Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

Never mind New York City: For Mako and Kei, there's no place like home

20 Comments

This coming July, Kei Komuro, husband of Prince Akishino's eldest daughter, will be making his third attempt to pass the New York State bar examination.

Will Komuro get lucky this time? Citing an old saying that goes, Sandome no shojiki (the third time's a charm), Shukan Post (May 6-13) reports that a growing number of voices are being raised that the couple would be better off returning to Japan.

This view is shared not only by reporters covering the Imperial Household Agency, but by international attorneys and royalty watchers as well.

Komuro's not passing the bar exam means an unstable lifestyle for the couple, who wed in Tokyo last Oct 26.

Just being permitted to work in the U.S., moreover, is no simple matter.

"If the law office where Komuro is currently employed decides to lay him off, it's possible his U.S. visa will be invalidated," says Hiroshi Kiyohara, an attorney licensed to practice in New York.

Commenting on Mako's working as a volunteer for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Daily Mail of April 12 pointed out that since she entered the U.S. on a spouse visa, she is not permitted to undertake bona fide employment.

Currently, Komuro and his wife reside in an apartment in central Manhattan where the monthly rent has been reported to be around the equivalent of ¥500,000.

According to statistics of other aspirants on their third bar examination, Komuro's chances of passing are believed to be 30% at best.

A news reporter points out some of the other potential downsides to the couple's residing in the Big Apple, including being hounded by paparazzi; the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes; and the general increase in crimes of violence, such as a mass shooting that occurred not far from the couple's residence.

"If Komuro's still determined to be admitted to the bar in New York State, he can cram for the test while working in Japan, and just fly back to New York to take the examination," suggested the aforementioned attorney Kiyohara.

If the couple does return to Japan, that will also give a boost to Prince Akishino, the emperor's younger brother and first in line for succession to the throne.

"Having a big sister around could be expected provide Prince Hisahito, who is in second line to the throne after his father, with psychological support," says a journalist who covers the Imperial Household Agency. "And as long as Mako is living peacefully in Japan under her family's watchful eyes, she can devote herself to various duties with peace of mind."

Privacy is another issue, and not just for the couple, but the entire imperial family. 

"If the Komuros are approached by the local media in the U.S., the Imperial Household Agency has no control over the situation in a foreign country, so there's likely to be less cause for concern if they stay in Japan," points out the aforementioned journalist covering the Imperial Household Agency.

"If Komuro were still a bachelor, he could work things out even without financial issues, and keep taking the bar exam until he passes it," remarked cartoonist Mayumi Kurata, who has been observing the couple's activities since they first announced their engagement. "But now he's got a wife to support.

"It's certainly notable for him to move to the U.S. and harbor the ambition of becoming an attorney, but I think the time has arrived for him to beat a 'courageous retreat,'" Kurata said, adding, "After studying in the U.S. for three years, I realize how hard it will be for him to say, 'I give up,' He may want to be recognized by the world as a man who is worthy of Mako, but now that he has a family, I think he needs to plant his feet solidly on the ground first.

"At the end of the day, it's up to the individual, but whether in Japan or the U.S., if Komuro lands a job and applies himself at it, the couple will eventually fade from the limelight and have the peace and quiet they both seek," Kurata predicts.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
Login to comment

It must really suck having so many people tell you how to live your life!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

"If the Komuros are approached by the local media in the U.S., the Imperial Household Agency has no control over the situation in a foreign country, so there's likely to be less cause for concern if they stay in Japan," points out the aforementioned journalist covering the Imperial Household Agency.

No offense to them but almost no one knows anything about nor is interested in the Japanese royal family. Let the man try to achieve his dream and leave the couple alone. Nothing bad is going to happen to them in NYC too. They should check out Katz Deli and DiFara Pizza while they are there. Fine NYC cuisine. I can show them around if they want.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Having a big sister around could be expected provide Prince Hisahito, who is in second line to the throne after his father, with psychological support

She has her own life and surely doesn’t want to play babysitter for her little brother.

And as long as Mako is living peacefully in Japan under her family's watchful eyes, she can devote herself to various duties with peace of mind."

