Data used for "The Personal Became Political."

Published: 7 August 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/k5w973bbxg.1
Masako Okura


***[All data are in the Japanese language; partially translated into English] Original tweets will not be made available in this depository to comply with Twitter's copyright policy, which prohibits reproduction without the authors' consent. This is a netnographical study of tweets about Princess Mako of Japan, who married in 2021. It aims to decode covert messages embedded in the negative tweets directed at her to uncover the sentiments Twitter users knowingly or unknowingly propagated. Princess Mako of Akishino, a niece of the reigning Japanese Emperor Naruhito, encountered substantial adversity when her intention to marry Kei Komuro, her long-time boyfriend, shook the trust between the imperial family and the public. What started as a story of her personal milestone slowly evolved into a political crisis, questioning the raison d'être of the imperial family and becoming a bizarre, twisted dark comedy that nobody expected. In conjunction with national media outlets, social media platforms constructed an image of her “unofficial fiancé” as the quintessential villain and characterized him as a “tax thief,” undeserving of the princess. On October 26, 2021, the day Princess Mako and Kei Komuro announced their marriage, 5,852 tweets with hashtags in five different categories appeared on Twitter. These hashtags can be classified into two main categories, all of which refer to Princess Mako. Two hashtags include honorifics— “sama”—which are used to show respect to people of higher standing, and they can be further divided into two subcategories with “sama” (様) being more formal than “sama” (さま). The other three hashtags are names without honorifics, including the following variations: Mako, Mako of Akishino, or her new married name, Mako Komuro. Among the 5852 tweets posted on the day of their marriage, 1,965 tweets were used for this research.



Columbus State University


Communication, Social Media, Women's Studies, Gender