Mikasa Princess Attends Exhibition With Turkish President

On Sunday, Princess Akiko of Mikasa hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan at the opening of the Ara Guler Photography Exhibition at the 800-year-old Tofukuji temple in Osaka. For this occasion (which followed last week’s G20 Summit, also in Osaka), Princess Akiko wore a hat that departs from her usual millinery style.

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The cream straw hat loosely follows an oversize cloche shape with a few variations- rim at the top of the wider-than-usual crown, upturned kettle brim- and is trimmed with an ice blue hatband that links with Akiko’s dress. What’s notable here, I think, is the large scale. While it does have the slight air of ‘overturned flowerpot’, I’m always happy to see an Imperial princess  experiment with new millinery shapes, scale and trimmings so this gets smile and nod from me.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: July 20, 2015

What do you think of Princess Akiko’s hat?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial Royals Host and Embark on Foreign Visits

Numerous world leaders were in Japan this week for the G20 Summit- on Thursday, the emperor and empress welcomed French President and Mrs. Macron to the Imperial Palace for a luncheon in their honour. While the empress, as hostess, did not wear a hat, the Imperial princesses in attendance did.

Princess Mako and Princess Kako both wore silk covered bumper hats trimmed with bows at the back. It’s difficult to tell- I think Mako’s hat and suit is an almond beige while Kako’s looks to be a blush pink.


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Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a grey hat with Pork pie crown and rolled brim trimmed with a darker grey hatband and bow at the back. Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her blue and grey floral print suit with a repeated ivory saucer. The hat features an ivory windowpane crin inverted binding around the brim and is trimmed with pale blue silk ruffled flowers on the side.

The most interesting hats of the day were on Princess Yoko of Mikasa, who wore a white hat with wide, curved brim and tall pinched crown, trimmed with a pale turquoise hatband and Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, whose hat featured a navy crown with ivory wrap and ivory brim with a stripe of navy binding. With her navy and cream ensemble, the hat topped a crisp and very summery look.

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This year marks 100 years of Polish-Japanese diplomatic relations, a centennary being celebrated with a visit by Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko to the Eastern European nation. For their arrival yesterday at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Princess Kiko wore a cream bumper hat with upfolded brim. Polish first lady Agata Duda’s fuchsia straw button percher with straw loops and feathers is a small hat but an eye-catching one!

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For a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier later in the day, the Crown Princess wore a brimmed white hat with upturned kettle brim trimmed with a layered taupe hatband. Kiko wears so many brimless bumpers, it’s great to see her in a brimmed design for a change.

Following the visit to Poland, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko will continue to Finland where we’ll no doubt see several more hats. What do you think of these designs at these foreign diplomatic relations events?

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

Closer Look At Princess Hisako’s Hats

Princess Hisako recently wore two hats that I think, require a closer look because of their interesting detail. So, I’m going to do something I don’t usually do and bring them forward for discussion! The first was worn back on May 22 to an exhibition at the Finish Embassy in Tokyo celebrating 100 years of Finish-Japanese diplomatic relations. If you open the photos below, both show good views of the scalloped brim of her hat, a design feature we don’t often see but is executed beautifully on this piece.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I think it’s new

The second hat first appeared last summer. It’s a wide-brimmed straw design with pork pie indented crown. At its first outing the hat was trimmed with a green twist in the same fabric as Hisako’s suit and appeared to have a wide stripe of white crin around the brim.

The hat made another appearance on May 25 this year at an African Festival in Yokohama.


Better views (and a helpful guest of wind!) showed that the white crin actually forms a second brim that overlays the black straw. The overlay is just attached at the intersection of brim and crown (where the hatband sits) which allows the crin to gently move on the overhanging edge.


Views of the back (open up the gallery below to see large-size photos) show great views not only of the crin overbrim, but of the indented crown and this hat’s new trim- a slim white hatband that ties in a bow at the back and a spray of black silk flowers. It’s sometimes difficult to tell when Imperial royal hats are renovated but this change is clear and interesting to look at in closer detail.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: August 6, 2018

Both hats have some unique features we don’t usually see on royal hats (much less Imperial ones)- what do you think, after seeing these improved views?