I guess thats why she left japan in the first place.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Saddest story here is fact media made efforts to expose a would be normal life story. Folks pass and fail exams all the time, and understandably, when you are famous, well known, and pubic figure, any reporting of you is spicy&sexy story to sell. No one gives a f. of this story. Give them their much needed privacy.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

How about respect for his personal life? Why is this couple of any interest to anyone? Please leave them alone to build a life together.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If I were this couple, the last place I'd go is back to is Japapparazzi.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Ugh, this was terrible to read.

First of all, they are a young happy couple without kids or property to care for. Now is the time for them to strike out on their own and take calculated risks! Nothing they are doing is dangerous or risky.

Secondly, they will get good jobs eventually, it's just a matter of time. He will pass the bar at some point and her volunteer work can lead to a full time job. This is just a normal adjustment period. It hasn't even been a year!

Third, she is a full-fledged human adult, not a baby bird or a hothouse flower. She can take care of herself, and doesn't need to be "supported." This is just old-fashioned sexist thinking.

Fourth, if they want freedom then this includes good times and bumpy times, but it's by far better than living a very restricted and controlled life under the imperial household. She clearly wasn't happy there which is why she decided to do this.

Fifth, yes NYC is more dangerous than Japan but they will be fine. It's not like they're living in the south Bronx lol.

Sixth, where the hell is this he has a "30% chance" of passing the bar coming from? If anything, it'll be easier and easier for him to pass as he knows what to expect and his nerves will lessen.

Just leave them alone and give them time to sort out their lives, and they eventually will.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They are the only people affected by their decisions, and they are the ones that know their own situation better than anybody. Trying to advice them publicly (and about how they can avoid better being treated this way nonetheless) seems like a self defeating thing to do.

If Kurata is interested in them being forgotten the best he can do is to let them be.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Stay in the US. There is no limit on the number of times you can take the NY bar as far as I know, and for a newlywed I am sure he is distracted every evening. Certainly making a living is Japan is more unstable with the plummeting yen.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

With crap like this written about them, then the only time they should be in Japan is for a VISIT!!!!

If this blurb isnt proof enough I dont know what is!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Americans couldn't care less about this couple as they do not know who they are. Ever seen anything about them on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, et al? No you don't.

The only paparazzi hounding them are the Japanese media variety.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shukan Post was playing fair, and adopted a solicitous stance. There's still a lot we don't know, and I for one would like to read an article where people who personally acquainted with Komuro go on the record about his potential to work as a NY-based attorney (or in some other field). As for the couple's return to Japan, this might actually happen, for one reason or another. Having seen photos of Mako-sama in bluejeans, shopping at the local big box store, I can imagine how much she is enjoying her anonymity.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"If Komuro were still a bachelor, he could work things out even without financial issues, and keep taking the bar exam until he passes it," remarked cartoonist Mayumi Kurata, who has been observing the couple's activities since they first announced their engagement. "But now he's got a wife to support.

She's a princess and they can already apparently afford a $5000 a month apartment. When is it EVER enough?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'murica is getting more then enough Royalty from Harry and Megan and they offer a lot more for the media to play with then their Japanese counterparts.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Why this quiet young couple would choose to live in such a terrible place is difficult to understand. The description of NYC given nightly to us by no end of media comics who live there, and news stories documenting NYC residents behaviors, make it seem like as noisome a place as can be imagined. Come home, guys, where Kei-kun can study obscure legal Latin and barristerial hypocrisy in peace and, if he still wants to, can do as Kiyohara-san, as quoted in the article suggests, fly back to NYC for the test. Come home...we'll leave a chōchin on for you...

0 ( +7 / -7 )

JapanToday should give the readers basic information about this couple. They are over 30 years old and still cannot nor willing to stand on their own feet. They will keep depending on Japanese people's precious tax money - tremendous amount -which should well be spent for the suffering and natural hazard victims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Boy, where do I start?

A news reporter points out some of the other potential downsides to the couple's residing in the Big Apple, including being hounded by paparazzi;

riiiiggghhhhtt.... because the couple's private life was not open to public scrutiny in Japan. RIGHT???

This article is proof.

"If the Komuros are approached by the local media in the U.S., the Imperial Household Agency has no control over the situation in a foreign country, so there's likely to be less cause for concern if they stay in Japan,"

This is nothing but a power grab by IHA to reign in Mako and completely control her.

