Princess Mako known for independence and in-depth knowledge of art

Princess Mako, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, is known by people close to her as an independent and friendly woman who has pursued a career as a researcher at a museum while performing imperial duties.

The 30-year-old princess, who married Kei Komuro on Tuesday, worked as a special researcher at the University Museum of the University of Tokyo, as she earned a master’s degree in art museum and gallery studies at the University of Leicester in central England in 2016. She also studied art history at the University of Edinburgh.

Princess Mako visited Bhutan in June 2017. | KYODO
Princess Mako visited Bhutan in June 2017. | KYODO

In April 2010, Mako became the first imperial family member to enroll at International Christian University in Tokyo, instead of Gakushuin University at which members of the imperial family have traditionally studied. Gakushuin was originally created for the Japanese peerage.

The princess met her husband at the university in 2012 at a meeting for students hoping to study abroad.

She was keen to play an active role in promoting friendly international ties, visiting Honduras and El Salvador among other countries during a period of about four years through July 2019, as she took over part of such duties from former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko after her grandfather’s abdication in April 2019.

The governments of Paraguay and Brazil bestowed medals on Mako earlier this month for her work in promoting friendly ties between the two nations and Japan.

She also visited many parts of Japan. Mako volunteered to offer lectures to children in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in the summer of 2011, two of the areas hit hardest by the earthquake and tsunami in March of that year.

Born on Oct. 23, 1991, as the first child of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, the princess was named Mako, which features the kanji character “ma” meaning true or natural, as her father hoped she would lead an unpretentious life by staying faithful to herself.

Since the revelation of a financial dispute involving Komuro’s mother, the couple and their families have often been subjected to derogatory comments on social media.

Last November, Mako said in a statement that she and Komuro were “irreplaceable to each other” and that “a marriage is a necessary choice” to allow them to cherish and protect their feelings.

The Imperial Household Agency said earlier this month that Mako has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder caused by what she described as psychological abuse the couple and their families received.

Princess Mako visited Austria for a home stay during summer holidays in August 2006. | KYODO
Princess Mako visited Austria for a home stay during summer holidays in August 2006. | KYODO

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