Princess Mako and Commoner Kei: A Modern Fairy Tale?
5:25AM Mar 7, 2022
Hi, I'm Alicia Rai.
And I'm Sara Wendell. Welcome to lovestruck daily where we bring you a true love happily ever after each day direct to your earbuds. Today we are talking about royal love a royal who gave up their claim to the throne because they fell in love with a commoner but we're not talking about who you might think we're talking about I'm in love with I'm in love with you. Alicia Do you have a favorite royal romance in life or in books or movies
in in terms of real life? I think my favorite Prince and Princess story is the Swedish Royal and Prince Prince Carl Philip in particular first of all the Swedish Royals are gorgeous like just made in a factory somewhere they're like perfectly symmetrical in every way. And Prince Carl Philip had a bit of controversy because he married a model and there was all this about like her background and what what she done and and he didn't even care he came out and he said oh you know you people like the press talking about her past that's the same way that you know I was treated when it came out that I had dyslexia as a child and this isn't right and very much defended her now they have three kids and they're very happy and in addition to the grid three kids and their happiness he also has a cutlery line you look very confused but he does I am
so here for all of this like you can't see me because obviously you're listening to this but I have my chin and my Berry and I am just as a very tell me about the cutlery I don't know bridged
version but I believe he's some kind of designer and for like the Swedish like royal whatever you can like buy it on their website. He designed like a set of cutlery and it was like hundreds of dollars and it was so ugly like he made like a he made like a $200 Silver spork but yeah, other than the cutlery Prince Carl Philip I think is my favorite him and Princess Sofia I think are my favorite royal couple that are and I also think it helps them to they're not as in the press is the British Royal so probably they can live a more normal Yeah, then you know pour for Harry and Megan over there in LA
fantasies aside and forks aside. Today we are going to be talking about a real life princess who fell in love Princess Mako of Japan, who gave up her royal status because she fell in love with a commoner. Now when we were looking at this story, the coverage that we found in a lot of Western media was very positive and romantic and isn't as beautiful, but to help us discuss the varying ways in which this narrative has been interpreted internationally. We welcome Katrina Ryka Katrina is a Japanese influencer who is something of a cultural expert on all things Japanese royalty now I want to make sure I have this right to say welcome it would be your Yokoso Is that correct?
Yep, it's yoke also be your Do you got logos I
know you gotta go Samos. I am so excited to have you come and talk to us today. To recap we have Princess Mako who is the niece of the current emperor is that correct? Yes, yes, she's the current Japanese Emperor's nice. She fell in love with Kate go Moodle, a commoner que the dramatic horn music they first met at Tokyo International Christian University. Apparently they met at during a meeting for a study abroad program, which I think is very funny. And she says she was really attracted to his smile. And while the Western media has been very sort of sparkly, golden Happy Times about this story that she fell in love with a commoner and it's so romantic. The Japanese press was very critical of their relationship. And there was specific criticism of the fiancee of Comoro. Am I saying that incorrectly? Is it Komodo Komodo, Komodo, Komodo, thank you. So he had to present the palace with a document explaining an unpaid debt to his for his mother's former fiance and the press has covered him rather negatively looking at him as what I think in in English we would call a gold digger or someone who's really there for the money now it's it's it's a very complicated story because the the palace has also said that Mako has post traumatic stress from dealing with all of the criticism in the press which I have to say my heart goes out to her it's very hard to have a relationship and be a person with that much public scrutiny and that many people telling you what they think of your religion kinship. And ultimately, she made the decision to leave the royal family and also forfeited a $1.3 million payout from the Japanese government, which is traditional, when women lose their royal status. And they marry and they now live in New York City. So they're like almost my neighbors by a few states, which is awesome. I can go visit them and be like, Seriously, what's up. But the the Western media portrayal of this has been, Oh, it's so romantic. She fell in love with a commoner, she gave up her royal status, she has moved to the United States, she's become a commoner. And the sort of the tint of everything is very romantic and emotional. And Oh, isn't this a beautiful story? And my understanding is that is not entirely the case from the Japanese media. Do I have that? Right?
