Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2021

Last Friday, The New Year’s Poetry Reading (Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime) took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Closeup views of the hats worn to this event again show their beautiful detail, something which I thought warranted a second look!

Crown Princess Kiko Kiko repeated the pale lime silk jacquard floral gown with matching bumper hat she first wore last November for the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi. It’s an impeccably made piece with cuffed brim covered in wide bias alternating sections of  smooth and smocked silk, the same lime silk jacquard of her gown. Smocking is not something we see on many royal hats and it lends such textural dimension to the piece. Princess Mako repeated her turquoise silk covered bumper hat with, as this picture shows, a wonderful layered, striped silk bow at the back. Princess Kako repeated her lemon yellow silk jacquard bandeau trimmed with silk flowers on the sides.

Designer: unknown
Crown Princess Kiko’s hat was previously worn: Nov 8, 2020
Princess Mako’s hat was previously worn: Nov 18, 2019; Jan 11, 2019; Jan 12, 2018; Jan 11, 2017; Dec 23, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 10, 2020; Nov 18, 2019; Feb 26, 2019;
Feb 24, 2019; Jan 14, 2015

Princess Nobuko topped her denim blue beaded gown with a matching pillbox covered entirely in feathers and worn back on the crown of her head. It’s a lovely scale and colour on Nobuko and the movement and texture provided by the feathers makes it a fantastic piece to accompany her gown. Princess Akiko repeated her pale yellow bumper hat trimmed in a wrap of pleated crin and generous spray of silk flowers at the back.

Designer: unknown
Princess Nobuko’s hat:  I believe it is new
Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn:  Nov 8, 2020;  Oct 25, 2019; Apr 10, 2019


Princess Hisako repeated her vibrant green low-crowned bowler hat with curved brim and slim hatband, trimmed wiht a mass of green feathers at the back. The different shades of green on the feather trim makes this hat come alive, linking with the green embroidery on Hisako’s gown and giving the monochrome ensemble lightness and lift.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: Oct 29, 2019; Jan 16, 2019

The only new hat at this event was an ice blue, short-brimmed design on Princess Tsuguko. The small scale design gets visual impact from the trilby-esque curved brim and hatband of silk leaves that encircle it, linking with the vine pattern in the silk jacquard of her jacket and skirt. It looks to me like the hat is covered in plain silk and the leaves cut from the printed jacquard silk (same as the gown), a subtle touch that makes the all blue ensemble less one note.

Designer: unknown
Previously worn: I believe this is new

Again, these closer views of these hats show great detail and utterly impeccable finishing. They are so very, very,  beautifully made.

Which hats here stood out most to you?

Images from social media as indicated

9 thoughts on “Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2021

  1. thank you for the detailed photos. From afar these ladies all look very plain but when you get up close you are able to appreciate the subtle details of pleating, beads, trimming, etc. on both the hats and the dresses. And that in turn gives a little more insight into their individuality and personalities as well. Gorgeous!

  2. While all the hats are lovely and the detail on each is so impeccable, my favorite hats are the ones worn by Princess Mako and Princess Tsuguko. Princess Tsuguko’s is very “springy” and the colors of the flowers bring out the pretty details on her outfit. Princess Mako’s hat is streamlined elegance. There’s not a pucker or stitch out of place. It’s just absolutely gorgeous.

  3. Princess Tsuguko is the only one not wearing a pearl necklace! I can’t see it well enough to determine what it is. White gold, maybe?

  4. I like Nobuko, Hisako and Tsuguko’s hats the most. Excellent materials and details for all ladies. Hisako has been double-masking lately, which makes sense since she has more outside events.
    I wonder if Tsuguko’s dress simmers yellow and purple and that’s why those few leaves aren’t blue.
    Aiko will attend next year. I’m guessing she’ll sit on the right side? It’ll be Aiko + Mikasa + Takamado princesses

  5. Ask and ye shall receive! Many thanks again to Prisma and HatQueen for providing these wonderful closeups!

    All great hats, but the Takamado princesses take the top places for me (as they often do), followed closely by the Mikasa princesses. Great shapes and placements by them all.

    I do hope we get to see Masako don a hat again soon.

  6. The thing that I find so engaging about these hats is how texture is used so incredibly. Subtle, beautifully made details really tie the hats to the outfits.
    And though not hat specific, of what I could see of the brooch choices, the same could be said as well. Such beautiful and thoughtful dressing.

  7. Bless these women for showing up year after year in outfits respectful to their heritage and wearing these outfits well. It is a pleasure to see court dress these days! I, too, noticed those other colors in Tsuguko’s hat, TrickyMum! Very nice touch. I also liked Nobuko’s feathery pillbox. I was wondering why Princess Hisako was standing. She is a very talented lady–poetry and painting, too!

  8. As well as the beautifully crafted hats, up close, we also see the subtle detail and workmanship of the outfits they are made to match.
    I love Hisako’s feathered bowler, although not as much as the purple one. Also claps for Tsuguko for wearing a new hat, with a touch of different colours in the trim to boot!

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