Princess Mako of Japan and her husband Kei Komuro held a press conference together at a hotel in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon, October 26, following the registration of her marriage.
The couple only read statements, expressing their feelings for each other and their views about their marriage.
Questions for the couple were submitted in advance through designated media organizations, including the Imperial Household Association Press Club, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Although about 50 representatives of the media attended the press conference in person, the couple chose to provide all answers in writing and not take questions in person. The Princess said that some of the questions were premised on “unfounded stories,” and answering them verbally could only lead to further misunderstanding.
Below is a translation of Princess Mako and Kei Komuro’s opening statements, followed by highlights of the written answers to the media’s questions.
Highlights from Princess Mako’s Press Conference After Marrying Kei Komuro
As the impact of COVID-19 continues, I would like to offer my sympathy to those who have suffered during this time.
To those who have supported us during this difficult time, I would like to offer my appreciation.
Today, there is something I want to say to everyone, which is why I decided to take this opportunity.
As someone who was part of the Imperial Household, I have developed a sense of gratitude to those who were concerned about our wedding. And to those who supported us, I would like to thank you.
With all that has happened, we would like to talk about our thoughts and feelings about the wedding.
With guidance and support, I have fulfilled my responsibility as a member of the Imperial Household to the best of my ability.
Over these 30 years, I have been helped, encouraged, and protected by many people. To those who put their heart and soul into their work with me, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
In the various locations that I visited, I was always received with warm greetings and smiles. To those that I was fortunate to meet, as well as those whom I did not have a chance to meet, and to all those who offered me support, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I have no way of expressing how important all the people I met are to me, and even going forward this will not change.
Regarding the marriage with Kei, I know there are people who have many differing opinions. I am sorry there are those who have felt distressed about our marriage. For those who thought about us, and those who in their own quiet way were concerned for us, as well as those who were unwavering in their support for me and Kei throughout, I would like to thank you.
Kei is indispensable to me. And for us, [marriage] is a necessary choice as we listen to and protect our hearts and feelings.
I love Mako. You only live once, and I think that my wish is to live my life together with someone that I love. Until now, we have had happy times, and not so happy times, but we faced them together.
To those whom I have caused distress due to this wedding, I would like to apologize. The fact that I would like to pursue my life with Mako is thanks to her and to all those who have supported us. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks.
Until today, there were limited opportunities for me to make statements publicly. I think that provided a chance for misunderstandings to arise.
As some of you know, since our engagement was reported, Kei has not been able to make decisions of his own accord. For example, on the situation between Kei’s mother and ex-fiancé, they proceeded in the manner I suggested.
Regarding Kei’s study abroad, he prepared his plan and created a base abroad, as I asked him to do. When he went abroad, I wasn’t able to be of any assistance, but I am very grateful that he put a lot of effort into the endeavor.
Kei was criticized with one-sided coverage, because it was thought that he was acting for his own convenience, and that supposedly he wasn’t thinking about my feelings. Wrong information was reported as if it were the truth, and baseless information was spread. I became afraid, and it was a difficult time for me.
I am really thankful for all those who supported me and Kei, even when times were difficult.
The details of the so-called “financial trouble” between my mother and a former fiancé were announced in April this year. I have on several occasions expressed my gratitude to the ex-fiancé, as is also written in the published statement, as has my mother. And for that I would like to thank him again.
Following the proposed payment of compensation suggested in April this year, [my mother’s ex-fiancé] suggested that an important condition was to meet my mother in person. However, due to the psychological stress inflicted on her, on a doctor’s recommendation my mother decided she could not meet him.
I would like to take the place of my mother and resolve the situation as her advocate, representing my mother. On this, I have received a positive response from the weekly magazine journalist who is the point of contact for my mother’s ex-fiancé.
I would like to do everything I can to resolve this issue, and there is no change in the fact that I wish him to accept the compensation money.
Over these years, wrong information was broadcast as if it were the truth, the slander of which caused psychological damage to Mako, and it is something which saddens me. My mother suffered as well due to the psychological stress, and she was brought to the point that she had to stop working. Her everyday life is spent worrying about her wellbeing.
I would like to offer my warm thanks to all the many people who helped us during this time.
I would like to make a warm family life with Mako. At the same time, I would like to do everything in my power to support her. During happy times and even those that are not, I would like to stand by her, and be an invaluable part of her existence.
We will be starting a new life. I am sure we will encounter difficulties along the way. But just as we have until now, I want to continue joining forces [with Kei], and walking together side by side.
Our loyalty to each other is thanks to our devotion to one another and thanks to the presence of all those who supported us.
