Japan’s Princess Mako postpones her autumn wedding, due to ‘immaturity’

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First, some background: Princess Mako – seen in these photos – is the eldest granddaughter of Japan’s current monarch, Emperor Akihito. Princess Mako is the daughter of of Prince Akishino and Princess Akishino. She is 26 years old, and will turn 27 in October. She is well-educated and a very popular royal figure in Japan. Last September, Mako announced her engaged to a “commoner” named Kei Komuro. They met at college and had been together for about five years before their engagement. Their engagement made headlines locally and internationally because it was that odd twist of a fairytale: a princess choosing love over duty, because the way the Japanese monarchy works, if a princess marries a commoner, she has to renounce her title and leave the Imperial family. Well, as you can imagine, Mako has some second thoughts. She and Kei have now postponed their wedding!

Japan’s Princess Mako and her commoner fiance Kei Komuro have postponed their highly anticipated engagement and wedding until at least 2020, saying they were not yet ready for marriage. The wedding, which had been set for November, was to be a momentous occasion for the country and the Japanese royal family, led by Emperor Akihito, who plans to abdicate in April 2019.

But the couple said they were now having second thoughts about marrying so soon. “It is because of our immaturity and we just regret it,” the couple said in a statement Tuesday.

Excitement swept the country when the Imperial Household announced last year that plans were underway for the princess to marry a commoner she’d met five years previously at International Christian University in Tokyo. Before his introduction as the royal fiance, Komuro was better known as the “Prince of the Sea,” after appearing in a beach tourism campaign for the city of Fujisawa, south of the capital.

In the statement, Mako, 26, said they had “rushed various things” and needed more time to plan their future together. Komuro also is 26.

“I wish to think about marriage more deeply and concretely and give sufficient time to prepare our marriage and for after the marriage,” Mako said. The couple had planned to become formally engaged in a traditional ceremony on March 4, ahead of their wedding on November 4. Imperial Household sources told CNN the postponement was due to “lack of preparation.”

Princess Mako “came to recognize the lack of time to make sufficient preparations,” the household said.

[From CNN]

I don’t understand the different explanations being given. If she’s having second thoughts and believes that she’s too “immature” to go through with it at this moment, so be it and I think she’s actually rather brave to admit that. But then why are royal sources claiming that it’s down to insufficient preparations? If they wedding had gone through, they would have had more than a year to plan the damn thing. I’m going more with Mako’s explanation, that it was more about immaturity and really wanting to spend some more time thinking about what this decision will mean for the rest of her life. Kei is likely the only serious boyfriend she’s ever had, and it’s possible – perhaps? – that she’s thinking, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t settle for the first guy who asks?” What do I know though?

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73 Responses to “Japan’s Princess Mako postpones her autumn wedding, due to ‘immaturity’”

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  1. Croatian says:

    I was so impressed when I first heard this. I mean… it’s a good message – I feel immature, I want to think about this marriage, it’s not a trivial thing to do, I want to do it right.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Exactly and the part about preparing for after the wedding, very impressed that she is thinking about stuff beyond the frock/flowers/which auntie sits where and stating so publicly.

    • elimaeby says:

      I was her age when I got engaged the first time. I wish I had the foresight to take some time and think about it, but, nope. All of our couple-friends were planning weddings or already married. There was so much pressure. We got married at 27.

      We just got divorced at 29. She’s wise to take her time, especially with the implications of this marriage. All that I lost in my divorce was custody of our couch and our cat (I got the dog, though).

      • Clare says:

        I was married at 28, by husband was 25 – we are still (happily) married, and I think I’ve obly truly realised the meaning and needs of a healthy marriage in the last year or so, 5+ years later.

        The first few years were a fucking nightmare, and we often acknowledge we were too young, too immature and too ignorant about real life to be making life long commitments.
        We were just lucky we made it out to the other side – in no small part because we had less financial and professional pressures than other people our age.

        Good for her for deciding to wait till she is 100% prepared.

      • SandraDee says:

        I got married at 25 and my marriage expired before my driver’s license. I knew it was a mistake but my parents had spent so much money on it that I was afraid I’d get in trouble if I backed out, so I did it anyway. Good for her for being smarter than I clearly was at her age.

