Imperial Royals Remember Prince Katsura

This week marked the first anniversary since the passing of Prince Katsura. On Monday, members of the Japanese royal family gathered at the Imperial Cemetary in Tokyo to take part in a memorial service. The Imperial princesses paid respect in mourning dress with veiled black pillbox and bumper hats.

Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, June 8, 2015 | Royal HatsThe late Prince’s parents, Prince Takahito and Princess Yuriko of Mikasa

Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko of Mikasa, June 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko of Mikasa

Princess Tsuguko, June 8, 2015 | Royal Hats   Princess Hisako, June 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Tsuguko with her mother, Princess Hisako of Takamado

Princess Kiko, June 8, 2015 | Royal Hats   Sayako Kurado,  June 8, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko, Prince Fumihito; Sayako Kuroda (previously Princess Sayako)

Crown Princess Masako, June 8, 2015 | Royal HatsCrown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako 

Yesterday, Princess Akiko, who acted as chief mourner at her uncle’s funeral last year, was joined by the Emperor and Empress for a visit to Prince Katsura’s tomb inside the Imperial Cemetery. For this traditional visit, Princess Akiko repeated a black silk pillbox hat with a blusher-length veil.

Princess Akiko, June 9, 2015 | Royal Hats

Photos from Asahi; Jiji; Sankei; and Getty as indicated

9 thoughts on “Imperial Royals Remember Prince Katsura

  1. I’d be interested to know more about the jet jewelry the women are wearing. I recall it being a Victorian Era fashion for mourning but didn’t realize it was still practiced in Japan. Is this common anywhere else?

  2. Sometimes I think the Japanese can be a little too traditional with their dress, but I do like it when it comes to their mourning style. So classic, although it is curious how all the women are wearing the same type of hat (I would like to see a little variation, especially something with a brim). Princess Tsuguko was my personal favorite, and always great to see Masako and Naruhito out. Always glad to see men also out with their hats, even if they aren’t wearing them.

  3. Few comments re this post – I find it quite beautiful that the family gathered to remember their relative, and did so in somber fashion with formal attire. One thing I found interesting in the women’s attire is the jewelry they were all wearing – it looked like black glass. And since we’ve been talking about top hats this week I thought I’d mention the fact that the men all had top hats, and from the photos I’m quite sure they are all silk hats. One note about why you see none of the men wearing their hats – it is a sign of respect in mourning for a man to carry his hat, rather than wear it, hence the male members of the imperial family carrying their hats. If you look at old newsreels of the funeral ceremony for King George V (Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather) you’ll see male members of the royal family carrying their top hats as they walk behind the cortege (there are also male members in military dress).

    • I also suspected the Princes’ hats were silk which means they are also at least 30 years old, correct? Thank you for explaining that carrying them is a sign of respect in a mourning context.

      • Almost all the info I’ve ever read about the silk used for hats (and the destruction of the looms during the family squabble) says that happened in the 1950s, hence no silk hats since then which would make even the newest hat about 60+ years old. But there is lots of mystery around this story for unknown reasons. There was also a rumor of a bolt of the silk fabric that was found in an attic or somewhere so there were stories that some new hats would be made from this silk. I’ve never seen anything confirming either the fabric story is true or that any new hats were made. Supposedly Lock & Co. of London had the silk and was going to make large hats since they are so hard to find (most antique hats are smaller). But I’ve checked the Lock website periodically over the last several years and the only silk hats they show are vintage restored hats. They do have a beautiful example of a new leather storage/carrying case for the low, low price of £1,750! I bought my case for £250.

    • Black mourning jewellery made from jet. Very victorian… and carrying a fan which is rather a Japanese tradition, I’d say… I take a fan for formal family occasion like wedding. I have a dozen of them, for example, cherry blossom pattern for spring, plain white for funeral etc.

    • Chicago Chuck, you make some good points. I feel so sad for the late Prince’s parents, as it is one of the most stressful of life events, to bury your child. RIP Prince Katsura. The family all look very dignified.

      • Sadly, the Prince and Princess of Mikasa have had to bury all three of their sons- Prince Katsura last year, Prince Tomohito (father of Princesses Yoko and Akiko) in 2012, and Prince Norihito (husband of Princess Hisako) in 2002.

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