Imperial Enthronement

On the day following Emperor Akihito’s abdication, Emperor Naruhito was enthroned yesterday in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo attended by the royal family. The Imperial princesses all wore sparkling tiaras (jump over to this post at The Court Jeweller for an excellent review of the tiaras). Crown Princess Kiko appeared, for the first time, in the Crown Princess Parure with scrolled tiara while Empress Masako looked wonderfully regally (and beamingly happy) in the the Meiji Tiara, a tiara reserved for the empress.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Following the enthronement ceremony, Imperial family members greeted the new Imperial couple (see this in full in the first embedded video at the bottom). Crown Princess Kiko paired her cream jacquard silk gown with a matching bumper hat, covered in the same fabric and simply trimmed with an embroidered cuff at the back. Princess Mako repeated her seafoam cream bandeau-calot, covered in the same dotted silk as her gown. The hat is beautifully finished with a bias silk binding and spray of silk flowers on the right side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Crown Princess Kiko’s hat is new. Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 24, 2019; September 4, 2017

Princess Kako repeated her buttercup yellow padded bandeau headpiece. The design is covered in the same floral jacquard silk as her gown and trimmed with silk blooms behind her ears. Princess Hanako of Hitachi was also in yellow silk with a statement hat. The straw base of this design has a rolled brim that looks to be covered, on both sides, with tiny, individual silk blossoms and is finished with a feather pouf at the back.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat was worn February 26, 2019; February 24, 2019;October 20, 2018; January 14, 2015 I believe Princess Hanako’s hat is new.

Princess Yuriko of Mikasa wore a slate blue silk covered pillbox embellished twisted silk roses and leaves. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her oxblood lace gown with a lace and silk organza striped turban trimmed with a large flower with wired starburst organza petals on the side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I don’t believe we’ve seen either hat before

Princess Akiko repeated her pink silk gown and crescent bandeau headpiece. Yesterday’s video finally gives us a view at the bandeau’s detail, showing a wonderful lattice pattern woven in silk ribbon anchored with pearls. Princess Yoko continued with more millinery surprises, topping her flowing gown with a percher hat in pink silk, worn on the right side of her yead. The design looks to be trimmed with cream beads- a detail we’ll have to wait for a better angled look to see for certain.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s headpiece was worn January 11, 2018; I believe Princess Yoko’s hat is new

Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her vibrant cereulean blue silk gown with a matching domed bumper hat. The upturned edge of the brim is covered in matching blue feathers and there looks to be a spray of silk flowers on the right side of the design. Princess Tsuguko repeated a purple floral headpiece that wraps around the right side of her head- a headpiece I can’t wait to see in greater detail!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe Princess Hisako’s hat is new. Princess Tsuguko wore this headpiece January 16, 2019 (I still think it’s a reworked version of the headpiece she wore January 14, 2015)

Finally, the new emperor and empress ended the day with a return to the Imperial Palace to greet Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. For this visit, Empress Masako donned a bumper hat covered in the same dotted jaquard silk print as her warm ivory hued gown. The left side of the brim is beautifully draped in four pleats that echo a simlar detail on the gown’s waist- subtle touches, indeed, but ones that are impeccably executed.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

There seems to be an overall feeling of goodwill toward the emperor and empress- I’m sure you join me in wishing them the very best as they transition into their new roles.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Newsletter Communication Center

20 thoughts on “Imperial Enthronement

  1. Thank you for the post and detailed pictures. I love the Japanese court dress. Leaving all the gender politics aside having all the princesses in their rainbow of outfits at events is so much more aesthetically pleasing than if they were a bunch of men (even though, sadly, that is what the Household would prefer).

    My favorites here are Princess Yuriko blue pillbox with the roses, Princess Akiko crescent bandeau lattice pattern headpiece; and the millinery rebel, Princess Tsuguko with her purple floral headpiece which I can’t wait to see more of.

  2. This week prompted me to do a little reading and re-reading about the Emperor & Empress (both current and emeriti), and it reminded me that Japanese culture is so vastly different from Western cultures, and I really need to take my Western lenses off more when commenting on their hats and outfits. With that said, this week has been both delightful and sad with the transition from the Heisei to the Reiwa era. It is odd to see the words “Emperor Naruhito” and “Empress Masako”, and to know the likelihood of us seeing the Empress Emerita’s saucer cocktail hats again is quite slim. For almost my whole life I’ve lived under the rule of Akihito and share a birthday with him, so I’ve felt a distinct connection to the Emperor Emeritus that, in some ways, is hard to let go.

    Anyhow, moving on to what this blog is all about! Masako looks fantastic in the Meiji tiara, and seemed to be all smiles, not showing a sign of nervousness despite her earlier voiced hesitations. The hat she wore later is good in the details, but that butter-ivory color is not very flattering for her IMO. I’m curious if Masako will come to favor any particular hat styles/details as her mother-in-law did (although I realize that was partially a medical necessity), or if she will keep us guessing!

