Japan's Imperial Family Debuts on Instagram

Japan's imperial family is now on Instagram, but don't expect candid selfies from their official account, which launched today in a cautious social media debut for the ancient monarchy.
The first 19 posts are officially prepared photos and videos of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako performing their duties in recent public appearances.
However, more than 170,000 users have followed the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) account, which was announced a week ago but was "private" until today.
The Japanese monarchy has mythological roots dating back more than two millennia, and any public criticism of the emperor remains taboo in the country.
By joining social networks, the institution hopes to spark interest among younger generations in what the imperial family does, an IHA spokesman confirmed to AFP.
But, perhaps predictably, the kunaicho_jp Instagram posts don't provide any behind-the-scenes information.
Strictly factual captions explain what the emperor was doing on which day, from meetings with foreign dignitaries to his admiration of bonsai trees, with comments moderated.
The account does not follow other users and has not published any stories so far.
"IHA is on Instagram! I thought it was an April Fool's joke!" wrote one X user in response to the announcement.
"When I heard IHA had set up an Instagram account, I quickly checked it out. But of course the Emperor won't be posting 'his lunch today with a heart emoticon or something,'" wrote another.
Some users joked that it was a good thing the Imperials chose the more "civilized" Instagram over X, the former Twitter.
Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019 in a ceremony steeped in tradition after his hugely popular father became the first emperor to abdicate in more than two centuries.
Other monarchies have also created social media accounts, including the British royals, who have recently been at the center of a firestorm of rumors and conspiracy theories.
The manipulation of a family photo the palace released to the media fueled online speculation about the whereabouts of Catherine, Princess of Wales, who later revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer. /BGNES