Former Japanese Princess Mako Komuro of Akishino was spotted out and about with her commoner husband, Kei Komuro, in New York City.
The happy couple walked hand-in-hand down in Midtown on Thursday.
Mako, 30, cut a causal figure in a green skirt with a black shirt and sweater, paired with simple lace-up boots. She tied her long, brown hair up in a loose ponytail and left her bangs messy.
Her dashing husband, also 30, cut a dapper figure in a black suit and blue shirt. He accessorized with a black belt and shoes and carried a light gray handled laptop bag. He also tied his hair up in a ponytail.
The pair eventually went their separate ways and Mako made her way to the Amish Market, a grocery store she frequents.
The low-key couple moved to Manhattan after she gave up her royal title to marry her college sweetheart last October in a small civil ceremony.
Mako and Komuro have kept a low profile while living in a luxury one-bedroom apartment in the city, and they are believed to be financially independent.
Former Japanese Princess Mako Komuro of Akishino was spotted out and about with her commoner husband, Kei Komuro, in New York City on Thursday
The pair strolled hand-in-hand through Midtown as the former princess cut a causal figure in a green skirt and a black sweat
The former princess was entitled to a $1.3 million payout from the Japanese government after giving up her noble status, but she turned it down.
Mako, the niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, has reportedly been making use of her background in art history by reportedly serving as an unpaid volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
‘She has specifically been involved in preparing an exhibition of paintings inspired by the life of a 13th-century monk who traveled throughout Japan as he introduced Buddhism,’ according to the Japan Times.
Mako has a degree in art and cultural heritage from International Christian University in Japan, where she met her husband.
Her husband wore a black suit with a blue shirt and carry a laptop case
Both pulled their hair up into ponytails as they traversed the Big Apple together. The pair have been living here since they got married
She went on to study art history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before receiving her master’s in art museum and gallery studies from the University of Leicester in England.
‘She’s qualified and probably handling pieces in the collection. In general, it’s work which requires a great deal of preparation and often means spending a lot of time in the library,’ a former curator at the Met told People.
While she is pursuing a career in the art world, her husband has been struggling to pass the New York State Bar.
The aspiring lawyer first sat for the New York State Bar exam last July, three months before his wedding to Mako, but it was revealed in November that he had failed.
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, he phoned Okuno Yoshihiko — the head of a law firm in Japan where he previously worked — to tell him he didn’t pass.
Komuro sat for the exam for the second time in February, but when the results were published online in April, his name was not included among those who had passed.
New York does not place a limit or restriction on the number of times a person may attempt to pass the exam, meaning he can take it as many times as he wants.
The next time the bar is offered is in late July.
Komuro previously worked at a bank and at a French restaurant in Japan before relocating to New York for law school. His father died when he was in elementary school, and he was raised by his widowed mother, Kayo.
He met Mako in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo. The couple got ‘unofficially engaged’ in 2017 and had planned on tying 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 his mother, Kayo, had not repaid a 4 million yen ($35,000) loan from a former fiancé, partly to pay his tuition.
The controversy led critics to suggest Komuro was only marrying the then-princess for money or fame.
She was later seen heading toward Amish Market, where she also carried a matching bag too
The former princess was seen walking by a wall of colorful flowers
Komuro issued a 24-page statement about the money, claiming his mother believed it was a gift, not a loan. Eventually, he said he would repay it, though it is not known whether it has ever been returned.
Despite the turmoil, Komuro and Mako’s love endured, and she announced that she was moving forward with the marriage in 2020.
‘We are irreplaceable to each other — someone to rely on during both happy and unhappy times,’ she said. ‘So a marriage is a necessary choice for us to live while cherishing and protecting our feelings.’
Only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry commoners, and Mako had to give up more than just her royal title to wed Komuro.
She has a surname for the first time in her life following their marriage and is now known as Mako Komuro. She also had to get a passport to travel, something she didn’t need as a royal.
Mako can no longer live in the Imperial Palace, and if she and Komuro have sons, they will not be in the line of succession for the male-only emperorship. She can never return to the dynasty, even if her marriage ends in divorce.
Only three of Mako’s relatives can succeed Emperor Naruhito, 62, under the current Imperial Household Law, including his 86-year-old uncle Masahito, Prince Hitachi.
The others are Mako’s 56-year-old father, Prince Fumihito, who is the emperor’s brother, and her 15-year-old brother, Prince Hisahito.