Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
Japan Royal Instagram
The instagram page of Japan's Imperial Household Agency is seen on a mobile phone on Monday. Image: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
national

Japan's imperial family debuts on Instagram

45 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

Japan’s imperial family made an Instagram debut with a barrage of posts on Monday, hoping to shake off their reclusive image and reach out to younger people on social media.

The Imperial Household Agency, a government agency in charge of the family's affairs, posted 60 photos and five videos showing Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako's public appearances over the past three months.

The agency said they wanted the public to have a better understanding of the family's official duties and that Instagram was chosen because of its popularity among youth.

By Monday evening, their verified account Kunaicho_jp had more than 270,000 followers.

The first photo published was of the imperial couple sitting on a sofa with their 22-year-old daughter Princess Aiko, all smiling as they marked New Year’s Day. Other postings also included the Imperial couple’s meetings with foreign dignitaries, including Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah his wife.

A video of Naruhito addressing well-wishers during his Feb 23 birthday celebrations garnered over 21,000 views in less than a day.

So far, the images are limited to the family’s official duties and do not include private or candid moments. The agency said it was considering adding activities of other royal members.

“It's nice we get to see a bit of their activities because we hardly know what they are doing,” said Koki Yoneura, a 21-year-old student. “It's good that they seem to be a bit closer to us.”

Yukino Yoshiura, also a student, said she was excited to see more posts about Princess Aiko. “Aiko-sama is close to our age and just graduated from university, so I’m very happy to be able to see her images," she said while calling the princess with the respectful honorific “sama.”

However, both said they didn't plan on following the royal family's Instagram account.

The Japanese imperial family's social media debut comes 15 years after Britain’s royal family joined X, formerly Twitter, in 2009.

“I actually assumed they already had one. So I am surprised it’s just now that they are making one," said Daniela Kuthy, an American student. She said the content seemed “very PR-clean,” but that wasn't necessarily a negative thing.

Naruhito’s father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito — who abdicated the throne in 2019 — and his wife were popular during their time. But currently, the royal family's fans largely belong to older generations.

Palace officials had been considering using social media to get more people interested in the family and their activities. Last year, the agency set up a team of experts to study the effects of using social media on the imperial family.

The agency had become cautious after the Emperor’s niece Mako Komuro and her commoner husband faced a severe backlash on social media and in tabloids following concerns over her mother-in-law's financial situation, causing her marriage to be delayed. She also declined to receive a dowry as the public did not fully celebrate her union.

The former princess said, at the time, she suffered psychological trauma because of the media bashing, including those online.

Experts say social media could help bring the royal family closer to the people and give the agency the ability to control the narrative and respond to disinformation, but concerns over how the world’s oldest monarchy can be friendly without losing its nobility or avoid blowups remain.

The account doesn't follow anyone nor interact with the public. Users can't comment on posts and can only press the “like” button.

Those who want to send messages to the imperial family have to use the official website.


Associated Press video journalist Ayaka McGill contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


45 Comments
Login to comment

Living their best life.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

I’d prefer my taxes not spent this way.

-10 ( +16 / -26 )

I’d prefer my taxes not spent this way.

I concur.

-10 ( +15 / -25 )

Just look how long does it takes from social media being invented until that account being created, it just really reflects on Japan society to adopt digital world.

-19 ( +7 / -26 )

lol. _jp. Wouldn’t pay for the instagram account without it? lol following 0. lol. What a waste of taxpayers money.

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

I agree! Just a waste of money.

Some Japanese children are hungry. Instagram doesn’t fill their stomaches.

-15 ( +10 / -25 )

I searched Kunaicho on instagram. They clearly didn’t. lol.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

I’d prefer my taxes not spent this way.

Instagram is free.

18 ( +27 / -9 )

Instagram is free.

But the marketing manpower to craft the narrative isn’t!

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

I’d prefer my taxes not spent this way.

Then you should elect different leaders who will spend your taxes in other ways.

Such is democracy.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Instagram is free.

Make its content is not free, especially when you have dedicated staff to do that. Taking video/photo then edit that.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/08/17/the-real-cost-of-content-it-could-be-greater-than-you-think/

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

TikTok? I would like to see some royals bust some fancy dance moves.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I feel sorry for the young kids growing in that strict life without ever knowing what a real life is.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

I had a dream where the previous Emperor was going past me in a bus {lol}, the bus stopped and we had a conversation about our pet dogs .

Nice dream

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

StrangerlandToday  07:32 am JST

*I’d prefer my taxes not spent this way.*

Then you should elect different leaders who will spend your taxes in other ways.

Such is democracy.

Was there any leader of the opposition that opposed the creation of this instagram account? I have not heard about it .So practically speaking there is no way to oppose the fact that taxes are spent this way.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Was there any leader of the opposition that opposed the creation of this instagram account? I have not heard about it .So practically speaking there is no way to oppose the fact that taxes are spent this way.

Become a politician and push your agenda. If it's popular, others will join you.

Such is democracy.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Yet another reason not to create an Instagram account.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Ooh can hardly contain my excitement.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

A waste of money.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Become a politician and push your agenda. If it's popular, others will join you.