      • Jordan says:

        I have to say your comment is a breath of fresh air. Everyone is getting engaged or having babies (my kiddo is about to be 7) and I feel like I should be trying to settle down. Best wishes love 💕

      • Gretchen says:

        @Clare, I married at 26, hubby was 28 and yes, the first few years are a nightmare! We couldn’t live together before the marriage (cultural reasons) and it was one hell of a learning curve. I’ll never forget speaking to my brother-in-law, who, in our first week as newly weds said “the first 3 years are the hardest.” It felt like a bit of a bummer at the time, but he was absolutely right, and his words replayed in my mind whenever we were having a rough patch in our relationship and actually helped me to get through it. Still happily married now, but I would in future council my kids to wait a little longer than I did. Good for Princess Mako!!

      • TyrantDestroyed says:

        I can relate to Clare’s experience. My husband and I got married at 27 and boy! Being from different cultures, coming from a long distance relationship and living in a third country made things super complicated. After 2 hellish years we made amendments and 7 years and a newborn after I think we are on the other side but it took tons of maturity. I can totally understand the woman’s reasons to wait, marriage is a marathon, not a sprint.

  2. manda says:

    I wonder what other royal family would be appropriate for her to choose from? Like any royal family?

    • Alexandria says:

      Yeah I mean if the males could choose any female and not lose their title, what other option is there for the royal females?! Weird. Japan, you weird. But please do correct me if she can somehow choose from some aristocratic house of lords collection.

      • manda says:

        Yeah, because it seems to me that the only way a female can stay royal is to remain unmarried. Not fair at all!! (Although I totally understand we’re dealing with a set of rules that is likely hundreds if not thousands of years old)

      • lightpurple says:

        Although the Japanese Imperial Family can trace itself back over a thousand, almost two thousand years, the rules that currently govern who is in the family have only been in place since 1947.

        ETA Japan’s laws don’t allow women to ascend to the throne at all. There was a proposal about a decade ago to change it because the crown prince has one daughter and his younger brother had two daughters but then the younger prince had a son and they dropped the proposal. So, when the current emperor dies, the title will like pass to his eldest son Prince Naruhito, who has one daughter Princess Toshi. When Naruhito dies, it will pass to his younger brother Akishino, passing over Princess Toshi, or Akishino’s son Hisahito, passing over Toshi and Akishino’s older children Mako and Kako.

      • A says:

        The whole women leaving the imperial family thing was actually a rule came up with by Americans, if I recall correctly. After the war the Japanese nobility was abolished and the imperial family was severely reduced (as to who got a title), under direction by the occupying Americans. It was pretty on-trend, the UK also limited who got to be Highnesses during WW1.

      • Cee says:

        Japan’s royal rules are backwards. The Heir’s only child is a girl and she is being skipped over to her uncle and his only son. Women cannot inherit. Women lose their place and titles the moment they marry a commoner. Men do not. Seems very unfair.

        Hopefully when Naruhito becomes Emperor he can at least lobby for women to not lose their titles. It would be amazing if he could make his daughter Heiress.

    • PIa says:

      Yeah, it would be interesting if she ended up marrying a European Prince or another Asian one. Although, I am not sure how happy Japan would be…

      • SoulSPA says:

        Probably not too well. Haffu (mixed race Japanese-foreigner), especially those with white or black blood, are not usually seen positively in Japan. The number of mixed marriages increases but things move quite slowly over there.

    • WhatwasThat? says:

      I read somewhere a while ago that at this rate no one is eligible for the throne coming up in the future as no males suitable…I am probably wrong but I thought it was unless the royal household changed there is no male heirs likely in a generation or so???
      Interested in hearing from those who know..I have always felt that the royal family here are in a time warp of sorts with some rules and regs especially for the women…I understand that is what has caused some problems for another..possibly Princess Akinshino???
      It seems a very closed in and harsh ritual world..

      • LAK says:

        Yep. They’ve ran out of male heirs. In the grandchildren generation there is only one male, this princess’s brother.

        By current rules, if he doesn’t make it to adulthood and birth male heirs, the family is done.

  3. DiligentDiva says:

    When I heard “immaturity,” I thought it was a sly way of saying he cheated. But could be she wants to figure some things out. I find though most women do not want to call off their weddings ever. Usually only do if there has been a major fuck up on the groom’s part.

    • V4Real says:

      When I heard immaturity I don’t it meant her fiancee was acting like a child or she was like 18 and getting married. Yeah, I don’t know much.

