INTERNATIONAL

The Japanese royal family now joins Instagram, having been silent about it for over 27 years

Tokyo: In an attempt to shed their solitary reputation and connect with younger generations on social media, the Japanese royal family debuted on Instagram on Monday with a flurry of photos. The government organisation in charge of the family’s activities, the Imperial Household Agency, released five films and sixty images showcasing Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s appearances in public during the previous three months.

The agency said that Instagram was selected because of its popularity among young people and that they want the public to have a better knowledge of the family’s official responsibilities. Their verified account, Kunaicho_jp, had garnered over 2,70,000 followers by Monday night.

The royal couple, seated on a couch with their 22-year-old daughter Princess Aiko, seemed happy as they celebrated New Year’s Day in the first picture to be released. The Imperial couple’s contacts with foreign dignitaries, such as his wife, Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, were also documented in other posts.

In less than a day, a video of Naruhito speaking to well-wishers at his birthday party on February 23 received over 21,000 views. Thus, the pictures only depict the family’s formal responsibilities; they don’t show any intimate or unguarded moments. According to the agency, more royal members’ actions are being considered. Student Koki Yoneura, 21, said, “It’s nice we get to see a bit of their activities because we hardly know what they are doing.” “The fact that they appear to be a little closer to us is good.”

Another student, Yukino Yoshiura, expressed her excitement at seeing more postings on Princess Aiko. She addressed the princess with a polite salutation, saying, “Aiko-sama is close to our age and just graduated from university, so I’m very happy to be able to see her images.” Both kids, nevertheless, declared that they had no intention of following the royal family’s Instagram account.

The Royal Family of Britain joined social media around fifteen years ago.
Fifteen years after the British royal family joined X (previously Twitter) in 2009, the Japanese imperial family is making its social media debut. “To be honest, I thought they already had one. Thus, I find it surprising that they are just now creating one,” American student Daniela Kuthy said. Although the material was “very PR-clean,” according to her, that wasn’t always a bad thing.

During their reign, Naruhito’s father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, and his spouse had widespread popularity. However, he abdicated the throne in 2019. However, the majority of the royal family’s supporters are older. Social media was something palace officials were thinking about using to spark interest in the family and their activities. An expert team was assembled by the agency last year to investigate the impact of social media use on the royal family.

The agency had become wary when Mako Komuro, the niece of the Emperor, and her commoner husband encountered negative publicity on social media and in tabloids due to worries over her mother-in-law’s financial circumstances, which resulted in a postponement of their marriage. Additionally, since the people did not fully celebrate her nuptials, she refused to accept a dowry. The former princess said that she experienced psychological anguish at the time as a result of the internet and media criticism.

Social media, according to experts, might help the royal family become more accessible to the public, give them more control over the narrative, and let them react to misinformation. However, questions about how the longest monarchy in history can maintain its benevolence while avoiding scandals and losing its dignity still linger. The account doesn’t communicate with the public or follow anyone. Users are limited to using the “like” button on postings and are unable to comment. The official website is the only way for people to communicate with the royal family.

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