Imperial Royals Visit Fukushima & Celebrate Milestone Anniversary

Over the weekend, the Emperor and Empress visited the Fukushima region to attend the 69th National Tree-Planting Festival and review the area still greatly impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The visit was of particular note as it is the last one the Imperial couple will pay to this area before the Emperor’s abdication next year. On Saturday, for the couple’s arrival in Koriyama, Empress Michiko repeated a pale mushroom grey large saucer hat trimmed with a two-tone silk twist. While there’s never much to say about the Empress’ many grey hats, the neckline on her jacket plays beautifully against this one.

June 9, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 9, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hiarata
Previously Worn: Feb 28, 2017
For Sunday’s National Tree-Planting Festival, the Empress repeated her lovely pale slate blue-grey rimmed petite saucer hat trimmed with overlapping silk bow loops around one side of the piece. I love the different shades and sheens on the bow trim and the shape of the raised rim around the back. It’s a delicate design that Michiko wears very well.

  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats  June 10, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 29, 2018Mar 7, 2018Oct 29, 2017

On Monday, the royal couple attended a number of events related to memorials for and rebuilding from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The Empress repeated her recently deubted slate grey hat with silver lattice printed white crin underbrim, trimmed with a darker grey bow.


Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 28, 2018

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako were spotted arriving at the Imperial Royal Palace for a celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. Princess Masako repeated a pleated buttercup yellow silk covered bumper hat with pleated brim for the occasion.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: October 20, 2015

It’s amazing to think that in less than a year, Masako will step into the role of Empress. I know many of us have cheered her return to public life, and continue to wish her well moving forward. It will be interesting to see how her upcoming new role impacts her hats!

14 thoughts on “Imperial Royals Visit Fukushima & Celebrate Milestone Anniversary

  1. Matthew, I was just thinking the same thing about the Empress kneeling to plant the tree. Most royals, even the gentlemen, would not “get down to business” quite so much. It made me smile. I have seen photos of her tending her silk worms with the same enthusiasm. I, too, will miss her “origami” hats. She and the Emperor are a very engaged and charming couple. Masako’s hat certainly isn’t my favourite. Again, I really dislike the hat matching the fabric of the suit. But I love her smile and wish her the best.

    • I also was so impressed with the Empress’ hands-on approach that I just had to include this photo!

      It will be interesting to see if the Emperor and Empress disappear completely from public view following the Emperor’s abdication. It’s and entirely new situation for the Imperial royals and I hope we’ll see them from time to time, as we do Princess Beatrix. Only time will tell.

  2. How a colour can change with lighting, more grey more blue, the Empress always looks immaculate, (the first photo I see the Empress kneeling).
    When she steps down you could write a book : The Empresses hats 1990 – 2019

  3. I like the Empress’ grey/blue hat the best. CP Masako’s bumper hat is positioned better this time. Usually visits to the Imperial Palace mean small hats.

    I hope Masako repeats these hats someday (search ID in Getty Images, cannot embed)
    Red: 890147594, 890148024
    Pale blue: 892973398, 892973404
    Big green hat with black hat band: 893594482
    Large white hat: 884838634
    Pink pillbox: 886118960
    Black/white: 696144014
    Black beret: 673652294
    Red/black: 641013330, 641013336
    Blue with feathers: 607455490
    White with light blue: 526482284, 526482302

    • Avery- the hats you have shared made me realize I had some holes in my archive of Princess Masako’s hats (I also think a new series of photographs have been included in Getty Images somewhat recently!). As I’ve started going through Masako’s first few years in the Imperial family, the diversity of colours, styles and shapes of her hats has been astounding. Unfortunately, so has the intensity of her engagements in 1993 and 1994- it’s a pace I can’t imagine could be sustained by many of us. I can only hope that her transition to Empress will be less intense. Hopefully the Imperial Household Agency’s expectations are realistic and compassionate.

  4. With the abdication less than a year away now, I fear we have seen the end of any new hats for the Empress. I would love to see her bring back some of the larger ones with various floral decorations from the mid-2000s before HIM departs public life. Guess we’ll see what happens! I, for one, am going to miss Michiko and her unique hats.

    No surprises here, but definitely agree the collar on the jacket of the first appearance definitely makes the whole ensemble. Also wonderful to see the Empress not afraid to get on her knees to help plant the tree; a bit of a surprise to see monarch do so, especially at her age! Brava!

    Not as big of a fan of Masako’s hat, but I don’t think the butter yellow is a flattering color for her, and I dislike the use of the same fabric for both the hat and the outfit; a parasisal straw hat would’ve been a better choice IMO. As for when she becomes Empress, as she will perform more public functions, I imagine we will see her in more hats; it’s less likely we will see more variation in terms of styles,, but maybe we will get more colors mixed in, especially more saturated ones?

  5. I wonder if we will ever see another Royal head wear these types of hats in the future. I will miss this couple! I have hope that just because Masako will be wearing more hats than in the past in her new role that she might expand the styles somewhat. She is representing a new generation and may feel she can introduce a few changes.

  6. Although most of the Empress’ hats during this visit are not all that different from each other, the Saturday suit is one of my favorites of hers, and the hat does go well with it. It’s also interesting to note that she appears to be kneeling actually on the grass at the tree planting — what confidence that she will not have a wet spot or stain on her skirt when she stands up!

    Regarding Masako becoming Empress next year, I don’t anticipate that her hat choices will change much in terms of style — the Japanese royals don’t seem given to flamboyance — but as Empress, she will undoubtedly have many more public appearances, so we will get to see her more often.

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