    • Carrie1 says:

      Could be. I’ve been there and it was my reason for swiftly ending things despite friends and fiancé all pressing with “ you’ve / we’ve been together a long time”. My response was “ time is no excuse for marriage”. I’ve never regretted bolting. It still had repercussions throughout my life but far less than if I’d married him.

      I’m happy for this young woman. Making a decision like this is huge effect on self esteem, in a good way. Great for future hard decisions in life. She won’t struggle half as much.

  4. Merritt says:

    Japan needs to reform their succession law. They have very few male heirs left.

  5. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Smart lady. Don’t pull a Luann from RHNY, Princess Mako. No man is worth giving up such a fun title. You will live to regret it.

    For real though, it is nice that she and her partner are being honest about their feelings BEFORE they get married. Too many people get married without really knowing and accepting their partner for who they are. They either marry an idealized version or the potential of their partner not whoever the person is right at that moment. They just hope and pray that the bad parts will go away once they get married.

  6. Maria F. says:

    i think it is very brave of her not to bow to the public pressure of having already announced the ceremonies and just follow her heart. Wish her all the best.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      Is it not the reverse though? She followed her heart to marry a non-royal which meant choosing her heart (Love) over the title. Her people fell in love with the guy then it finally hit her that following her heart would mean losing her title and any money or connections that come with to live as a regular person.

      Royals don’t do well when brought down to earth to live like mortals and worry about rent, work, dishes, etc.

      • Geekychick says:

        I don’t think Japan’s royal family works quite like that. They are not opulent like the British Royal family, and they do get education etc., so I think the change is not so drastic, as it would be for let’s say, Harry.

  7. Alix says:

    Sounds rather mature, actually.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    It takes guts to do this but I can’t help think that they maybe having 2nd thoughts about getting married. Its a big commitment to make, esp given her status and family.

    Wishing them both well.

  9. Seraphina says:

    Five years is a while. I agree with her though. It’s not all fun and games. Kudos to her.

  10. Aang says:

    Are there enough royal Japanese for her to choose a husband that is not a first cousin? Japan is a mystery, such a strict, insular culture.

    • SoulSPA says:

      I think not. From what I remember the Japanese royal family was dramatically downsized a few decades ago with only one branch left. Only the monarch and its direct descendants and their issue (and female spouses).

    • Maya says:

      There aren’t. The Japanese nobility was abolished.

  11. Onerous says:

    But… do we really think this was her decision?

    The Japanese Royal family is INTENSE. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t more of a “You’ve had your fun, and if you still want to get married in 2 years, go ahead” sort of thing. I bet the family is hoping she gets over him.

    • LadyT says:

      This was my thought too. She’s been cleverly boxed in by the wishes of the Royal family. If she wants to go through with the marriage than she’s immature. If she cancels the engagement, it’s a sign she’s now grown up and making a wise decision.

    • Lena says:

      But why would they be against her marrying? And if you think hey don’t want her to marry a commoner, it’s not as if she has a choice since there are no royal men she could marry. Unless she would marry a non Japanese royal but that would be way more controversial in Japan than her marrying someone not royal.

    • WhatwasThat? says:

      It’s like Prncess Margaret all those years ago ..did not want to give up the title for a divorcee ..Group Capt Peter Townsend……
      I always felt she was pushed into it ..as abdication not that long before….and I also think she had the reputation of being more Royal that her sister!!!
      always curtesy ..address etc etc…
      My parents ..long since passed told me that she chose Armstrong Jones to get back at them as he had a beautiful lover Jacqui Chan ..and that she gave her sister a withering look as she walked down the aisle..
      That relationship did not end well..so I wish that this Princess does not have to make that choice..from the life she knows to a life which she is not prepared for..

      • Bridget says:

        Just as an FYI, it came out that Margaret chose not to marry Townsend herself. QE2 had worked with the PM to let Margaret keep her inheritance.

      • WhatwasThat? says:

        Where did you read that @Bridget?

      • notasugarhere says:

        HM could not forbid her sister to marry Townsend, even if she’d wanted to. She could fail to give consent and Margaret could have married anyway, just not in the Church of England.

        If she’d married without the monarch’s permission, she would have lost her place in the succession. So what? HM already had two children at that point. Margaret was third in line to the throne and going to go lower. HM’s cousins were already doing royal engagements and would have continued. They didn’t have to worry about losing enough working members of The Firm.

