As the softly spoken "People's Emperor" the title of his Naruhito, Son of the Year, will be remembered by the end of this month as a man ready to break with traditions.
But Japan's leader is not alone in his desire to modernize the monarchy.
There are around 43 countries in the world with ruling monarchs. Some are working to update their image to gain ̵
For kings, it could be crucial that they figure out how to stay relevant.
While royals with absolute power do not have to face their public, members of a constitutional monarchy – as in Japan or the United Kingdom – could be overruled if the tide turns against them. Although it would be a tedious and lengthy process, for example, to remove the British royal family, it would be less difficult for commonwealth countries to become republics.
It's something that at least one country is talking about.  In Australia, opposition leader Bill Shorten has declared that if his party wins the upcoming elections, it will hold a referendum on whether the country should become a republic. If they had decided to become a republic, this would be the first step in a process to depose the queen as head of state.
"Royal families all over the world have to create a very sensitive balancing act between tradition and modernity". said Professor Arianne Chernock of Boston University researching European monarchies. "If they go too far in one direction or the other, they are at risk."
The Royals have taken the balancing act of trying to remain relevant while retaining what has made them special for centuries Chernock The English Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837 to 1901, initially feared that photographs could also make her accessible before she realized that she could also help her connect with her subjects.
Today is the 34-year-old Prince of the United Kingdom Harry, who urges the British monarchy to move with time – although he too has tried to find his balance.
But he is mature and takes on his role as ambassador to the British royal family.
Last year, Harry broke tradition again by marrying Meghan Markle, a divorced, biracial American actress. At his wedding in the high-arched St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the head of the American Episcopalian Church, Michael Curry, delivered a passionate sermon and a gospel choir that broke with tradition again.
Chernock said that if royals become too accessible, this can cause problems. "Where is mysticism then, where is the fascination and why do taxpayers support this institution?"
The young British kings seem to have this balance.
Turning the Path
In Spain, the royal family does not fail to adapt its image to the modern public mood. No less bad press has emerged.
In 2012, the then Spanish King Juan Carlos came under fire after pictures of him had been circulated in front of a dead elephant.
He had just been flown home for medical treatment after he had fallen during a hunting trip in Botswana, subsidized by a Syrian-born Saudi businessman. The Spanish public was not only angry at its obvious hunting trophies, but also at the expense of traveling during an economic crisis.
There followed a series of other hunting scandals, including the allegation that he had shot a drunken Russian bear honey and vodka.
After the controversial trip to Botswana, the polls fell to an all-time low and 62% of Spaniards demanded the abdication of the king, who had previously been very popular.
Carlos was abdicated in 2014, but the Spanish Royal Family did not succeed: In June of last year, King Felipe's brother-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, was charged with fraud and tax evasion imprisoned.
In December 2018, in an informal referendum in the Madrid region, the government of Spain said that 93% of respondents said they preferred a president rather than a head of state.
The Value of Royals
Keeping a royal family is expensive, so monarchs must show their worth.
"The challenge for royals like the Windsors (current royal family) is to convince the public that they are worth the money to preserve and sustain them," Flinders Bastin told the university.
Royals can also promote patriotism without engaging in the dirty work of the US, Chernock said. Having a monarchy can be good for national identity, a positive point for the United Kingdom when it comes to the split and protracted Brexit negotiations, she added.
But he has shown no signs of returning to the demigod era and any signs of interest in following in his father's footsteps as he steps onto the Japanese throne on May 1 -royal, Masako Owado , 1993.