Right. So I think I want to preface this by saying initially, people were really overjoyed at their I think it was an engagement announcement. You know, he was even called Prince of the Sea. I think in media. People were very excited. They said he was handsome. They were just, everyone was really excited. And I think it was only when all these kind of scandals came out where people started being a little bit doubtful. Because as somebody who's going to marry royalty, you should be having those scandals. And it doesn't. It doesn't it's not just like one incident. It was a big one where I think like you mentioned, cornrows mother had borrowed money from her ex fiance. And the ex fiance is just having a hard time and he would like the loan back. And they're just kind of arguing about it. And I think the real issue was even not so much even the actual debt because yes, that's his mother's that not his. But I think he initially he stated that he didn't know anything about it. So he kind of lied about that, because it was later revealed that he had a recording of a meeting, where they discuss the the debt or like the loan. And so there's no way he would have not known about it. And so every little thing that he did wrong, you know, the I don't know if you guys know, but the ponytail incident, where he was caught wearing a ponytail, and people just thought he was there making a big deal of the ponytail thing was disrespectful. I think that that kind of scrutiny only happened because all these lies kind of kept building up and up. And you know, he lost a lot of public trust, you know, he's not fit to marry your loyalty. So I think that's where the big thing is, I think a lot of Western media when they criticize Japanese citizens for not supporting the union. I think a lot of people have the misconception that people are against the fact that she's marrying a commoner or against the fact that she's leaving the country going to New York. Nobody, I from what I understand a lot of people, you know, they either don't care about it, or they're all for it, you know, she can marry whoever she wants, but the guy that she's gonna marry is a little bit sketchy.
So what can I ask what your opinion on this one has been? Is it something that you followed and have strong opinions? Do you ship them? Are you kind of like, Girl, we need to have a talk.
I did a lot of thinking about this topic, especially because my mom was super into it, especially when I was going on. Oh, my goodness, I would go home and she would tell me about it. Um, and I would just like to say though, again, I feel really bad for Princess Mako and her PTSD and how she has been attacked in media. Of course, I don't think anybody deserves that. And I think she does deserve happiness, of course. I think she may be rushed into. She rushed. They both rushed into the marriage. And they both had their own agendas. I feel, I think that she didn't want her responsibilities. As a princess. She was she wanted to be a regular person. And which I'm all for, like, she doesn't gain anything by being in the royal family. It's not like she can take over she's, you know, she's a girl. So I'm all for her having freedom. And he, you know, he has his own gains. He gained entry into the university with a scholarship, and yet he failed the bar exam. You know, he gained a lot from this marriage. So I think they both went into it. Maybe they love each other, maybe, you know, maybe they're using each other, whichever. And it's
interesting, because so much of the narrative that you've shared and that I've read is not Oh, he's terrible. And she's terrible. It's Oh, we're really worried about her because we don't think this guy is on the up and up. It's a very protective concerned narrative about her, which I find really interesting. Is is the Japanese royalty generally romanticized in Japan in the media.
Honestly, I we don't see them that much. They're not really especially young people. They don't really care too much about Japanese royalty. But I think what really drew people in was the whole scandal.
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, no, no one would talk about this guy if he was boring.
Exactly, exactly. Other princesses have gotten married to commoners. And it was not a new thing, right. And when those happened, it was celebrated by everyone or, you know, it was on the TV, but it wasn't as big of a deal as this has become. Right, right. Right, right.
Do you remember? Was there a lot of curiosity about Princess Mako? Before she got married? Was she a celebrity royal in the way that a lot of other Royals are celebrities? And there's a lot of speculation about their lives. Is that the case with her? Did she just kind of do her thing? And then all of a sudden, she had this attention on her because of this guy. From what
I understand. It's not as if she had a bunch of you know, attention beforehand. I do believe that she really pushed to go to regular regular people's School, which is where she met him. It has been pushed I think recently were members of the royal family they should be allowed to do regular people things like attend regular people schools, became a whole question whether even that should be allowed after this Komodo Mako scandal happened. People were starting to die. Yeah, they aren't even alive. They should, should they even go to regular people's school? And it became like a it was a whole debated topic at 1.0. Wow.
Because that's a lot to unpack my goodness. Yeah.
What about the men like do they get any flack for? Or are their relationships scrutinized? Do you think as closely as the royal women,
so with the men, it's actually it's kind of a different story, because they are definitely allowed to marry, marry commoners. And they have to marry commoners. I feel like everyone has to marry a common or otherwise, it's just you have to marry outside your own family. Um, but men when they marry a foreigner, they've remained in the royal family. So essentially, what it is, is that commoners marry into the royal family, whereas with Mako she marry out of the family, you know, and I think it's very different because when you marry into the royal family as common or a woman marrying into royal family, all of a sudden you have all these royal duties.