        Margaret would have kept her title but lost her place in the succession. HM would still have provided her a grace and favour home at Kensington, if not the giant Apartment 1A she received (now W&K’s). She chose not to do that. Margaret *chose* not to marry Townsend.

        While the marriage did not last, Armstrong-Jones was still a royal insider. He continued to do official portraits of the family for decades.

    • WhatwasThat? says:

      It’s like Prncess Margaret all those years ago ..did not want to give up the title for a divorcee ..Group Capt Peter Townsend……
      I always felt she was pushed into it ..as abdication not that long before….and I also think she had the reputation of being more Royal that her sister!!!
      always curtesy ..address etc etc…
      My parents ..long since passed told me that she chose Armstrong Jones to get back at them as he had a beautiful lover Jacqui Chan ..and that she gave her sister a withering look as she walked down the aisle..
      That relationship did not end well..so I wish that this Princess does not have to make that choice..from the life she knows to a life which she is not prepared for..

    • Olive says:

      yep, there’s now gossip in Japanese media about a substantial loan within his family causing a lot of issues with the engagement

  12. Edith says:

    She waits until 2020, because her grandfather will be G-O-N-E by 2019, helloooo she wants to wait unti someone a little more with the times is the big boss so she may be allowed to have best of both worlds!

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Noticed that timeline too😏

    • LAK says:

      That was my first thought too.

    • Liberty says:

      That is what I think too. Though, the Guardian hints at a contentious outstanding financial issue between her fiancé’s mother and the mother’s former partner (allegedly she failed to repay a loan for the cost of his education). So it might just be an in-law issue.

    • magnoliarose says:

      This family is hardcore so I wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted to wait until there is a change and it could also be that they weren’t prepared for married life once the wedding became real. I think it was probably several reasons but waiting to marry is usually the right thing to do if it doesn’t feel completely right.

    • A says:

      This for sure. She’s waiting on the rules to change so she can still be a royal after marrying her boyfriend.

    • notasugarhere says:

      The Emperor doesn’t control the IHA, the IHA controls the Emperor and the whole family. Throw in the Prime Minister who doesn’t want the Emperor to abdicate. He’s dragged out discussions and postponed the retirement by a year.

      Even when Naruhito becomes Emperor, I don’t see anything changing the IHA’s power and control over this family. The majority of Japanese polled (last year?) said they approved of changing succession law, allowing women to rule, and having Aiko/Toshi as Empress. Doesn’t matter. The people’s wishes and the family’s wishes take a back seat to the IHA and the old-school Prime Minister.

      • LAK says:

        The IHA is really hardcore. When the European royals complain about how tough they find the royal household or how little help they are given, i always think they should thank their lucky stars they aren’t part of tye Japanese royal household because the IHA really doesn’t care and is indifferent to the personal feelings of the rotals.

    • Sharon Lea says:

      Yep, I had the same thought. It is tied to the Emperor and his retirement timing.

  13. Spicecake38 says:

    Smartest thing I ever did was divorce my verbally and eventually physically abusive first husband-even smarter would have been to listen to my gut and call of the wedding in the first place,I fell to the pressure to marry him thinking how embarrassing a cancellation would be.She is wise to admit for whatever reason that for now she’s not ready.

  14. Erinn says:

    I don’t know. If you’ve gone to college, are in your late 20s and have grown up with the kind of responsibility she must have – and still think you’re too immature to marry – will you ever be ‘mature’ enough?

    I guess it’s just strange to me – I got married at 24. I felt plenty mature. I had a house and a career.

    But even still – it’s admirable that she’s doing this, and not just rushing in if she doesn’t feel ready. I’m impressed that she’s spoken up and has decided that she’d rather break the news to the public and do what’s best for her instead of just going with the flow.

    • starkiller says:

      This comment comes off quite judgmental. If you were mature enough and financially stable enough to be married and a homeowner by 24, then good for you, but personal circumstances have a great effect upon what you’re describing—for example, other than people with trust funds I don’t know one person where I live who’d have been able to afford a house at 24.

  15. BearcatLawyer says:

    The Imperial Household’s comment that the postponement was due to “lack of preparation” strikes me as a typical Japanese way of deflecting negative attention away from the princess and her fiancé. I honestly cannot imagine any of their spokespeople remotely confirming in a press release that a member of the royal family is too immature to marry. It just would not be done.

