Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2015

On January 14, members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years Poetry reading held at the Imperial Palace. You can read English translations of some of the poetry at the Imperial Household Agency website.

The Imperial Princesses all attended this event in traditional court dress. Princess Kiko led in a bumper hat made of the same pale blue silk as her gown. Worn back on her head, almost like a calot, her hat was trimmed in a bow at the back. I’m afraid the effect, combined with her 1980s style of gown, was rather twee.

Princess Kiko, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats Princess Kiko, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Kako topped her buttercup yellow jacquard gown with a coordinating headpiece. The puffed Alice band, trimmed with silk blooms behind her ears, worked well on the young princess and contrasted nicely with her dark hair. Having just come out into her royal life, Princess Kako is new to the world of royal millinery and this embellished headband made for a good “starter piece”.

Princess Kako, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats Princess Kako, January 14, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Hanako of Hitachi repeated her dark green velvet hat with clamshell-shaped bumper brim and ostrich feather trim. I adore this theatrical hat because it stands out amid the rather sedate millinery choices we usually see on Imperial royal heads. It is also a beautiful compliment to Hanako’s forest green velvet gown.


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: January 10, 2014Jan 4, 2011

Princess Nobuko looked elegant in a pale grey structured gown topped with a coordinating pillbox hat. The pleated sides of the pillbox provided great contrast to the sleek lines of her gown (a phrase I never thought I would write about a member of the Imperial family!). Her daughter, Princess Akiko, repeated her lime green rounded pillbox hat.

Princess Nobuko: Designer unknown. I believe this hat is new
Princess Akiko: Designer unknown. Previously Worn January 10, 2014

Princess Hisako of Takamado repeated her deep purple bumper hat with feather trim at the back while her daughter, Princess Tsuguko, looked to be wearing a stunning headpiece of overlapping leaves in various shades of purple, trimmed in gold.

Princess Hisako: Designer unknown.  
Princess Tsuguko: Designer unknown.

Did any of these Imperial royal hats stand out to you?

Photos from Asahi and Sankei

10 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2015

  1. I like all these hats and their coordinating or matching court dresses. They all look dignified and elegant. I have to agree with what efrompdx says: January 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm, it’s Princess Hanako for the win!

  2. Princess Hanako certainly is the most avant-garde of the Japanese princesses. Hers (and the Empress’s saucers) always stand out from the others’ hats.

  3. At last–a little change from their normally, shall we say, boring hats. I love Princess Hanako’s hat because it looks so well with her velvet gown, but mostly because it is a beautiful departure from the usual Imperial Family’s small saucer hats of the Empress or the pillboxes worn by the rest of the women! Wouldn’t it be lovely to see more variety from these dignified ladies?

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