Princess Mako's 'commoner' husband Kei Komuro fails the bar exam for a second time

Princess Mako's 'commoner' husband Kei Komuro fails the bar exam for a second time

Will it be third time lucky? Princess Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband Kei Komuro fails bar exam for a SECOND time – as his wife takes job as unpaid volunteer at the Met after quitting her royal life to move to the US with him

  • Princess Mako’s husband Kei sat his NY State Bar Exam for the second time in February – however his name is not on the public list of passed candidates
  • Komuro, 30, first sat the bar exam last summer, months before he wed Mako, also 30, however it was revealed that November that he had failed 
  • The budding lawyer was pictured making his way to work on Thursday, the same day that he learned he had failed to pass the bar
  • He wore a shirt and a suit, and was seen carrying a briefcase; his long hair was pulled back into a ponytail – a style he has often sported in recent months 
  • On Friday, his wife was pictured in New York’s Midtown near the Met Museum, where she is currently working as an unpaid volunteer 
  • The former Princess sensationally quit the royal family to marry ‘commoner’ Komuro in October 2021; they then moved to New York City weeks later 

Princess Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband Kei Komuro has failed the bar exam for a second time – just as it was revealed that his wife has taken a job as an unpaid volunteer at the Met, months after quitting her royal life to move to the U.S. with him.

Komuro, 30, sat the New York State Bar exam for the second time in February, however when the results of that round were published online on Thursday, his name was not included among the successful candidates.  

The news of his failure comes just days after it was reported that Mako, 30, who is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, had begun volunteering at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Japan Times reported that the former princess ‘has specifically been involved in preparing an exhibition of paintings inspired by the life of a 13th-century monk who traveled throughout Japan as he introduced Buddhism.’  

Mako, who is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and niece of reigning Emperor Naruhito, gave up her royal title to marry ‘commoner’ Komuro last October in a small civil ceremony. 

Princess Mako's 'commoner' husband Kei Komuro has failed his New York State Bar Exam for the second time, it was revealed on Thursday - just as he was pictured heading to work

Princess Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband Kei Komuro has failed his New York State Bar Exam for the second time, it was revealed on Thursday – just as he was pictured heading to work  

News of 30-year-old Komuro's failure to pass the bar exam came just after it was revealed that his wife (pictured in New York today), 30, is working as an unpaid volunteer at the Met Museum

News of 30-year-old Komuro’s failure to pass the bar exam came just after it was revealed that his wife (pictured in New York today), 30, is working as an unpaid volunteer at the Met Museum

Mako, who is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito, sensationally gave up her royal title to marry 'commoner' Komuro last October in a small civil ceremony (pictured)

Mako, who is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito, sensationally gave up her royal title to marry ‘commoner’ Komuro last October in a small civil ceremony (pictured)

The couple, who were together for eight years before tying the knot, have since moved to a one-bedroom apartment in New York, where Komuro works at New Jersey-based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

Komuro was seen making his way to work on Thursday morning, looking somber but smart in a suit and shirt; it is unclear whether he had already received the news about his bar exam failure.  

He was pictured carrying a briefcase and he had his long hair pulled back into a ponytail, a style that he has favored since growing out his locks following his wedding to Mako last year. 

Mako’s ‘commoner’ husband appears to have been embracing a more low-key look since marrying the former Princess; when he sat his bar exam in February, he was pictured outside of the testing center wearing a very casual ensemble of jeans, a denim shirt, and a pair of Star Wars-themed Vans sneakers. 

However on Thursday, the only sign of his more trendy New York aesthetic was his ponytail.  

Meanwhile, Komuro’s wife was pictured in New York’s Midtown neighborhood on Friday, one day after the results were published; she wore baggy blue jeans and a simple black sweater, which she paired with black ballet flats and a black handbag.  

The former Princess was then seen getting out of a car with a CVS bag in tow, before walking past a photographer who was waiting to get her picture. 

Mako was seen not far from the Met Museum, where she is currently working as an unpaid volunteer.  