It's a big job, isn't it? Yeah,
very big job very big.
One of the things that I find so interesting is that while we were prepping this episode, we were looking at it from the Western media perspective, that this was a cute, romantic story. And we were surprised to learn about this perspective of oh, you know, we're not so fond of this guy. Do you have any opinion why Western media might have been more likely to ship them and to have such a positive slant on it?
Uh, from what I saw in all the articles that I read in English, I think maybe people weren't aware of the depth of the scandals. Everyone always mentioned a little money scandal but I think that maybe they either dismiss or they don't understand how do you have an issue it is especially with the royal family and I think we like to focus on you know, the nice myths the next Meghan Markel type thing
Yeah, that's definitely true because especially because the media in this coverage they want clicks they want attention they want they want interest of course they're going to compare Mako to to Vegas. Sadly, I think both of them have to deal with with media generated PTSD. I you know, I really hope I really hope they text each other like that there's like a Mako Do you think they know each other? And I hope they have a little watsapp with like, with with Megan and the Australian princess who married the Danish Crown Prince and mock I think they I hope they all just text each other. Like,
are you disgraced Reverend says is yeah, just hanging out together? Yeah.
Like, oh, did you see this crappy article? Oh, my gosh. It's okay. You're great. Like, I really want to imagine this beautiful, supportive little watsapp group for them so that they can look after each other.
Honestly, that would be I do hope, though, that he does treat her well, you know, that he remains faithful. He better not, you know, he better not put her through any more trauma.
Oh, fingers crossed.
I mean, I think at this point, Alicia and I would have to have a little talk with him.
I know. Well go to New York. I'll
talk to them. I don't know if this is relevant. But I remember at one point there was during the whole incident with his ponytail and he was getting being scrutinized with his ponytail. There was a young people on Tik Tok essentially being a him so they were like put their hairs up in a ponytail, where his outfit and then the way he was kind of dodging media it was seen as rude and very dismissive. So they would be like, I'm him like, and he they would basically be mocked, pretending to be him. And that was a thing at one point.
I would simply die. Wholesale marked me on tick tock like that.
What is this is why I'm not because I don't even want to know what people would say about me either. is where I'm not. I can't handle that kind of pressure. It's too much pressure.
What's the issue with the ponytail or ponytail seen as like, disrespectful? Or is it just because people didn't like him? So they were looking for anything to cancel him?
I think it's the latter. See, I think if people liked him, then they would be like, Wow, he's handsome in a ponytail. But you know, like, he's a little bit hair for whatever it is. But I think because he already had all that, you know, bad stuff going on. And then people were like, Wow, look how disrespectful that ponytail you know, how dare he
that that makes sense. That makes sense. Otherwise, it would have become instead of becoming a mocking trend, it would have been like, you would see all these guys walking around with ponytails in there.
I honestly think
I'm so tickled by the idea that he'd have his own ponytail emoji.
Yeah, knowing how, how much Japanese people love the jump on trends. If he was bopping you know, everyone would be wearing the same ponytail, it would become a whole trend like, obviously, obviously.
Katrina, where can people find you on the internet?
I'm on Instagram. I'm on Tik Tok. My user is Katrina Reyka on Vogue, and it would be nice to see people there.
Oh, we will link to you do not worry. Thank you so much for hanging out with us and talking about this. Yeah. Thank you.
Olga. Lima, thank you so much for having me.
What a great discussion. That was Sarah, do you have any left to go for our listeners today? Anything for them to take with them?
Indeed I do. It's interesting when you see a couple or a person who generates a lot of narrative, especially when that narrative has so much difference in between where are you getting that narrative from? But the truth is, the only people who know the absolute truth about their love story are the people who are in it. So that's what I think we should remember that. It doesn't actually matter what other people are saying about your relationship or your life. It's your life. You get to run it how you want and you know your own narrative. And
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Our researcher is Jesse Epstein. Our editor is Jen Jacobs. We are produced by Abigail steckler and little Scorpion studios and Gillian Davis with executive producer frolic media. This is an iHeart Radio Podcast and we wish you and all of your cutlery a very happy ever after today. I'm in love with the love with you. I'm in love with you