Imperial New Years Lectures 2018

Yesterday, members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the Ceremony of Kosho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures)  at Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A tradition of royal enlightenment since 1869, these Imperial New Year’s Lectures saw experts in the field of human, social and natural sciences address the royal delegation in their respective fields. When the lectures began 149 years ago, the daytime dress code across royal courts for ladies reflected the prevailing Victorian fashions of the time- long gowns with hats. This event is one of a handful each year that maintains this dress code, giving us the rare opportunity to see hats with full length gowns.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako made her first appearance at this event in 15 years in a repeated Breton hat. Made of the same hint-of-blue silk jacquard as her gown, the hat features a pork pie style crown and characteristic rolled Breton brim.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 9, 2014Dec 23, 2013; Dec 9 2010; Dec 23, 2009; Dec 9, 2006Dec 23, 2005

Princess Kiko topped her celery green gown with a matching capulet style hat that I believe is a new addition to her wardrobe. Following a classic capulet shape (a calot with extended front combined with a bumper brim around the front and sides of the piece), the hat is trimmed with a small back bow and covered in the same lace that adorns the top of Kiko’s gown. Princess Mako made her last appearance at this event in a repeated navy velvet, rounded edge pillbox hat trimmed with a bow on the side in the same blue silk as her gown.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Previously Worn: I believe Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako wore this to this same event in 2016  

The Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended this event. Princess Nobuko wore a wonderful pale green pillbox trimmed with a giant ivory silk flower that I believe is new. Princess Akiko repeated a pale pink silk calot trimmed with lattice woven ribbon and pearls. Princess Yoko wore a majenta textured pillbox. Princess Hisako topped her elegant dove grey gown with a matching bumper hat with side feather trim that I believe is new. Pricess Tsuguko also went with a new design that looks to be a burgundy silk tam variation trimmed with flowers on the side. Princess Ayoko repeated her pale yellow silk jacquard gown and matching calot bandeau trimmed with silk flowers and leaves on each side.

Jan 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

These lectures always brings some millinery surprises and such is the case this year, even with a few repeated pieces. I missed seeing Princess Hanako, who always stands out at this event. What hats stand out to you here this year?

15 thoughts on “Imperial New Years Lectures 2018

  1. Masako wears this well, but I always think she looks better in more saturated colors; nevertheless, it’s great to see her return to this event.

    Kiko looks lovely in this shade of green. The hat shape is new for her (which I like), but not certain it’s the best shape for her in general; at any rate, still two thumbs up from me. Standard look for Mako.

    Nobuko looks quite nice in her hat and outfit, but I wish the color was more saturated. Nothing outstanding for Akiko and Yoko, although Yoko shines in this bright magenta. Hisako overall look is a bit underwhelming for her, but I suspect the details (which we can’t really see) help elevate this whole look (like the collar of her dress and the trim on her hat). Tsuguko was definitely my favorite, as she often is; her height allows her to shine in these longer gowns, and the color is most excellent, but again, sad we can’t see more details. Never been a fan of this hat for Ayoko because I find the floral trim on each side too look odd when framing her face (actually, probably most people’s faces).

  2. I like Princesses Tsuguko, Yoko, and Kiko’s hats the best. CP Masako wore the same outfit and hat at her last New Year’s Lecture appearance in 2003 so I believe this was a symbolic choice.

  3. Ii hate to say it, but I just don’t care for that hat on Masako. It’s so nice to see her here. I suppose she’s girding her loins for the big change next year when she will be present at many more events.

  4. How time flies. It seems only yesterday that it was the Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2017. The ladies all look lovely and it is especially good to see the Crown Princess in attendance.

  5. I love the color on display here, makes a nice change from the all white/pastel we see at the Japanese New Year Courts. My favorites from this group are Princesses Nobuko and Yoko, I really love that bright magenta coat and hat.

  6. I’d never thought of it before, but you’re right – we don’t often see long gowns and hats together, which is a pity. I’ve heard Sarah Bernhardt blamed for the decline of evening hats: at a time when large hats were the rage, she banned ladies wearing hats in the theatre as she wanted the audience to be able to see her performance, and not merely the hat of the lady in front. Of course, that could be an urban legend!
    It’s a lovely look, anyhow. I think Princess Tsuguko looks particularly elegant in an Edwardian sort of way. Is it just me, or are most of the royal ladies accessorizing with short pearl necklaces and tasselled ivory fans?

    • I think because since she is getting married, she will no longer be officially part of the imperial family anymore. There’s been a bunch of discussion about this over at the Order of Splendor, it seems a strange rule to me, but is apparently of quite long-standing.

      • Thanks, Shannon! I did know about married princesses having to leave the Imperial family, but did not realize that Mako was getting married. Good reason for her to wear a repeated ensemble, since she won’t be needing it again in the future, but think of all the expert knowledge she will be missing out on!

  7. I mean no disrespect here, but I have always wondered why the Empress doesn’t wear a hat to these events. I know she has neck problems and so doesn’t wear a tiara. But she wears hats frequently at other events, so this cannot be the reason she doesn’t wear one to the New Year Lectures. Can anyone enlighten me? On another topic, I am delighted to see the Crown Princess here. I find the hats and long gowns quite charming.

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