There are many who understand the difficulty of living while protecting our hearts. I hope that we can create a society where we can all live and support each other’s feelings.
Highlights from Answers to Pre-submitted Questions
Thank you for kindly thinking of questions to pose to us. However, in those queries, there were also questions that risk giving the mistaken impression about the truth of certain wrong information.
This came as a shock to us. And we were filled with dread at the thought of replying to these questions in person, along with the fear that old wounds might be opened again.
Therefore, we judged that it was impossible to reply to these questions in person. We think it is a deep shame that there were questions giving the impression that false information was in fact true.
On the state of mind of the newlyweds
I am relieved that I was able to get married. There are those who have supported us, unwaveringly, without flinching. The words that I have received after getting married, I would like to cherish them in my heart.
I couldn’t meet Mako for three years, and when I came back and was able to meet her, I was really happy.
Then today I was able to marry her. I am really grateful that despite the fact we have spent time apart, Mako still loves me with the same amount of feeling. I am glad I could provide some support for her, and that by coming together, we could manage to share many different feelings.
On foregoing Mako’s imperial status
Hardly any time has passed since this morning. So I think that I will sense the fact of becoming a common member of society, either at the end of today or tomorrow, at the earliest. It’s difficult to express how you feel regarding something that has happened to you only a few hours before.
When I was part of the imperial family, I was protected and supported. And, thanks to that, I am aware of the positive thoughts from everyone. I was blessed with meeting many people in those times. Every memory is a treasure, and I can’t pick one which is particularly more so than another.
Regarding the plan going forward, it’s personal so I would like to avoid details. But I would like to build an environment where I can have positive memories, and create a warm household. However, this is not something to consult with others to achieve.
I hope that I can have a life which is fulfilling. There are many things that make me uneasy about moving to a new environment. The biggest worry is that either me or my family, or Kei’s family, might still be attacked with slander going forward.
Regarding the question of what relationship I plan to have with my family, what I can say is that as a singular individual, I plan to pray for the happiness of the imperial family.
As I live together with Mako, I want to cherish every day and make a warm family life with her.
I would also like to be her support, so that we can create an environment where Mako can feel at ease and is comfortable. That is what I have always thought, ever since we started seeing each other.
On the last point [regarding the relation with the family], I am of the same opinion as Mako.
On the Crown Prince’s position on the wedding, and Mako's decision to talk about her PTSD
Our actions have since reflected my father’s thoughts. We have tried our best, but we don’t know to what extent we managed to respond to people’s expectations.
Regarding the criticism online and in the media, I felt a strong fear that an unwarranted story and mistaken information for some reason was being presented as the truth.
I decided to publicly announce my PTSD due to its relationship to the wedding. My condition is currently not entirely good by any means. But thanks to the help of those around me, I have somehow managed to make it to today. Kei has also supported me and encouraged me.
We have done everything we can to deal with the situation, but to what extent we managed to succeed, I don’t think it’s our place to judge.
I am aware that there are people who are against our wedding. But I would like to treasure our life together going forward. I would like to do everything I can to support Mako so her condition improves.
On criticism that Kei Komuro used the imperial family for admission to Fordham University
I did not use the title of “princess’ fiancé” to be admitted to the university, nor did I have “special treatment as her fiancé.”
Fordham University’s admission policy stipulates that admission qualifications are not limited to law graduates, but that they must have received an equivalent legal education. In my case, Fordham University School of Law accepted me on the basis of the law studies that I completed before I entered law school. That is why my application was accepted.
The tuition exemption scholarship was decided based on a comprehensive evaluation of my case, including the grades I submitted. In the admissions process, I never mentioned that I am “Princess Mako’s fiancé.”
I did explain the situation that the Japanese media may contact the university and could cause an inconvenience, after the admission decision. Regarding the description of me on the university’s website [which mentions the engagement to Princess Mako], it was decided by the university after comprehensively considering the situation.
On thoughts about the engagement becoming a media scandal, and being compared to Megan Markle.
On plans in New York, and whether they are open to doing TV interview
It is sad for me to receive this sort of question, which may give the impression that false information is a fact. We have never considered our engagement to be a “scandal,” though unfortunately there have been some disputes．
We have been horrified, scared, and saddened by the fact that false information has been taken as fact and that unfounded stories have spread.
As for the comparison, I don’t have any particular thoughts. I would like to refrain from answering any questions about my future personal life．I am not considering giving any interviews at the moment．
What I would like is just to lead a peaceful life in my new environment．
Author: JAPAN Forward.