"If the law office where Komuro is currently employed decides to lay him off, it's possible his U.S. visa will be invalidated

Well, IF that happens, then maybe he'll return. Until then, this is not a bridge he has gotten to yet so no need to cross it.

"And as long as Mako is living peacefully in Japan under her family's watchful eyes, she can devote herself to various duties with peace of mind."

That one is just too hilarious!

Anyone living under their family's watchful eyes, will never have peace of mind.

"At the end of the day, it's up to the individual,

Yes. SO Shut your cake hole and let them be. If they want to come back to Japan, there is nothing stopping them. They don't need your advice- leave them alone.

If I were in their shoes, I'd stay put come hell or high water. This article is just another example of the excessive control the IHA has over the lives of the royals in Japan. Those 2 escaped and my advice would be stay away.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

"If the law office where Komuro is currently employed decides to lay him off, it's possible his U.S. visa will be invalidated," says Hiroshi Kiyohara, an attorney licensed to practice in New York.

Depends. That law office did know they hired a (minor) celebrity because of his wife. There had to be something in it for them, me thinks.

Commenting on Mako's working as a volunteer for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Daily Mail of April 12 pointed out that since she entered the U.S. on a spouse visa, she is not permitted to undertake bona fide employment.

Interesting. Didn't follow the whole saga but I recall an article mentioning a "job" at a Museum, not that it was being a "volunteer".

Currently, Komuro and his wife reside in an apartment in central Manhattan where the monthly rent has been reported to be around the equivalent of ¥500,000.

Very interesting. I do remember a long-lasting feud about 4 Mio JPY and forfeiting around 100 Mio JPY to get people in Japan to shut up. Now we're talking about 500K JPY a month and only for the rent? A friend of mine went to work in NYK back in Dec 2020. NYC is expensive, bloody expensive. Who is paying for all of that? Something tells me the buck stops at the J-taxpayers.

A news reporter points out some of the other potential downsides to the couple's residing in the Big Apple, including being hounded by paparazzi; the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes; and the general increase in crimes of violence, such as a mass shooting that occurred not far from the couple's residence.

"Hounded by paparazzi"? Really? I kind of doubt that one...Anyway, I'm sure in the US you have some kind of FRA (Former Royals Anonymous) support-group to provide help.

If the couple does return to Japan, that will also give a boost to Prince Akishino, the emperor's younger brother and first in line for succession to the throne.

Read: if they come back home with their tails between their legs its lecturing time. They're definitely looking forward to that...Anyway, as they are most likely to not be the ones paying their bills, they can hold out a looooong time, can't they?

"And as long as Mako is living peacefully in Japan under her family's watchful eyes, she can devote herself to various duties with peace of mind."

Privacy is another issue, and not just for the couple, but the entire imperial family. 

"If the Komuros are approached by the local media in the U.S., the Imperial Household Agency has no control over the situation in a foreign country, so there's likely to be less cause for concern if they stay in Japan," points out the aforementioned journalist covering the Imperial Household Agency.

Err, "privacy"? "Family's watchful eyes"? "Approached by the local media"? Yeah right. They are most certainly having 24/7 protection either by Japanese SPs working with the local authorities and the embassy or local cops working with the Japanese authorities through the local J-embassy. In any case, either directly or via charge-back is it the J-tax payers that (again) foot the bill. Sweet.

The J-tax payers funded golden cage has just grown bigger and less visible, but the 2 lovebirds are still trapped. Anyway, they had to be naive to think otherwise.

Long story short: nothing more than a sad (former) princess story. Nice bedtime stories are just soooo passe.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Guess they want to experience life in a third world country. They should’ve gone to Texas or Florida- there aren’t as many Asians but at least they won’t be targeted.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Wow after two failures I wonder if her parents think about his worthlessness? I would have said pass the Bar exam and then get married. My nephew is a Doctor and graduated top of his class at Harvard and Dartmouth he married a classmate from India and the first thing her parents said when he asked to marry her was, get through medical school, and your residency and then we can talk!!!

He may want to be recognized by the world as a man who is worthy of Mako, but now that he has a family, I think he needs to plant his feet solidly on the ground first.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites