Japan’s Most Famous Law Grad Passes On 3rd N.Y. Bar Exam Attempt

In a bit of good news, the man who married a former Japanese princess has finally passed the bar exam, defying detractors back home who had criticized their romance.

Much to his delight, Kei Komuro’s name is found on the list of those who passed the July New York State Bar Exam.

Komuro’s engagement to former Princess Mako, announced in 2017, prompted a widespread public outcry, mostly on social media and in the tabloids.

Komuro, 31, a graduate of Fordham University Law School, has a job at a New York law firm, and has been living in New York with Mako, a museum curator. She gave up her royal status last year when she married Komuro. All Japanese princesses relinquish their royal status upon marriage, as there is only male succession in the Japanese imperial family.

Reports said Komuro’s shaky standing will now presumably improve with the imperial family and Komuro’s mom may move in with them.

Japan appears modern on the surface, but values about family and women are rooted in feudal practices. Many Japanese are also often jealous of people who study abroad or get jobs with international companies.

Local media say the couple are like Romeo and Juliet, and have used the Japanese equivalent of the phrase: “the third time is the charm.” Komuro failed the bar in his two previous attempts.

It is common for people to pass after multiple attempts. Of the 6,350 candidates for the latest New York exam, the passing rate was 66%, including Komuro.

The couple did without any fancy wedding, registered their marriage and took off to New York in November last year. They met while attending Tokyo’s International Christian University a decade ago.

The Japanese tabloids had stalked the couple in New York, taking snapshots and commenting snidely about Mako’s casual clothes, which struck a contrast with the usual staid formal wear of Japan’s imperial family.

Other princesses have married commoners and left the palace. But the reaction to Komuro and Mako was especially frenzied, much of it focusing on whether he would be able to support his wife, especially as he had been unable to procure his law license until he passed the bar exam.

The family holds no actual political power but serves as an important symbol of the nation, attending ceremonial events and visiting disaster zones.

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