Princess Mako first met her fiance Kei Komuro in 2012 when they were first-year students at International Christian University (ICU) in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka.
They happened to sit nearby at a briefing session on the university's student exchange program, and subsequently began dating. However, Princess Mako left Japan in August 2012 to study in Britain, while Komuro went to the United States to study in autumn of the same year.
The princess came home in July 2013, and Komuro also returned around the same time. They went on frequent dates in the Minato Mirai district of Yokohama, and in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The couple seldom used cars when they went out together, mainly travelling by train like other young people.
Bodyguards from the Imperial Guard are supposed to accompany Princess Mako when she goes out. However, at the request of her parents Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, who supported Princess Mako's relationship with Komuro, the bodyguards tried to keep a distance from the couple by blending into the crowd.
Princess Mako and Komuro graduated from ICU in 2014. The princess studied at a graduate school in Britain from September 2014. She and Komuro reportedly exchanged emails and had phone conversations before she came back to Japan in September 2015.