Imperial Enthronement: Ceremony

The main element in Tuesday’s Imperial Enthronement was the Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi, an official proclamation ceremony where the new emperor announces to domestic and foreign audiences that he has ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne.

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This ceremony took place inside the Imperial Palace before a large audience. Emperor Naruhito again appeared in sokutai robes, this time in the dark rust-brown colour reserved for his role, and the distinctive black kanmuri hat.

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Empress Masako wore a traditional “junihitoe” multi-layered kimono which dates back to the Heian Era (794 to 1185). In white, silver, red, coral,  purple, pale peach and green, the kimono is regal and dramatic, especially paired with the the elaborate sculpted sweeping ponytail that is worn with this costume along with a triple pronged golden headpiece.

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Embed from Getty Images

Crown Prince Fumihito wore saffron orange sokutai robes and a black kanmuri hat.

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The Imperial princesses also wore the traditional junihitoe with Crown Princess Kiko in shades of red, pink, orange, gold, white and purple, with a top robe in slate navy and the others in layers of green, navy, red, burgundy, yellow and white with a top robe in royal purple. Each wore the traditional spiky gold headpieces atop the costume’s dramatic hairstyle.

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Embed from Getty Images
Crown Princess Kiko

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Princess Kako and Princess Mako

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Princess Hanako

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Princess Hanako and Princess Nobuko in front; Princesses Akiko, Yoko, Hisako and Tsuguko in back

On their own, these spiky headpieces and tall hats seem so unusual but somehow, they add to the grandeur and strong sense of history at these events.

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Next up, we’ll look at the hats worn by royal guests.

Photos from Getty as indicated 

9 thoughts on “Imperial Enthronement: Ceremony

  1. Congratulations to Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako and Imperial family! I’m thrilled Empress Masako managed a long day especially with 2 junihitoe. Glad to see the Hitachi couple and Princess Nobuko (who recently fell and suffered a back fracture) managed.

    Close ups of Princess Hanako and Mikasa and Takamado Princesses:

  2. I agree with everyone else it’s great to see coverage like this. I didn’t realize how long the women’s hairstyle was, so thanks Elizabeth for pointing that out!

    I wonder if there are rank differences signified with the kanmuri hat in addition to the color of the sokutai robes? Only the Emperor has his hat fully upright, while the crown prince and priests have theirs bent at various angles. At any rate, I really enjoy seeing this hat out as it’s something quite different.

    I thought I read somewhere that Prince Masahito and Princess Hanako (the Hitachis) weren’t going to attend these ceremonies, along with Princess Yuriko (Mikasa) due to their age (rightfully so), but it was nice to see them anyhow.

  3. Enthralling ceremony HQ.
    Here’s a fascinating video of the process of being dressed in a junihitoe. The positioning and tying off each of the many layers of silk individually seems to require considerable skill. Note the extra long red trousers, which appear to be a good 18 inches longer than floor length. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gutoy_1W298
    In the footage of a different ceremony, I remember thinking that the female junihitoe wearers appeared to be actually walking on their long trouser legs (the camera angle doesn’t allow a view of this in the current ceremony). In the next video of everyday women modelling junihitoe, you can see at 0:06 that this is indeed the case; there appears to be at least 2 feet(!) of red fabric being dragged along the floor behind. This practice must surely damage the trouser fabric, so I am guessing that these trousers would not be worn outdoors. At 0:38 a novice junihitoe model accidentally kicks her red trouser legs forward, instead of keeping them behind her. No wonder all junihitoe wearers appear to be concentrating so hard when walking! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEzvw8zN6rg

  4. Thank you for your detailed coverage of the hats from the different enthronement events. I would love to know more about the reasons for the different colors and styles of hats worn by the princesses starting with the ivory hats you covered in your earlier post to the richer colors and greater variety of hats worn at the more recent banquet.

  5. And we think the British RF is steeped in tradition! These rituals and robes make other countries look fly-by-night. Love the patterning and layers of the junitihoe, and the saturated colors are amazing —quite the contrast to the pastel gowns and ivory hats from the preceding event.

    Appreciating your thorough and discerning coverage, as always, HQ!

  6. I loved following this event. One of the pictures here was the first time I’ve seen a back view of the amazing hairstyle, trailing to the ground behind!

    • I agree, these photos are incredible. Thank you for bringing attention to the hairstyle Elizabeth. I think we could star at these photos all day and find something new in them!

      Of course with the beautiful fabrics on the junihitoe, and the different color variations, I had to know more. This Wikipedia page is wonderful in its definition. It also makes mention of the hairstyle. Just fascinating!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jūnihitoe

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