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Japan’s New Royal Instagram Page Forgoes Flash for Formality

Anyone expecting the Japanese royal family’s new Instagram account to generate memes or showcase a new side of the world’s oldest continuous monarchy should lower their expectations.

There is nothing flashy to see here, people. No behind-the-scenes levity or spontaneity. Just some royals politely posing for pictures in their usual, formal way.

The new Instagram page for Japan’s Imperial Household Agency — its first on any social media platform — posted its first image early Monday morning. By Tuesday evening, it had uploaded 19 more and collected nearly half a million followers.

The page mostly shows Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako and sometimes their daughter, Princess Aiko, standing up, sitting down or bowing at formal events over the past three months. There they are at an exhibition of bonsai plants at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, or posing with visiting dignitaries from Kenya and Brunei, or presiding over the awarding of awards.

The Japanese public hardly figures into the page, except in a brief video of a flag-waving crowd at a 64th birthday celebration for Emperor Naruhito, the 126th person to hold that title in a hereditary line that stretches back more than 15 centuries.

In that sense, the page’s content isn’t much different from that of the imperial household’s website.