Emperor and Empress Conduct First Imperial Rituals

Emperor Naruhito conducted his first Imperial ritual today, dispatching messengers to Ise Grand Shrine and the mausoleums of five deceased emperors. For this event, the emperor wore traditional sokutai robes with a tall, black kanmuri hat.

Following this ritual, Emperor Naruhito and and Empress Masako visited Kashikodokoro (one of the Three Palace Sanctuaries) to report the dates of the Enthronement and Daijosai ceremonies. The emperor again appeared in sokutai robes, this time in the dark rust-brown colour reserved for his role, and the distinctive black kanmuri hat.

Empress Masako wore a traditional “junihitoe” of multi-layered robes which dates back to the Heian Era (794 to 1185). The lime silk top robe with under-robes in red, salmon and purple follow a similar colour scheme chosen by Empress Emerita Michiko when she took part in this same ceremony in 1990. The new empress’ hair was styled in a the elaborate sculpted sweeping ponytail extending down her back that is worn with this costume along with a triple pronged golden headpiece, secured just above her forehead.

For her arrival at the Imperial Palace earlier in the day, the empress wore an ice blue silk jacket with beautifully cut collar and a matching silk covered bumper hat. It’s a streamlined look I hope we can see from better view, soon.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Photo from Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP and social media as indicated

8 thoughts on “Emperor and Empress Conduct First Imperial Rituals

  1. I want to thank you, HatQueen, for the magnificent coverage you have given of the entire Imperial transition. I knew very little about the culture of Japan and even less about its Imperial family before discovering this blog, and I have learned so much, both from the actual posts and the additional reading I have been inspired to do.

    I do have one question occasioned by this particular post, specifically the reference to the couple arriving at the Imperial Palace for the ritual. Do they not live at the palace? And if they don’t, where do they live? (I guess I’m used to the British monarch both living in and engaging in ceremonial functions at Buckingham Palace.)

    • There’s going to be a transition period of several months that sees the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emeritus move to Togu Palace and the new Emperor and Empress move into the Imperial Palace but I believe renovations first need to occur on both residences.

  2. Fascinating! I assume the kanmuri hats of the gentlemen assistants are folded over so that they are lower than the Emperor at all times; which is also why his train bearer kept bowed.
    I wonder how many layers are in those costumes? And if they are passed down and are the same ones worn by their predecessors, or made new for the current Emperor and Empress?

  3. They look like entirely different people in their ceremonial robes, don’t they? So interesting to see the careful adherence to tradition. The textiles are exquisite.

    That lovely folded-down collar of the Empress’s suit caught my eye, too, HatQueen.

    • Well written!
      Such a gorgeous ceremony and I love the tradition they follow.
      Thanks Hat Queen for such great write ups and video. So informative!

  4. Thank you HQ for the videos of these ceremonies, it was fascinating to see the imperial headpieces and robes up close. I noticed that the red full-length under-robes of both the Emperor and the Empress appeared to be so long that each step they took landed, very adroitly I may add, on the hem of his/her robe. No doubt this is part of the tradition. I imagine that much practice is required in order to move with dignity and safety when wearing these magnificent historic robes.

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