Princess Mako from Japan is getting her first taste of life as a commoner in New York City where she’s now living with her new husband, Kei Komuro, after sensationally giving up her royal title last month.
The eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito was spotted over the weekend for the first time since trading Tokyo’s Imperial Palace for the bright lights of the Big Apple.
The former royal, 30, who now goes simply by Mako Komuro, made a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond Friday to pick up some home essentials for the couple’s new marital home in Hell’s Kitchen.
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show Mako at the home furnishings store where she spent about an hour and half shopping for bath towels, coat hangers, organizer baskets, some paper towels, and other items.
Mako was alone during the outing and pushed her own shopping cart around the store and had no security detail protecting her. She was dressed in a long forest green coat, black top, and blue jeans – a much more casual look than the modest, formal attire she regularly wore in public back home.
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Mako Komuro, formerly Princess Mako of Japan, picked up some home essentials this weekend as she settles into her new life in New York, half a world away from Tokyo’s Imperial Palace
The 30-year-old former royal is seen in exclusive DailyMail.com photos for the first time since she moved to New York last week, shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond
Mako, who recently married her longtime commoner boyfriend, spent an hour and half at the department store shopping for for housewares for the couple’s new marital home including towels, coat hangers, organizer baskets and some paper towels
Princess Mako pushed her own shopping cart around the store and had no security detail protecting her after giving up her royal title last month
Mako is now forced to adapt to life in as a commoner in a new country after being stripped of her royal title
Mako is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito. Her marriage to university sweetheart Kei Komuro, a commoner, in Tokyo in October (pictured) sharply divided public opinion in Japan
The princess has been a fish out of water ever since leaving behind a nation that has criticized her marriage to a commoner, and having to adapt to a new country half a world away from the confines of the Imperial House.
Mako’s loss of royal status comes from the Imperial House Law, which allows only male succession. She is the daughter of the emperor’s younger brother, and her 15-year-old brother is expected to be emperor.
At one point on Friday Mako appeared to be lost in the big city and had to ask multiple people for directions, often walking back and forth on a street multiple times until she got her bearings.
She didn’t seem too fazed by not knowing where she was going but was determined to get on with her errands.
She eventually returned to her apartment around 6pm where her husband met her at the entrance to help her with her four shopping bags.
Mako tied the knot with university sweetheart Kei Komuro in Tokyo in October after an eight-year engagement – despite many in their native country not supporting the nuptials.
At one point Mako appeared lost and had to ask multiple people for directions often walking back and forth on a street multiple times until she got her bearings
She cut a casual figure in a long, forest green coat, black top, jeans, boots, and a yellow handbag
Mako’s casual get up is a far cry from the formalwear and modest attire she was often seen wearing back home
The 30-year-old braved the brisk autumn weather and daunting New York City streets alone during the outing
The couple were pictured jetting out of Tokyo last Sunday – with a crowd of spectators and photographers in attendance – bound for the Big Apple.
Speculation ranged from whether the couple could afford to live in Manhattan to how much money Komuro would earn and if the former princess would end up financially supporting her husband.
They had been living in a modest Tokyo apartment together ahead of the move to New York, where Komuro works as a lawyer at the New Jersey-based law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP.
After arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the young couple was seen leaving the terminal while flanked by a Japanese security detail as well as local police officers.
They grabbed their luggage and were then driven to their new home in Manhattan – a one-bedroom rented apartment.
While the apartment is a one-bedroom, the building is a luxury residential tower that offers amenities including a fitness center equipped with Peloton bikes, a yoga studio, a screening room, an in-house spa, a golf simulator section, landscaped decks with barbecues and table tennis, a library curated by Strand Book Store, and a 24-hour attended lobby.
The location, right in the heart of the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, is a stone’s throw away from famous New York City landmarks including Central Park and Lincoln Center.
The shopping trip marks the first time the former Japanese royal is spotted out and about in the Big Apple since leaving Tokyo
Mako received her first passport so she could accompany Kei to New York, where he works at a law firm
She eventually returned to her apartment around 6pm Friday evening where her husband met her at the entrance to help her with her four shopping bags
According to the building’s website, one-bedroom apartments are available for rent for $4,809 per month. A two-bedroom apartment in the building would set the tenant back $7,085 per month.
Before landing in the US last Sunday, Mako declined the offer of 140million yen ($1.2million) payment to which she was entitled for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said, and is expected to find a job in New York.
Earlier this month, it was revealed Komuro had failed the New York State Bar Association exam, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Komuro took the exam earlier this summer, with the exam results were posted on the website of the New York State Board of Law Examiners earlier this month. His name was not among the successful candidates – another piece of news that local media have used to attack him, although it is common to pass after multiple attempts.
According to the broadcaster, Komuro ha said he plans to continue studying and will retake the exams in February.
‘I love Mako,’ he told reporters last month after registering their marriage in Tokyo. They did so without a wedding banquet or any of the other usual celebratory rituals.
Mako and her new husband Kei Komuro were spotted out again on Saturday as they walked to Bryant Park
Speculation ranged from whether the couple could afford to live in Manhattan to how much money Kei would earn and if the former princess would end up financially supporting her husband
Before landing in the US last Sunday, Mako declined the offer of 140million yen ($1.2million) payment to which she was entitled for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said, and is expected to find a job in New York
According to the building’s web site, one-bedroom apartments are available for rent for $4,809 per month. A two-bedroom apartment in the building would set the tenant back $7,085 per month
The couple has rented a one-bedroom apartment in a luxury residence in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City
‘I want to live the only life I have with the person I love,’ he said.
Although Japan appears modern in many ways, values about family relations and the status of women often are seen as antiquated and rooted in feudal practices.
Such views were accentuated in the public’s reaction to the marriage. Some Japanese feel they have a say in such matters because taxpayer money supports the imperial family system.
Other princesses have married commoners and left the palace. But Mako is the first to have drawn such a public outcry, including a frenzied reaction on social media and in local tabloids.
Meanwhile Mako has said she will continue to support her husband’s studies.
Polls show that up to 80 per cent of Japanese oppose the marriage that took place with none of the usual pomp and ceremony in a register office in Tokyo.
Komuro was raised by his widowed mother, Kayo. His father died when he was still in elementary school. His jobs in Japan included working in a bank and a French restaurant.
Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University law school, has a job at a New York law firm. He has yet to pass his bar exam, another piece of news that local media have used to attack him, although it is common to pass after multiple attempts
Mako’s loss of royal status comes from the Imperial House Law, which allows only male succession
Crowds and media gathered to watch the pair at Tokyo International Airport on November 14, escorted by a sizeable entourage, make their way through the terminal as they jet to the US to begin a new life in New York, following their wedding in October
Princess Mako and her new husband Komuri Kei officially began their new life as a married couple in New York, touching down in the Big Apple early on November 14 after a long flight from Tokyo
He met Mako in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo.
His proposal propelled him to the front page of Japanese newspapers – his only previous claim to fame had come from being named Prince of the Sea to lead a tourism campaign in the coastal town of Fujisawa.
The couple, both now 30, got ‘unofficially engaged’ in 2017, and planned to tie 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 Kayo had not repaid a 4million yen ($35,000) loan from a former fiancé, partly to pay her son’s tuition.
That led critics to suggest Komuro was only marrying the princess for money or fame. Komuro issued a 24-page explanation about the money – claiming it was a gift not a loan. That made him even more unpopular.
Eventually he said he would repay it, although it is not known whether the money has been returned.