Japanese pundits have called on the Imperial Household to use social media, like their European and Middle Eastern counterparts, to promote their activities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have struggled with their roles this year as many events and trips were forced to be cancelled or postponed – including a state visit to the United Kingdom.
The events they do undertake are mostly within the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, and the Imperial Household releases images and their remarks on the monarchy’s website after the fact.
Pundits are also calling on the couple to address the pandemic more directly like monarchs in Europe have done. The Emperor has not delivered any speeches directly to the Japanese people like Queen Elizabeth II, King Philippe and others.
Royal family expert, Naotaka Kimizuka of Kanto Gakuin University, told the Japan Times: “Governments anywhere may put their own countries first, but royal families can deal with world-scale problems, including the global environment.
“Pictures and videos are uploaded on social media almost every day by public relations officials of royal families abroad, and they are well-received.”
He also stressed that “just uploading messages on the Imperial Household Agency’s website isn’t enough.” He emphasised that social media would allow the Emperor to reach out to his people without meeting people, which is obviously difficult in the current health epidemic.