Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2016

Members of Imperial Family joined the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday for the Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime, the annual New Year’s Poetry Reading.

Imperial Royal Family, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

As she hosted the event in her home, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat. Princess Kiko repeated a cream silk covered bumper hat that looks to be trimmed in the same braided detail adorning the bodice seams of her gown. While impeccable, the demure ensemble is a little boring. Princess Mako was slightly more adventurous in a new pale blue calot hat with curved brim that rolled back closely around the hat’s crown. The hat is covered in the same silk as her floral gown and trimmed with two silk blooms at the side. It’s not an exciting hat but the shape looks great on Mako and works particularly well with her fringe.

Princess Kiko, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Mako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko, Princess Mako and Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: December 23, 2011

Princess Hanako of Hitachi stood out in a new vibrant blue gown in a coordinating hat. The hat’s domed crown was covered in plain silk while its small brim was wrapped in the same leopard printed blue silk as Hanako’s gown. It looks like the hat was completed with feather trim at the back. While the ensemble has a slight 1980s air about it, the bold colour and slightly racy pattern is such a departure from most things we see on the Imperial royals that I’m inclined to love it anyway.

Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko topped her pale grey gown with a calot hat trimmed in a huge blossom on the side while her daughter, Princess Akiko, chose a simple calot in the same bubblegum pink as her silk gown. Princess Hisako of Hitachi wowed in a teal suit with lavishly embroidered sleeves and skirt. Her new pillbox hat looked to contain similar embroidery around the perimeter, making for a rather spectacular ensemble. Her daughter, Princess Ayako, topped her pale yellow silk jacquard suit with a matching new calot hat. While I’m all for a calot, the bows on either side of this piece lend a Princess Leia vibe (a vibe that is particularly ironic for a hat worn by a young Imperial princess!)

Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko, Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: August 5, 2015
Previous wearings of Princess Akiko’s hat: January 9, 2015

I always enjoy seeing court dress and thought Princess Hanako and Princess Hisako knocked it out of the park at this event. What did you think of the Japanese royal hats at this poetry reading?

Photos from Asahi, ANN News and NHK

5 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2016

  1. I enjoyed seeing the Imperials in their court dress again, but I would have liked them to be more adventurous in their hat choices. I vote for Princess Hisako for the win! The teal colour looked great on her and I loved the angle of the hat. The next best is Princess Hanako of Hitachi, whose suit and hat is a great shade of blue, and I like the angle the hat is perched on. The next best is Princess Mako, wearing a flattering pale blue, and I liked the placement of her matching calot hat with its unusual curved brim and I agree with HatQueen that it works particularly well with her fringe. The next best is Princess Nobuko, but I don’t think the pale grey colour of her hat and gown is terribly flattering to her, but I do think the calot hat type suits her, and the trim of a huge blossom on the side added a little something to elevate it from being just another simple calot. The next best is Princess Kiko’s pale yellow silk covered bumper hat that matches her gown, but it’s boring and we have seen it before. The colour suits her well. The next best is Princess Akiko, but her simple calot in rather boring, though the bubblegum pink colour of the hat and gown is bright and suits her well. The next best, which is the hat I liked least, was Princess Ayako’s which looked like ear muffs!

  2. I like Princess Hisako’s teal pillbox best, and love how she’s angled it. I’d like a better picture to see the trim or embroidery better. There are some predictable hats and some, ahem, unfortunate hats in this line up.

  3. They all look like statues – so prim and proper. Empress Michiko and Princess Kiko are wearing almost the identical dress style.
    While I’m not fond of the dress, Princess Hitachi is the only one who showed any individuality, but she normally does. I’m sorry if I have commented on what the royal family wore instead of their hats, but this has been bothering me ever since I started following Royal Hats.

  4. I am in stunned silence as a result of Princess Hisako’s ensemble. I think it is the sleeves that make it look like a costume, but the hat has a strange vibe too. Her daughter looks like she is wearing earmuffs. It seems like there is a slight shift in the paradigm and some of the Princesses as beginning to break out of the traditional demure matched set look. There may well be some more unusual outifts before they find their respective strides. Meanwhile it is fun to watch.

  5. Those poor girls have been upholstered, not dressed, although the colours are very pretty. Princesses Hanako and Hisako know how to do it right though, those hats and court dresses are unexpectedly fabulous.

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