Photos from social media as indicated 

American-Imperial State Visit Concludes

The American state visit to Japan concluded today with a photo op and farewells. Empress Masako wore a beautifully cut, textured white suit topped with a white bowler hat variation with the straight-sided, domed-top crown we’ve seen her wear many times before. Covered in what looks like white silk, the hat is trimmed in a wide hatband that either pinstriped in a pale, neutral stripe or made of multiple layers of overlapping white ribbon- until we get a closer view, it’s too hard to tell.

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The mix of textures on suit and hatband, combined with her exquisite pearl necklace, comes together for another quietly elegant look on Masako. Yes, the colour is a bit restrained but she wears it well and the soft palate has created a consistently stately look on her this visit- a look she has carried with poise and confidence. I just wish there was more than just a hatband to tell all her ivory/cream/white hats apart. I’m starting to suspect some are repeated, but with different hatbands…

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Not with this hatband. But…maybe with another one? Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we’ll explore this more. 

What do you think of this look on Empress Masako today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial Royals Welcome American State Visit

The first foreign state visit of the Reiwa Era began today with the arrival of the American President and First Lady in Japan. Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted their visitors with a welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace, the Empress in what appears to be a new hat.

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In pristine white (silk, I think), the design features a short brim rolled on the sides and a straight-sided, flat crown. The hat is simply trimmed in a a hatband in the same parchment-hued silk as Masako’s matching suit, embellished in slim, diagonal pinstripes of pale taupe beads. It’s a quietly subtle look for the Empress and what stands out are those stripes of beads on the hatband, visible even at considerable distance, which add lovely movement and dimension.

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

Crown Princess Kiko topped a pale blue silk dress with matching Breton style hat, covered in the same crepe silk. Rows of stitching punctuate the hat’s brim, which vents on one side in an elegant scallop. It’s another quietly subtle look but let’s not kid ourselves- this visit was never going to see bold looks or creative hats on the Imperial royal ladies.

2019-05-27 US state visit 3 250

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

Thoughts about these two hats today in Japan?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and Getty as indicated 

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.

Designer: 
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.

Designer: 
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 

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.

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🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 สมเด็จพระจักรพรรดินารุฮิโตะแห่งญี่ปุ่น เสด็จออกในการพระราชทานพระราชวโรกาสให้ ราชทูตหลวง เฝ้าทูลละอองธุลีพระบาท รับพระราชทานตราตั้ง โดยจะเป็นผู้แทนพระองค์ กราบทูลถวายรายงานเรื่องพระราชพิธีจักรพรรดิภิเษก ต่อหน้าศาลเจ้าอิเสะ สุสานหลวงสมเด็จพระจักรพรรดิจิมมู และสุสานหลวงสมเด็จพระจักรพรรดิโชวะ ณ ท้องพระโรงใหญ่ พระราชวังอิมพีเรียล กรุงโตเกียว ประเทศญี่ปุ่น ---- His Imperial Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan presided over the ceremony of dispatching imperial envoys to the Ise Grand Shrine, and mausoleums of the Emperor Jimmu and Emperor Showa to report the date of his Enthronement Ceremony, at the Grand Throne Hall of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan. ---- 秋の即位の礼と大嘗祭の期日を伊勢神宮と神武天皇陵、昭和天皇はじめ前四代の天皇陵に報告するため、天皇陛下が使者である勅使を派遣される「勅使発遣(はっけん)の儀」が、皇居・宮殿で行われた。 ---- Photos: Imperial Household Agency #emperornaruhito #naruhito #japaneseimperialfamily #japan #天皇 #天皇陛下 #日本の皇族 #日本 🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵

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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.

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🇪🇸 Los emperadores se viste por primera vez con sus trajes ceremoniales después de su ascencion al trono . El motivo fue informarle a los dioses y antepasados su próxima entronización 👑 🇬🇧The emperors dress for the first time in their ceremonial costumes after their ascension to the throne. The reason was to inform the gods and ancestors of their upcoming enthronement 👑 👑 👑 #ladymountbattenwindsor #royals #japan #emperor #emperorofjapan #emperorakihito #empressmichiko #emperornaruhito #empressmasako #princessaiko #princeakishino #emperadordejapon #emperadorakihito #emperatrizmichiko #emperadornaruhito #emperatrizmasako #japon #heiseiera #heisei #eraheisei #reiwa #reiwaera

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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