‘The Crown’ and ‘Diana Fever’ in Japan


‘The Crown’ and ‘Diana Fever’ in Japan

Unlike Japan’s cloistered and private imperial household, the lives of the British royal family have long been exposed to the public eye, and thus been the subject of a great deal more public scrutiny. One of the most contentious subjects the current British royal family has faced is their treatment of Princess Diana. Nicknamed ‘the People’s Princess’, Princess Diana was one of the most loved figures in British history, which was due in no small part to her extensive international charity work (for example, her advocacy of AIDS, leprosy, homelessness, and animal rights organisations) that reached far beyond the traditional roles of British royals. In a manner unprecedentedly candid for royals at the time, Diana also publicly discussed her mental health and marital issues in television interviews. However, her unorthodox approach to official duties meant she frequently found herself at loggerheads with her royal relatives-in-law. Her marriage to Prince Charles ended in divorce after he had an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom he later married. The princess was killed in a car crash in Paris 1997; thousands of mourning Brits turned out to watch her funeral procession in London, with 32.1 million viewing the live television broadcast from home.

The early stages of Diana’s marriage to Charles are depicted in the fourth season of The Crown, a Netflix drama telling the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The season spans from 1977 to 1990, and as well as conservative Margaret Thatcher’s term as Prime Minister, it also deals with the late princess’ conflicts with her royal relatives-in-law, her husband’s affair, and her battles with bulimia. The Crown’s creators have stressed its status as a historical drama rather than a documentary, but the show is audacious in its portrayal of what took place behind closed palace doors. Though the 2020 series received a stonking 97% from film review website Rotten Tomatoes, it has also received criticism for historical inaccuracies and negative portrayals of members of the royal family, who are mostly depicted as ruthless and unfeeling towards Diana’s plight. 

The Crown is no doubt proving to be one of the most talked-about TV series of 2020, and it is possible that producers in other countries are tempted to follow suit by creating similar dramatisations about their own heads-of-state. However, whilst historical dramas are popular in Japan, to depict the private lives of current monarchs in this way would be unthinkable. Aside from such an idea being too confrontational and thus culturally frowned-upon, much less is known about the Japanese royal family, and so the scope for inflammatory inaccuracies is even greater. But it does make one wonder what a dramatic on-screen depiction of the goings-on of the Japanese imperial household would look like, if it were possible. 

The pressure to conform to the British royal family’s way of life has had unquestionably dire consequences for several of its members: mental illness, addiction, betrayal, and heartbreak are but some of the issues that have resulted partly from the severe limitations and expectations of royal life. One can certainly identify clear parallels with Princess Diana’s struggles and those of Empress Masako, the existence of whose emotional troubles and ‘adjustment disorder’ are well-established, yet few details are known. The Japanese public opinion of their royal family is overall more sympathetic than the Brits, and so such a probing inquiry into their private struggles may not go down quite as well as The Crown has in the UK, but one can only assume the reality of life in the Japanese Imperial Household could provide a great deal of fodder for an equally riveting dramatic adaptation. 

The Royal Visit to Japan, 1986

As part of their royal duties, Prince Charles and Princess Diana took official visits to many countries. One such visit is retold in the sixth episode of The Crown Season 4, in which they travel to Australia and New Zealand, where their marriage shows an increasing amount of cracks as Prince Charles feels overshadowed by Diana’s overwhelmingly positive public reception. Three years later, in 1986, the royal couple went on a six-day tour of Japan. They visited Kyoto and Tokyo, where they met Emperor Hirohito and visited a home for disabled children. They also watched a kabuki play, a sumo match, an ikebana demonstration, and visited several palaces and Buddhist temples. On one temple visit, Diana wore a coral pink kimono, to the delight of the Japanese public.  

The royal couple was received with much excitement by the Japanese. In preparation for the tour, Japanese TV companies broadcast documentaries about the royals, commemorative memorabilia was sold, and a Japanese telephone company even set up a special phone number that people could call to get information about the British royal family.

Like the Australia/New Zealand tour before it, Japanese public enthusiasm about the visit was quite Diana-centric. Eleven magazines devoted to the British princess appeared (including articles on how to dress like Diana), a Tokyo design house published a line of ‘Diana fashions’, and even a dish was created called ‘Diana-don’. This frenzied anticipation of and commercialization of the princess’ visit became known as ‘Diana-fever’.


・be exposed to~・・~にさらされてきた
・ public eye・・世間の目
・public scrutiny・・国民による監視
・contentious subjects・・論争のテーマ
・treatment of Princess Diana・・ダイアナ妃の扱い
・ the most loved figures in British history・・最も愛された一人
・in no small part・・少なからず
・extensive international charity work・・国際的な慈善活動
・animal rights organisations・・動物愛護団体の擁護
・reached far beyond the traditional roles of British royals・・英国王室の伝統的な役割をはるかに超える

・official duties・・公務
・at loggerheads with・・対立する
・ relatives-in-law・・婚姻による親族
・have an affair with~・・~と浮気する
・funeral procession・・葬列

・deal with・・扱う
・historical inaccuracies・・歴史的に不正確なこと

・no doubt・・疑うことなく
・talked-about TV series・・話題になったTVシリーズ
・follow suit・・先例に従う
・aside from・・~は別にして
・inflammatory ・・煽動的な

・conform to・・従う

・disabled children・・ハンディーキャップがある子どもたち
・public enthusiasm・・国民的な熱狂



ダイアナ妃とチャールズの結婚の初期段階は、エリザベス2世の治世を描いたNetflixのドラマ「The Crown」の第4シーズンで描かれている。1977年から1990年までのシーズンで、保守的なマーガレット・サッチャーの首相時代だけでなく、故ダイアナ妃の義理の親族との確執、夫の浮気、過食症との闘いなども描かれています。クラウン」の制作者は、ドキュメンタリーというよりは歴史ドラマとしての位置づけを強調しているが、この番組は、閉ざされた宮殿の扉の向こう側で起こったことを大胆に描いている。映画批評サイト「Rotten Tomatoes」では、2020年のシリーズは97%という高評価を得ているが、歴史的に不正確な点や、ダイアナ妃の窮地を冷酷に、無感情に描いた王室のメンバーのネガティブな描写にも批判の声が上がっている。

『The Crown』は、2020年のテレビシリーズの中で最も話題になる作品の一つであることは間違いなく、他の国のプロデューサーたちも、自国の国家元首を題材にした同様のドラマを制作することで、それに追随したくなる可能性がある。しかし、日本では時代劇が人気だが、現役の君主の私生活をこのように描くことは考えられない。日本の王室について知られていないことが多いため、不正確な情報を流すことになりかねないからだ。しかし、もしそれが可能だとしたら、日本の皇室の出来事を劇的にスクリーン上で描くことはどのようなものになるのだろうかと考えさせられる。







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