said he would repay it, although it is not known whether the money has been returned.
But despite the turmoil Kei and Mako’s love endured. In 2020, the former Princess begged the Japanese public to support her decision.
‘We are irreplaceable to each other – someone to rely on during both happy and unhappy times,’ she said, announcing the wedding would go ahead.
‘So a marriage is a necessary choice for us to live while cherishing and protecting our feelings.’
Komuro has not lived in Japan for three years – moving to New York shortly after their marriage was postponed for the first time.
He studied law at Fordham University in the Bronx and then landing a job clerking at Lowenstein Sandler in Manhattan, counseling companies and investors on venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions.
Only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry ‘commoners, so Mako’s decision to marry for love means a whole slew of new things for her.
For a start, she is no longer considered a princess – even if the marriage ends in divorce she can never return to the family.
For the first time in her life she has a surname and will be known just as Mako Komuro.
She will also have to apply for a passport – royals don’t need them – so she can move Stateside.
She can no longer live in the Imperial Palace. And any sons the couple have will not be in the line of succession for the male-only emperorship.
And that is a potential problem in Japan where there are now only three people allowed by the Imperial Household Law to succeed 61-year-old Emperor Naruhito – and one of those, his uncle Masohito, is 85.
The other two are Nauruhito’s 55-year-old brother Akishino – Mako’s father – and Mako’s brother Hisahito, 15.