Such is democracy.

Beg to differ sir.

Japan's Imperial family

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Become a politician and push your agenda. If it's popular, others will join you.

Such is democracy.

Beg to differ sir.

Japan's Imperial family

Oh dear, I hope you're not under the impression that the imperial family determine how tax money is spent, and still felt qualified to comment on this issue...

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Instagram is free. How does spending taxes come into it?

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Oh dear, I hope you're not under the impression that the imperial family determine how tax money is spent, and still felt qualified to comment on this issue...

Good luck finding a "democratic" mechanism that could remove the privilege of even a constitutional monarchy. Especially in the case of Japan's "democracy".

Can't even get the LDP out, and they don't have a thousand year lineage.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Good luck finding a "democratic" mechanism that could remove the privilege of even a constitutional monarchy. Especially in the case of Japan's "democracy".

Become a politician and push that agenda.

Such is democracy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Instagram is free, but who set it all up and is running it? Paid individuals of course.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

@wallace

Instagram is free. How does spending taxes come into it?

Question: Who pays for the team of professionals to write and design the imperial family’s Instagram content?

Answer Hint: Rhymes with “sax players”

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Just last night I watched a bangumi showing foreigners from all walks of life coming to Japan to enjoy the beautiful places/cool stuff, from the delicate bonsai to second-hand well maintained excavators. People here are way too anti anything Japanese. Probably writing these comments while waiting at the immigration to happily get the visa renewed. Do yourself a favor and spend some 2 weeks in any other Asian country. After a few days you'll be counting the hours to be back to quiet & clean Japan.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Good for them...

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Question: Who pays for the team of professionals to write and design the imperial family’s Instagram content?

Exactly. They will have at least one social media manager, if not multiple. Then an editor who will clean up the images and crop them to the right dimensions and image quality for Instagram. There will also be people who will determine the types of images to be posted, and evaluate images based on that criteria to determine candidates for posting.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Asiaman7

@wallace

Instagram is free. How does spending taxes come into it?

Question: Who pays for the team of professionals to write and design the imperial family’s Instagram content?

Answer Hint: Rhymes with “sax players”

I think the posts will be made entirely by the IHA at no additional costs. Just extra work for them.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Foreigners without citizenship have no say in how the government spends tax collected. The allowances to the imperial family will not be increased because they now have an Instagram account.

I don't use any of the usual social network sites so I won't be viewing their account.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Instagram is free, but who set it all up and is running it?

Meta, the company that owns it.

Exactly. They will have at least one social media manager, if not multiple. Then an editor who will clean up the images and crop them to the right dimensions and image quality for Instagram. There will also be people who will determine the types of images to be posted, and evaluate images based on that criteria to determine candidates for posting.

You don't know that. Even if that's true, the cost is probably negligible.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I'm sure they are using the regular kunaicho staff for this task. Not exactly a Dentsu project.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The agency said they wanted the public to have a better understanding of the family's official duties

Which duties are they talking about? Those people are useless, they just show up somewhere and make fake smiles. They are just living a golden life with tax payers money. The instagram thing is just grotesque.

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

They are just living a golden life with tax payers money.

Prisoners in their own country where they can't even go to the combini for an ice cream.

Sounds a real dream.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Last year, the agency set up a team of experts

And how much did that cost us?

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

In countries that have control over their own currency, such as Japan, taxpayers don't pay for government expenses. Yes, of course, the resources associated with running an Instagram account could have been allocated elsewhere, but taxpayers wouldn't fund that thing either.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I think the posts will be made entirely by the IHA at no additional costs. Just extra work for them.

The allowances to the imperial family will not be increased because they now have an Instagram account.

The social media budget will most certainly increase! And that comes from our taxes.

Most of this, like the Imperial Household Agency website, is farmed out to other companies. Of course, the Agency discusses and approves everything before it’s posted. But the Agency members themselves are not taking on more work, editing photos, drafting text, etc. like you absurdly suggest.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Nice to see Japan's royal family embracing social media to connect with younger generations!

Looking forward to seeing more candid moments shared on their Instagram

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Had it been the royals themselves who held the camera it might have been interesting, but it will just be the same curated pictures we get elsewhere so I can't quite find the motivation to follow them.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Imperial Family funding is decided by the Diet and fixed for the year.

"These are the day-to-day personal expenses of His Majesty, His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and the inner-court members of the Imperial Family (Naitei-Kozoku). The amount is stipulated by law, and was 324 million yen for FY2024."

https://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-about/seido/seido08.html

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

"The Imperial Household Agency, a government agency in charge of the family's affairs, posted 60 photos and five videos showing Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako's public appearances over the past three months."

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Good for them. I hope it is a success and they can reach young Japanese.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I thought there was a hair on my screen. Was the owner of the phone above so excited by the royal Instagram debut that they dropped their phone?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'd replaced the photo with the cracked screen (or hair, whatever). If you would have ever interacted or been in an event where the Imperial Family was involved you would know how disrespectful using such an image is.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites