Japan's imperial family is now also represented on Instagram. On Monday, the first 19 posts were published on the newly created account, all official photos and videos showing Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako carrying out their official duties. However, users searched in vain for private selfies on the imperial Instagram account, which had already been announced last week. As of Monday afternoon, the account already had 291,000 followers.

The Japanese Empire has its origins in a mythology that goes back more than 2,000 years, and any public criticism of its representatives is prohibited. Through the website, the imperial family hopes to arouse younger people's interest in their work, as a spokesman for the imperial agency IHA explained to the AFP news agency.

No look behind the scenes

However, the performance does not provide a look behind the scenes. The emperor is shown meeting foreign dignitaries or admiring bonsai trees; the captions are kept strictly factual. The Japanese Imperial Family's account does not yet follow any other users and does not yet contain any Instagram stories.

The activation of the imperial account was actively discussed on the Internet: “The IHA is on Instagram! I thought it was an April Fool's joke," wrote one user on the online service X. Another comment read: "When I heard that the IHA had set up an Instagram account, I quickly looked at it. But of course the emperor wouldn't post (...) lunch or anything like that." Some users said it was a good thing that the imperial family chose the more “civilized” Instagram over the online service X.

Naruhito assumed the throne in 2019 in a traditional ceremony after his popular father Akihito abdicated. It was the first time in more than 200 years that an emperor in Japan abdicated.

Princess Aiko takes her place

On the same day, 22-year-old Princess Aiko took up a position with the Red Cross Society in the capital Tokyo. The emperor's daughter was one of eight new employees who started work at the association's headquarters on Monday, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported. She will be assigned to the volunteer training department.

Aiko was quoted as saying that she was pleased, but was also modestly taking a “first step as a working member of society.” Her parents wished her good luck. Aiko graduated from Gakushuin University in Tokyo with a degree in Japanese language and literature in March.

According to the current household law, women are not allowed to ascend the throne, only men of the male imperial line. However, the question of whether court law should be changed to secure the future of the monarchy has been discussed since Aiko's birth. In surveys, more than 80 percent of citizens surveyed supported a woman on the throne.