Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s Birthday

Members of the Imperial royal family celebrated the Emperor’s 84th birthday on Saturday with an annual balcony appearance at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo where they greeted thousands of well wishers.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako wore a new bumper hat in deep maroon velvet scattered with tiny beads over the crown. The beads, which are repeated on the smocked Elizabethan style ruff collar on Masako’s dress, are not something we see on hat crowns – their use as trim here offers subtle textural contrast to the all velvet ensemble. The hat shape on its own isn’t terribly exciting but it balances well with a high collar and the colour… OH THE COLOUR. It’s not only perfect for this time of year and a fantastic backdrop for showing off jewels but just stunning Masako.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
Princess Kiko repeated the pale slate blue silk covered pillbox she first wore for the 2015 Imperial New Years lectures. The hat is trimmed with a back bow (visible here at its first outing) which makes it a little too twee for my liking, although the subtle placement of it on the diagonal to mix up the pattern between the dress and the hat is a nice touch. It’s classic Kiko- simple, pale and demure.

Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 9, 2015; Dec 23, 2009
Princess Mako chose an ensemble in a more saturated shade of blue. Her coordinating hat repeated the silk and diamond beaded applique motif on the belt of her dress, giving some graphic punch to the monochrome ensemble. It looks like the hat was further finished with a twisted ruffle in the same silk and velvet on the side. We’ve not seen Mako in a calot shape and it works well with her sideswept hairstyle; the colour is also one she wears particularly well.  
Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats Dec 23, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
There are a handful of events each year that retain traditional court dress and it’s always fun to see royal women in the hats and gowns required by this dress code. Thoughts on the new hats we saw at this event?
Photos from Asahi Shimbun,Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

8 thoughts on “Imperial Royals Celebrate Emperor’s Birthday

  1. Happy belated birthday to the Emperor, Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia! (Can I consider myself royal too with all those people sharing the same birthday as me? haha)

    Masako always shines in these burgundy/maroon/wine shades, and this was no exception; while the overall look is nothing new, it’s the details that make this great. The beading on the hat, the ruffled collar, and the jewels are wonderful!

    It was nice to see Kiko try a new hairstyle, but I don’t think it works so well with the pillbox/bumper shape unfortunately; a brimmed hat would be better in my opinion. The detailing on the dress is a good choice though!

    Mako’s use of the diamond motif in her outfit is very coordinated, but not over-the-top that it’s too matchy for me. I’m not a huge fan of calots, but this one is great with the ruffled bow and the diamond detail. The turquoise/teal color scheme is perfect for Mako, and that brooch is a great addition.

  2. My favorites are CP Masako and Princess Mako. Excellent colors. The birthday balcony will be sparse when CP Naruhito becomes emperor unless he includes his brother’s family. Looking through Emperor Akihito’s birthday balcony photos, it’s only the Emperor, Empress, and their children and spouses. Not even the Hitachi couple appear on the balcony for birthdays. It’ll just be Naruhito and Masako after 2019 until Aiko comes of age.

    Siblings/in-laws and relatives only attend the birthday receptions and lunch banquet, see

  3. I love the deep, rich color of Crown Princess Masako’s hat and the beads are a nice touch. Her jewelry was wonderful, too making for an outstanding overall look. She is definitely transitioning into her Empress role! I hope we see more variety in shape in the future!

  4. Very pretty! The Japanese ladies let us appreciate the subtle variations and details. The materials and colors are splendid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s