The posting of Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Message on YouTube last year made news around the world. Less well known is the fact that Japan's Imperial family has been offering videos among other entertaining content on their Web site for the last five years. Admittedly, RealVideo, Quicktime and Windows Media are not as up-to-the-minute as YouTube, but, for an institution that is said to have continued since 660 B.C., the clips represent a pretty swift adaptation to new technology.

Videos are uploaded to the the Imperial Household Agency's site ( ) each New Year's Day and on the birthdays of the Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince and Crown Princess. As both the Emperor and Crown Princess were born in December, early January is a veritable film festival for Imperial watchers.

In the most recent New Year's video, the extended Imperial family is seen watching its two most recent arrivals, Princess Aiko (Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako's daughter) and Prince Hisahito (Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko's son), as they play with a wooden toy.