Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2021

The Imperial New Year’s Lectures (Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime) were finally held Tuesday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a grey-blue silk brocade gown with shimmering beaded bodice. Her half hat, in the same silk, features crisp pointed corners on each side and stripes of slim silver beads across the crown. Princess Mako repeated an ice blue silk jacquard and matching half hat with short, upfolded brim. The closeup photo seen below shows beautiful detail on the hat- tiny sparkling beads around the brim edge like those around the collar of Mako’s gown, and the loveliest white and blue silk flowers. Princess Kako rounded out the Akishino’s trio of blue in her deep royal silk gown and matching bumper hat with intricately beaded brim edge.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Jan 12, 2016; Jan 15, 2014
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 15, 2016
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 16, 2020; Oct 29, 2019; Apr 30, 2019; Jan 9, 2015

Princess Nobuko paired her terra cotta pink gown with an oversize silk floral headpiece. It’s a departure from much of the Imperial millinery we see, making it a favourite for me!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Oct 29, 2019

Princess Akiko Princess Yoko repeated pillbox hats, Akiko’s in lime-yellow silk with beaded detail on the side and Yoko’s in salmon pink with layered stripes of feather trim.

Designer: unknown
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn: April 30, 2019; Jan 14, 2015; Jan 10, 2014
Princess Yoko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020; Oct 25, 2019Apr 10, 2019

Princess Hisako wore a deep purple stylized bowler hat with ostrich plume at the back. The lattice printed silk of her gown is repeated on the hat’s wide hatband. Princess Tsuguko repeated her green silk jacquard covered pillbox hat with layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown. The lily-of-the-valley blooms that originally embellished this hat have been removed, a detail I’m a little sorry to see.

Designer: unknown
Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: I believe this hat is new
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; May 4, 2019

The views of these hats show more detail than we usually see and my, are these details impeccable. The beading is particularly fine and makes me wish we could see all Imperial hats at close view simply to admire how beautifully they are made.

It’s been a long while since we had such a group of hats to admire- which designs here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

5 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Lectures 2021

  1. The Japanese royal ladies look like a bouquet of spring flowers in their beautiful silk gowns and hats in tender colours. From a distance their hats seem to be more or less alike, but from close up, one can see all the differences in shape and the delicate trimmings.

    Hat Queen, may I draw attention to the fact that tomorrow, Friday March 26, is Wear a Hat Day?
    Wear a Hat Day was initiated by British milliners in support of Brain Tumour Research (see @braintumourrsch or

  2. I don’t often watch the videos for these events, but I skimmed over this one. The details really stand out during the brief intervals when the princesses are moving. I was especially taken with the sequin trim or Kiko’s and the ostrich feather’s on Hisako’s. Nobuko’s flower headpiece is a standout — wish we could see it in detail since I’m sure the craftsmanship is excellent.

  3. I’m so grateful for such good closeup images for these hats, something we rarely get unfortunately. Everyone looks great (despite the predictability of the hat styles) and it’s nice to see a variety of colors. In a surprise move for me, Akiko wins for the beaded detailing on her pillbox and it’s placement on her head with the hair down; simply chic and elegant! While it’s still a good hat, I’m also sad at the loss of floral trim on Tsuguko’s hat.

  4. As you point out, the detail and workmanship on these hats is exquisite! I too am admiring Princess Nobuko’s flower; at first, in other pictures of the event, I thought she was hatless and was rather astonished. The flower is indeed a departure from the norm.
    My actual favourite hat is Princess Hisaho’s feathered bowler, in that lovely shade of purple.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s