The Personal Became Political: A Social Media Analysis of Princess Mako of Japan and Her Controversial Engagement

Masako Okura


This is a netnographical study of tweets about Princess Mako of Japan, who married in 2021 without any fanfare—no official engagement, no wedding ceremony, no wedding reception, and no dowry, thus defying convention. Her parents opposed her marriage to a controversial figure, and public opinion was largely against her. Her engagement was meant to mark a personal milestone; yet, it quickly developed into a national political controversy, ultimately questioning the raison d'être of the constitutional monarchy. The personal became political. Traditional media, as well as social media relentlessly criticized her choice, pushing her deep into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This study aims to decode covert messages embedded in the negative tweets directed at her to uncover the sentiments Twitter users knowingly or unknowingly propagated.

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