Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako enjoyed a joint engagement today at the Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual meeting in Tokyo. For Masako’s first solo official duty as empress, she repeated a cream bowler variation hat with domed, straight-sided crown and upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a wide navy hatband folded into a flat bow at the back. It’s a prim hat that pairs well with her navy and cream suit.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This is tricky by my guess is it’s the same as the one worn May 26, 2018

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in the same finely striped ice blue silk as a matching suit. Bias placement on the brim give a diagonal contrast to the stripes, breaking up the one-note ensemble. Views from this hat’s last outing show it also has a small posy of silk flowers tucked behind the brim on one side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 26, 2016

Princess Hanako repeated her ecru square crowned hat with double sidesweeping brim, simply trimmed with a wide silk hatband in the same colour. The brim shape and tall, angular crown are elements we don’t often see on Imperial royal hats and Hanako caries it very well.

Previously Worn: May 13, 2015; July 10, 2014 

Princess Nobuko paired a white hat with flat crown and rolled brim with her blue silk, the two pieces drawn together with a blue silk hatband and side bow.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Hisako repeated a pale grey hat with flat crown and gently curved saddle brim. The hat appears to have undergone tweaking since its first appearance last fall- gone is the flat hatband in the same fabric as the matching jacquard suit and in its place are stacked applique cutouts from the floral fabric (maybe with some lace as well?). The resulting 3D hatband gives fantastic interest and dimension to the small scaled hat and leaves me wondering why such embellishment isn’t seen on hats, more.

Previously Worn: October 1, 2018

I can’t imagine that the all cream and blue/grey palate worn by the Empress and Imperial princesses is a coincidence and one wonders the behind-the-scenes logistics that accompanies such planning (I suppose the Empress can’t wake up and say, “No, I think I’ll wear the pink instead….”!). Thoughts about this quintet of Imperial royal hats?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; social media as indicated 

10 thoughts on “Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

    • Lex- I thought the same thing initially but the brim and crown shapes made me finally conclude these are two different hats. The 1997 hat is domed while the hat this week is more flat and as you said, the 1997 hat has a more tightly rolled brim that the hat this week. But, when it comes to Imperial royal hats, we just don’t know.

  1. Wow, I didn’t think Empress Masako would be doing solo events already but this is a good sign! Her hat on it’s own isn’t that memorable but it gets the WOW factor put together with that suit. Navy and white never goes out of style.

    I also love Princess Hanako’s hat, especially the brim, and Princess Hisako looks amazing! I jumped over to the last time she wore this hat and the hadband was very different. This upgrade gets two thumbs up!

  2. I know you shouldn’t have favourites but Princess Hisako is mine ! so I always look for the differences from the other Princesses … I think this hat is lovely the way it frames her delicate features and that pale grey is very becoming on her ! The Empress Masako is a beautiful woman and she’s starting to look a little more relaxed I think …. though I have to say when I clicked on the video – the noise from all the cameras scared the life out of me … no wonder she had such a hard time coming to terms with it all ! 😊

  3. I would venture to say this is a new hat for Masako, or perhaps a repeat from May 2018 (although that brim looks larger, but hard to confirm with such a small photo), but I think it’s not the same as the 2007 hat, which has a visible seam at the top of the crown, and this hat does not appear to have that. At any rate, it’s a lovely choice for her.

    The shape isn’t new for Kiko, but like so many of the Japanese hats, it’s the details that can make or break a hat, and this one makes it for sure.

    Hanako’s hat is a nice change from the tiny hats we usually see; the brim is larger on this, but not so large it distracts and/or hides the face.

    Like Hanako’s hat, I appreciate Nobuko’s having a slightly larger brim, and the sky blue color is lovely for her.

    While Hisako looks good in the hat, it unfortunately doesn’t excite me like most of hers do.

    • Good call on the repeats, Jake. With some better photos released later in the day to peruse, you’re spot on about the 2007 hat (now removed from the post). I still don’t know about 2018…

  4. Wonderful group of hats! I particularly like Princess Hanako’s hat. I would love to see Empress Masako wear a style similar, or branch out to something new. I do love the Empress’ outfit – the navy and cream is beautiful on her.
    Crown Princess Kiko’s hat is lovely – the color and the bias lines on it.

  5. I am going to miss the Empress Emeritus (or is it Emerita?) and her whimsical “origami” hats. I do think the tendency to match the fabric of a suit or dress to the hat exactly can be a bit boring, so I am pleased to see some variations here. But above all, I am delighted to see Empress Masako looking so well and happy!

  6. I have been a devoted follower of “Royal Hats” for about 3 years. It seems to me that, especially in the last year or so, there has been more variety in the hats worn by the Japanese imperial ladies. Dare I say that there appears to have been some lessening of restrictions on their choices? Or have I just developed a better “eye” for subtle details?

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