    While a bit annoying we don’t get to have a frontal view of these hats, we do get to see many of the details much closer, something we rarely achieve with the Japanese Imperial Family. It’s interesting how Kiko, Mako, and Kako wore the same colors they wore to the 30th anniversary of Akihito’s accession back in February, with Mako and Kako repeating the hats from that event. Hanako’s canary yellow hat has some great trim to it, and definitely deserves a repeat. Yuriko’s hat was my favorite of the day; it fit her well, the fabric and color were fantastic, and the rosette trim was perfect. Nobuko’s turban, while not my favorite hat shape, gets major points for the beautiful burgundy color and the mixture of fabrics. Akiko and Yoko’s hats deserve better views before I pass full judgment, but I’m think I may like Akiko’s hat better with her hair down, while Yoko’s unfortunately looks like it could fall off at any time (at least from this angle). Hisako’s cerulean hat is a beautiful shade for her, and I hope we get to see the trim on the right side of the hat soon! Tsuguko’s headpiece is certain to look great, especially with her hair styled so well.

    Thank you HatQueen for your coverage of these events, which unfortunately did not get the recognition it should’ve in many other media.

  3. What a terrific post! Lovely ladies in court dress, luscious hats with good close-up views of fabric and trim and beautiful sparkly tiaras and other jewels. The new empress looks so happy, if only her daughter could have been able to participate but at 17 I understand that she needs to be of age at 20. I can’t wait to see Princess Akio’s jewelry parure! Thanks HatQueen!

  4. HQ, thanks for the closeup pics – without them, I know I would have dismissed these hats. I generally don’t comment on the Imperial family’s millinery, as I find the Imperial dress code about as exciting as a nun’s habit (with the notable exception of Princess Hisako’s style). Though perhaps a monastic/Vestal Virgin quality to the women’s aesthetic is to be expected, given that religion and the Imperial family are so closely intertwined.
    So I was unexpectedly delighted to see the pretty flourishes and embellishments on a good deal of the millinery today.
    BTW, every time I see a video of the Imperial ladies out in public, I am charmed by their courtesy. Did you see what Masako did when she got out of her limousine? she bowed her head to the liveryman holding the door open for her; and then she bowed her head to the cameraman taking the video! I’ve seen such graciousness before with the Imperials, but it still wows me every time.

  5. I’m really appreciating the finishes and the beautiful detailing as well as the luscious fabrics.

    Doesn’t the new Empress wear the Meiji beautifully!

    • I agree that Empress Masako looks so beautiful and elegant.

      I love the photo angles of the hats as we can see the gorgeous flourishes. Very striking. I love Princess Hanako’s yellow hat and am intrigued by Princess Tsuguko’s stunning headpiece. What a stylish group!

  6. Beautiful details. My favorites are the Mikasa and Takamado hats. Princess Tsuguko’s floral headpiece looks promising. I’m glad we got video!
    Great to see the Hitachi couple and Princess Yuriko.
    Empress Masako did so well!

  7. There are several wrong names in the post, among others you’ve called Empress Masako as Empress Michiko twice.

  8. Although mostly rear views, these pictures show closer up details of the imperial hats than we usually see, and what a treat! The beautiful finishes and subtle detail on these headpieces are masterly. I have to say that I still have a niggle about the super-matching of dresses with hats, but the imperial ladies look lovely.
    Was Princess Aiko not present? (I have been moved by your posts to do my research on the imperial family, so now I have a much improved idea of Who’s Who! Thanks, HatQueen!)

    • Aiko and Hisahito are minors (under 20). They won’t attend these ceremonies or the May 4 balcony appearance. However, the April 30 and May 1 schedules had slots for minor royals to greet the retired and new Imperial couples. Getty Images has photos of Aiko and Hisahito entering the Imperial Palace in their school uniforms.

    • The hat matching the dress has never bothered me, but additionally, the covering of the hat with fabric matching the dress or gown seems so universal among the Imperial royals that I wonder if we should be accepting this as a cultural difference and not be judging their fashion by European rules of style. Just a thought.

      • I think you are right, it is a cultural thing, although our own dear Queen has the same tendency!

        • Elizabeth, I think that is exactly the point I was trying to make. Since it has been “decided” (by whoever makes such decisions) that matchiness between the hat and the dress or coat is currently out of fashion, the royals who are discussed here (including HM) are regularly called out for that fashion faux pas. However, Japan is a completely different culture, as evidenced by the many customs and ceremonies we observe (including wearing long dresses for particular events that we in the west would not consider to be formal occasions), and therefore their fashion choices should not be governed by our standards. Just my humble opinion!

          • Yes, I think you are right. The Japanese outfits and those of HM, like the late Queen Mother, have little to do with fashion, and all to do with being immediately recognisable in a crowd, looking dignified and appropriate – and still looking appropriate when viewed again however many years later. But my personal preference is still for a hat that isn’t so closely matched to the outfit.

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