  16. WendyNerd says:

    The losing the title thing is stupid for various reasons, not least among them:

    The family is running out of people. Literally.

    The current emperor has almost no male grandchildren. Not only is the Japanese Siccession completely Salic (meaning: women barred from the throne: completely) but this stupid law means that they are guaranteed to lose all of their princesses in general because there are NO Japanese aristocrats and few/no proper male royals that their princesses could marry. So basically, the pool of proper, operational royals is dwindling because the Japanese court is so stubbornly, stupidly obsessed with maintaining a backwards-ass “tradition” (that is actually only about 70 years old and relatively not a longstanding tradition whatsoever).

    Mako will inevitably lose her title unless she never weds. Despite her popularity, despite her record of service (excellent). and It is understandable of her to second guess this. But the rules of the Imperial family are literally destroying the Imperial family.

  17. Tiffany says:

    I am curious, will the loss of title go with the loss of money and other things, like her security. I mean, title or not, she cannot just go out into the world as a ‘commoner’.

    • WendyNerd says:

      She’s slated to get a couple million bucks in a payout.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      But they do go out and learn how to survive as a commoner. A few years ago one of the current emperor’s daughters married a commoner and lost her title. There was a lot of discussion prior to her wedding about how she spent several months learning how to do things like shop for herself, cook, and clean in order to be a good wife.

  18. Veronica says:

    Considering how much significance is placed on family in Japanese culture, I’m not surprised she’s having seconds thoughts about the repercussions of that marriage. Honestly, though, considering that the monarchy is more or less fading, she may as well follow her heart where marriage is concerned.

  19. dokilis says:

    Some people here in Japan are speculating the postponement is due to the fact some tabloids dug up some dirt on his family. Japan is ALL about image and the ‘sins’ of the family unfortunately carry over onto children. (Ex: people whose family members committed crimes are shunned by the general public and they have a very hard time at work and/or school; often they change their names and move to a new place in hopes of getting a clean slate.) There’s no real concept of each person being a unique individual, but of a family being a unit. Many people won’t believe a good kid could come out of a bad family; but one bad seed taints the whole bloodline for generations.

    Some tabloids published the fact his father committed suicide, which some people think points to a vein of mental instability that is unsuitable for a marriage into the royal family. Also, his father’s family hadn’t talked to him in ages until he was suddenly engaged to a royal, so people think that’s shifty. His mother is fighting with an ex over a 4 million (I think?) yen loan used for her son’s education. She claims it was a gift, but the man says it was not; there are rumors of other loans she hasn’t repaid, either… so some people are saying his family are gold-diggers. (Princess Mako will receive a sizable amount of money in compensation for losing her royal title).

    I hope this couple is rethinking their engagement because they want to and not because of some stupid pressure over saving the royal image. Then again, “insufficient preparation time” totally sounds like the flimsy, BS excuse one would come up with when hoping to push back the wedding date so far everyone will forget about it and it’s safe to quietly have the princess break up with her “unsuitable” suitor.

  20. Missy says:

    Allegedly his mother is involved in some financial “misunderstanding” 🙂
    And allegedly Japan’s conservative monarchy wants that financial misunderstanding to be over befor any kind of royal-commoner marriage.

    Also check out Mako’s father. He allegedly is a fishy figure.

    Btw. did the groom get a new nose or was he born with such a prominent beak?

  21. Brian says:

    Why is the furniture so small in the first pic? Am I just imagining things or does it look miniaturized?

  22. Tallia says:

    Kudos to her!

  23. mela says:

    What I thought when I heard this:

    1.) She decided she doesn’t want to give up her title for him.

  24. V says:

    I think they are waiting until the current Emperor abdicates. This could pave the way for more progressive policies to be put into place where she would not lose her status or inheritance should she marry a commoner. Of course, this may only be wishful thinking, as Japan is a very conservative country.

    • Wendy says:

      Yeah, not going to happen. It’s not the Emperor who decides, but their court/IHA. And they’ve refused to budge on this for years.

      • CaffeineQueen7734 says:

        Thank you for your very informative comments. I was unaware of how the Japanese monarchy worked at all, and your details piqued my curiosity and led me down a fascinating little rabbit hole. I very much appreciate your explaining all that!

      • Wendy says:

        No problem.