Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2018

Last Friday, the Emperor and Empress hosted Utakai Hajime, which translates as ‘First Poetry Reading’, a gathering at the Imperial Royal Palace at the beginning of each new year where participants read traditional Japanese poetry on a common theme before a wider audience. Like the New Years Lectures, the dress code for this event is Court Dress, giving us another opportunity to see the Imperial royal ladies (except the hostess, Empress Michiko) in gowns with hats.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko repeated a pale yellow hat with double bumper brim in the same pale yellow silk as her gown. Princess Mako topped her turquoise gown with a matching bumper hat trimmed with a bow at the back.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn:Dec 23, 2012
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 11, 2017 and Dec 23, 2013

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore the most interesting design of the event, a open crowned headpiece of dusty pink tulle wrapped around a wide rim. Her daughter, Princess Akiko, wore a cream hat with pleated crown and short brim covered in the same silk jacquard as her gown. I believe both of these hats are new additions.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her high necked bright blue skirt and jacket with a matching hat with white brim, trimmed with a spray of blue and white flowers on the side. Princess Tsuguko wore a peach bumper hat trimmed with large abstract leaves in the same hue while Princess Ayako wore a brimless design in pale seafoam green silk to match her  gown. I believe these three hats are new as well.

Jan 12, 2018 | Royal Hats

Photos of this event are scarce which is such a pity as there are numerous hats that would greatly benefit with closer views. Princess Hanako, who usually brings the most daring millinery designs to these New Years events, did not attend and was certainly missed. From what we can see here, what hats stand out to you most?
Photos from ntv.co.jp; The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty as indicated

11 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2018

  1. I have been curious about the fan. Why do the princesses have to hold their tasseled fan? Is it a part of the costume? But I love it, anyway.

    Where do I get those fans seriously?

  2. Kiko looks nice in this buttery yellow color, but I don’t like the stacked crown of the hat. This is the best styling yet for this hat on Mako; the color is also great for her!

    Nobuko brought some real 1970s vibes with her hat (reminds me of a flashback we saw of Silvia), but I just don’t think it works ultimately; the lavender is a nice color though. Akiko’s hat shows promise, but I think it would look better with her hair down.

    Hisako continues to reign in terms of the best Japanese hats (the Empress excluded, because she’s in a category of her own); I think this has potential to be paired nicely with a skirt suit on a future outing. Usually Tsuguko also gains high praise from me, but this ensemble (at least what I can see of it) falls kinda flat unfortunately. Yoko looks good in the pale lime color, but the hat is nothing out of the ordinary.

  3. I would love to have seen a closer view of Princess Hisako’s hat. The color is lovely. I think she is my favorite of the Japanese princesses. She just seems like she would be a lot of fun as a lunch or dinner companion.

  4. The flower crown and gown look lovely and so do all the others, but they are not outfits that would do anywhere other than The Imperial Court. I think the pastel coloured outfits are more successful than the brighter ones, and I thought riding habit! too.

  5. Princess Kiko’s hat and look are fabulous. Kudos to Princess Nobuko for trying something different, but I never really care for open crown hats and this one is no exception. I also love Princess Hisako’s look- it almost looks like an old riding habit and hat to me (though much fancier). Lovely turnout.

  6. I am with you on both choices Deborah Makarios. I was trying to decide which I liked better and I have to give it to P. Hisako for the color and the contrasting white trim. I do like the brim on P. Akiko’s hat.

  7. I like Princess Akiko’s classic look and the surprising vim and vigour of Princess Hisako’s ensemble – she really stands out among the pastels, especially as she is the only one not wearing one colour from head to toe.
    By the way, you appear to have two Kiko’s at the top instead of a Kiko and a Kako – or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

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