Will Japan’s Press Finally Leave Komuro Kei and Mako Alone?

Will Japan’s Press Finally Leave Komuro Kei and Mako Alone?

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Komuro Kei and Former Princess Mako
Picture: Carbondale / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
The Japanese and New York press' hounding of former Princess Mako and her husband Komuro Kei has been nothing but disgraceful.

In the Japanese entertainment world, there’s a clear distinction between celebrities (芸能人; geinoujin) and “regular folk” (一般人; ippanjin). If a celebrity marries a non-celebrity, the celeb’s agency can usually exert enough pressure on the press to protect a modicum of their privacy. You’ll generally only hear a non-celebrity spouse referred to as a “regular man” or “regular woman”.

There are, of course, exceptions. Announcer Kobayashi Maya and her husband, Kunimitsu Akira, attempted to use Kobayashi’s fame to boost Kunimitsu’s reputation as a faith healer. (Unfortunately for them, it has the opposite effect of tanking Kobayashi’s career and trashing her family’s good name.)

And then there’s the case of The Princess Formerly Known as Akishinonomiya Mako and her husband, Komuro Kei.

Ever since former Princess Mako and Komuro announced their marriage, Komuro’s been an intense focus of the Japanese mainstream and tabloid presses. At first, the issue was a large debt that a former fiance of Komuro’s mother claimed the family owed him. He attested that he lent millions of yen to Komuro’s mom to help with her son’s education.

Komuro’s family denied the money was ever a loan. But the allegation led to fear-mongering in the tabloids. Mako’s marriage meant she’d have to leave the royal family, at which point she’d receive a lump sum to help her in her post-royal life. That raised the specter that the Komuro newlyweds would use public money to pay off a private debt.

The “concern” soon grew into a full-blown hate campaign against Komuro Kei. Detractors claimed he was “using” the royal family’s name to boost his own career[3].

Somehow, the couple pushed through the resistance, got married, and moved to New York. Kei paid off the debt – some 4 million yen – shortly before moving[1]. Mako even refused her million-dollar payout from the Japanese government to help smooth


You’d think that’d have been the end of their troubles. But the Japanese press wouldn’t let up. And the New York City press – mainly in the form of the low-morality troglodytes who drag their knuckles through the halls of the New York Post – decided to get its kicks in as well.

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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