Japan’s Royal Family Makes Instagram Debut

Mon Apr 01 2024
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

TOKYO: Japan’s royal family has made its debut on Instagram, marking a cautious entry into the realm of social media. However, don’t anticipate any candid selfies on its official account, which went live on Monday.

The first 19 posts feature formally staged photos and videos of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako fulfilling royal duties during recent public appearances. Despite this, over 160,000 users have already followed the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) account, which was announced a week prior but remained private until Monday.

With mythological origins dating back more than two millennia, the Japanese monarchy maintains a cultural taboo against public criticism of the emperor. By embracing social media, the institution aims to pique the interest of younger generations in the activities of the imperial family, as confirmed by an IHA spokesperson to AFP.

However, the posts under the Instagram handle kunaicho_jp offer no insider insights. Instead, strictly factual captions detail the emperor’s engagements, from diplomatic meetings to appreciating bonsai trees, all with moderated comments.

The account refrains from following other users and has yet to explore Instagram Stories. “The IHA is on Instagram! I thought it was an April Fools’ prank!” exclaimed one user in response to the launch.

Another user remarked, “When I heard the IHA created an Instagram account, I quickly checked it out. But of course, the emperor would not post ‘today’s lunch (heart emoji)’ or anything like that.”

Some users humorously noted that it was preferable for the royals to opt for the more “civilized” Instagram over a certain unnamed platform, formerly Twitter.

Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019 in a ceremony steeped in tradition after his highly popular father became the first emperor to abdicate in over two centuries.

Several other monarchies, such as Britain’s royals, have also established social media presences, albeit amidst a swirl of rumours and conspiracy theories. This was notably highlighted when the palace’s release of a family photograph led to online speculation about the whereabouts of Catherine, Princess of Wales, who later disclosed her cancer diagnosis.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp