Japan‘s former Princess Mako is now reportedly an unpaid volunteer at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art after giving up her titles – and a $1.3 million payout – to marry her ‘commoner’ college sweetheart.

Mako Komuro, 30, is working in the iconic museum’s Asian art collection, helping to put together an exhibit of paintings inspired by the life of a 13th century monk who introducing Buddhism in Japan, according to the Japan Times.

The museum is a 10-minute drive from the luxury one-bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen that she shares with husband and aspiring lawyer Kei Komuro, 30.

The couple were engaged for eight years before tying the knot last October in a small civil ceremony in Tokyo.

Because only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry non-royals, Mako’s decision to marry for love means that she is no longer considered a princess and any future sons will not be in the line of succession for the emperorship.

Mako and Kei met in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo, where she studied art and cultural heritage. She went on to work as a special researcher at Tokyo’s University Museum.

Japan’s former Princess Mako, seen above leaving for a trip to South America in July 2019, is now working as an unpaid volunteer in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mako, 30, gave up her royal titles after marrying her 'commoner' boyfriend Kei Komuro in Tokyo last October. Above, the couple announce their engagement in 2017

Mako, 30, gave up her royal titles after marrying her ‘commoner’ boyfriend Kei Komuro in Tokyo last October. Above, the couple announce their engagement in 2017

Mako is reportedly working in the museum's Asian art collection. She studied art and cultural heritage at the International Christian University outside Tokyo, where she met her husband

Mako is reportedly working in the museum’s Asian art collection. She studied art and cultural heritage at the International Christian University outside Tokyo, where she met her husband

She also studied art history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and got a master’s in art museum and gallery studies at the University of Leicester in England in 2016, People reports. 

‘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 Met curator told People magazine.

Representatives for the museum did not immediately respond to questions from DailyMail.com. 

Mako is the daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Japanese Emperor Naruhito. 

The ex-princess and Kei Komuro 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 Kei’s widowed mother, Kayo, had not repaid a $4 million yen ($35,000) loan from a former fiancé, which was partly meant 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. Eventually, he said he would repay it, although it is not known whether the money has been returned. 

But despite the turmoil Kei and Mako’s love endured, in 2020, the former Princess begged the Japanese public to support her decision. 

Princess Mako, above at Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony, gave up her titles because only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry non-royals

Princess Mako, above at Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony, gave up her titles because only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry non-royals

Mako left her home in Akasaka Estate in Tokyo on October 26, above, and landed in New York City's JFK on November 14

Mako left her home in Akasaka Estate in Tokyo on October 26, above, and landed in New York City’s JFK on November 14

The former princess has been spotted shopping for essentials for her luxury one-bedroom apartment she shares with her new husband in Hell's Kitchen

The former princess has been spotted shopping for essentials for her luxury one-bedroom apartment she shares with her new husband in Hell’s Kitchen 

Mako, above on November 20, turned down the $140 million yen ($1.3 million) payment she was entitled to for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said

Mako, above on November 20, turned down the $140 million yen ($1.3 million) payment she was entitled to for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said

‘We are irreplaceable to each other – someone to rely on during both happy and unhappy times,’ she said, announcing the wedding would go ahead. 

‘So a marriage is a necessary choice for us to live while cherishing and protecting our feelings.’ 

The couple married last October, with the Imperial Household Agency explaining that the couple didn’t want a big wedding ‘because their marriage is not celebrated by many people.’

Before landing in the US on November 14, Mako declined the $140 million yen ($1.3 million) payment she was entitled to for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said. 

The newlyweds have been living in an apartment in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

While the unit 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. 

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 married last October, with the Imperial Household Agency explaining that the couple didn't want a big wedding 'because their marriage is not celebrated by many people'

The couple married last October, with the Imperial Household Agency explaining that the couple didn’t want a big wedding ‘because their marriage is not celebrated by many people’

The couple's apartment - close to Mako's new gig at the Met museum - has one-bedroom units are available for rent for $4,809 a month

The couple’s apartment – close to Mako’s new gig at the Met museum – has one-bedroom units are available for rent for $4,809 a month

Mako’s husband Kei is now trying to pass the New York state bar exam to become a lawyer after failing it once last summer.

He first sat for the test last July, three months before his wedding to Mako, however it was revealed in November that he had failed. 

He took the test again in February, but the results have not been released. 

Komuro’s latest attempt at the bar exam came less than a year after he first sat the test in the July 2021, when he had the option to do the test remotely. 

This time around, no remote option was available to applicants. 

Kei Komuro, 30, is trying to become a lawyer and sat for the New York state bar exam for the second time in February after failing the test last year

Kei Komuro, 30, is trying to become a lawyer and sat for the New York state bar exam for the second time in February after failing the test last year

As he did last year, Komuro will now face an agonizing wait of several months before he learns whether or not his second attempt at the exam was successful. 

According to Japanese broadcaster NHKKomuro phoned lawyer Okuno Yoshihiko, the head of a firm in Japan where he previously worked, to tell him he failed the exam.  

If he fails again, Komuro will have to wait until July of this year to re-take the exam, which is only offered twice a year.

He is able to take the test as many times as he likes until he passes – since New York State does not impose a restriction on the number of attempts a candidate can make. 



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