Japan’s royal family makes Instagram debut

Japan’s imperial family marked its Instagram debut on Monday with a flurry of posts aimed at shedding their reclusive image and connecting with younger audiences on social media. The Imperial Household Agency, responsible for the family’s affairs, shared 60 photos and five videos showcasing Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s public engagements over the past three months. They aimed to provide insight into the family’s official duties, opting for Instagram due to its popularity among youth.

Within hours, their verified account, Kunaicho_jp, amassed over 270,000 followers. Posts included the imperial couple’s interactions with foreign dignitaries and family moments, like celebrating New Year’s Day with their daughter Princess Aiko.

Despite the positive reception, some, like students Koki Yoneura and Yukino Yoshiura, appreciated the glimpse into royal life but didn’t intend to follow the account. Nevertheless, the move signals a shift towards modernization within Japan’s monarchy, following Britain’s royal family’s social media presence.

The decision to venture into social media was made cautiously, considering past controversies, such as Emperor Naruhito’s niece, Mako Komuro, facing backlash on social platforms. Despite potential benefits in engaging with the public and combating disinformation, concerns remain about maintaining the monarchy’s dignity and avoiding controversies.

The Instagram account, devoid of interaction, offers limited engagement options, redirecting those wishing to communicate with the family to the official website.