Thoughts on Princess Mako Leaving the Imperial Family


Bowing to Imperial Household Law, Japan’s former Princess Mako Komura left the Imperial Family to marry her commoner boyfriend. While it’s not the first time it happened, it makes me sad to see it continue.  

Female members of the Japanese Imperial Family are required to relinquish their title if they wish to marry a commoner. Though it is worth mentioning that if male members of the family were to marry a commoner, they could still keep their positions in the family and their bride would receive the title of Princess. It’s a sexist custom and outdated by Western standards. But former Princess Mako Komura was willing to abide by it in order to be with her now husband Kei Komura. 

In 2005, her aunt, formerly known as Princess Nori, left the Family to marry Yoshiki Kuroda. Reaching further back to 1960, Princess Mako’s great aunt, formerly known as Princess Suga, married commoner Hisanaga Shimazu. Princess Suga even went as far as taking a job, which broke royal tradition. This makes former Princess Mako the third female to relinquish her title. 

On one hand, I have nothing but respect for these women who were willing to leave their crowns to pursue their love. At the same time, I am saddened to see that even now in this modern era, women in the Imperial Family do not have the same privileges that male members do. They’re forced to choose between love and their family. I believe that overall the Imperial Family views women as inferior and less important than men. This is why outdated laws such as the Imperial Household Law only allow male members to ascend the Chrysanthemum throne. Changes must be made so that men and women are considered equally vital to the Imperial Family, and therefore deserve the same privileges.

Hopefully, in the near future, things will change so that they do not have to make these unfair decisions.