Komuro (seen on Thursday) sat his bar exam for the second time in February, four months after he wed Mako, who gave up royal life in Japan in order to move to New York with her husband

Komuro (seen on Thursday) sat his bar exam for the second time in February, four months after he wed Mako, who gave up royal life in Japan in order to move to New York with her husband 

The budding lawyer was pictured in a suit and shirt, while his long hair - which he has been growing since his wedding - was pulled back in a ponytail

The budding lawyer was pictured in a suit and shirt, while his long hair – which he has been growing since his wedding – was pulled back in a ponytail 

It is unclear whether Komuro was already aware of his failure when he made his way to work on Thursday morning; the list of successful candidates was published that same day

It is unclear whether Komuro was already aware of his failure when he made his way to work on Thursday morning; the list of successful candidates was published that same day

It is unclear whether Komuro was already aware of his failure when he made his way to work on Thursday morning; the list of successful candidates was published that same day  

Komuro currently works at New Jersey-based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Komuro currently works at New Jersey-based firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP

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

Mako studied art and cultural heritage while at university in Japan, before going on to work as a special researcher at Tokyo’s University Museum. 

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 said of her new gig.

Komuro first sat the New York State Bar Exam last July, three months before his wedding to Mako, however it was revealed in November that he had failed. 

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

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.

Should he choose to re-sit the exam, he will have to wait until July of this year to re-take the exam, which is only offered twice a year. 

One day after news of Komuro's exam failure was made public, Mako was pictured in New York's Midtown area, looking casual in baggy jeans and a black sweater

One day after news of Komuro's exam failure was made public, Mako was pictured in New York's Midtown area, looking casual in baggy jeans and a black sweater

One day after news of Komuro’s exam failure was made public, Mako was pictured in New York’s Midtown area, looking casual in baggy jeans and a black sweater 

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Mako has taken on a job as an unpaid volunteer at the Met Museum on New York's Upper East Side

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Mako has taken on a job as an unpaid volunteer at the Met Museum on New York’s Upper East Side 

The Upper East Side museum is a 10-minute drive from the luxury one-bedroom apartment in Hell's Kitchen that she shares with husband and aspiring lawyer Komuro

The Upper East Side museum is a 10-minute drive from the luxury one-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen that she shares with husband and aspiring lawyer Komuro

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.

He met Mako in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo.

The couple 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. 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.

‘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.’ 

Komuro met Mako (seen at their wedding) in 2013 when they were studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo and they announced their engagement in 2017

Komuro met Mako (seen at their wedding) in 2013 when they were studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo and they announced their engagement in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Komuro has not lived in Japan for more than three years – moving to New York shortly after their marriage was postponed for the first time.

He studied law at Fordham University in the Bronx and then landed a job clerking at Lowenstein Sandler in Manhattan, counseling companies and investors on venture capital financings, mergers, and acquisitions.

Only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to marry ‘commoners,’ so Mako’s decision to marry for love means a whole slew of new things for her.

For a start, she is no longer considered a princess – and even if the marriage ends in divorce, she can never return to the family.

For the first time in her life, she has a surname and will be known just as Mako Komuro.

She will also have to apply for a passport – royals don’t need them – so she can move Stateside.

She can no longer live in the Imperial Palace, and any sons that the couple have will not be in the line of succession for the male-only emperorship.

That poses a potential problem for Japan – where there are now only three people allowed by the Imperial Household Law to succeed 61-year-old Emperor Naruhito – and one of those, his uncle Masohito, is 85.

The other two are Nauruhito’s 55-year-old brother Akishino – Mako’s father – and Mako’s brother Hisahito, 15.

The commoner who wooed a princess: How Kei Komuro overcame scandal to wed Mako 

Komuro was raised by a single mother, with some media reports saying part of his education was funded by his mother’s former fiancé.

At one point, he earned some money by working for tourism promotion near Tokyo.

Trouble erupted a few months after he and Mako announced their engagement in 2017, when tabloids reported a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance, with the man claiming mother and son had failed to repay a debt of about $35,000.

Komuro later said the money had been a gift, not a loan. But in 2021, he submitted a 24-page explanation and later reportedly said he would pay a settlement.

In September 2018, he left for studies at New York’s Fordham University and didn’t return until September this year, after having graduated from law school and started working at a New York law firm. 

When he returned to Japan, he was dressed casually and sporting long hair drawn back in a ponytail, setting off a media frenzy because it was deemed ‘disrespectful’.

But on Tuesday morning, ponytail shorn and dressed in a crisp dark suit and tie, he left to claim his bride. Most of his face was covered with a mask in line with Japan’s coronavirus protocol, but he looked happy.

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Lillian Gissen

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