Imperial New Years Poetry Reading 2020

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years poetry reading yesterday at the Royal Palace in some colourful and interesting hats.


Crown Princess Kiko repeated a mint green silk covered bumper hat, trimmed with a diamond of the same woven lattice silk as the bodice of her gown.  Princess Mako repeated a pale, ice blue silk floral jacquard covered calot hat with narrow, upturned, cuffed brim. Princess Kako repeated a royal blue silk bumper hat with beaded edge on the top of the upturned brim.

Princess Nobuko wore a new apricot silk covered bumper hat studded with tiny sparkle beads. The silk on the bumper brim is covered in bias stripes, giving a subtle diagonal movement to the design. Princess Akiko topped her cornflower blue gown with a matching hat. The hat’s button crown is covered in what looks like appliqued silk in the same hue, and a slim bumper brim circles the design.

Princess Hisako repeated hat with saddle shaped brim covered in cream silk and an avocado green narrow crown embellished with the same applique cutouts as on her coordinating gown. Green silk flowers and leaves cascade from below the brim’s raised back – a design feature I don’t recall seeing before on a royal hat. Princess Tsuguko also had a new headpiece in teal, gold and taupe with peach silk roses.

This event usually shows us some of the most colourful and memorable Imperial royal hats of the year and yesterday did not disappoint! Which ensembles stand out to you most here?

Photos from social media as indicated

Imperial New Years Lectures 2020

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended the annual New Years lectures on Tuesday at the Royal Palace.

The Akishino princesses all repeated silk covered hats, Princess Kiko in an ivory bumper hat with gold threaded brocade fabric covering the crown; Princess Mako in her peacock blue wide bandeau with large diamond pattern and multi side bow; and Princess Kaiko in a buttercup yellow bandeau with silk blossoms on the side.

Princess Nobuko repeated an aubergine silk bumper hat with beaded split brim. The colour is divine and I adore the subtle bit of sparkle dressing up the split brim. Princess Akiko repeated a pale blue Breton wrapped in an ostrich feather hatband and frothy veil. Princess Yoko wore an ice blue silk covered bumper hat studded with pears that I don’t think we’ve seen before.

Princess Hisako repeated the peach hat that wowed us at the Imperial inauguration. This improved view of the piece shows it to be a boater base covered in apricot silk. The beaded applique around the neckline of Hisako’s gown is repeated on the top of the crown and the brim is overlaid in ombre dyed layers of silk (maybe layered with crin?). Silk calla lilies in the same ombre shades adorn the side of the hat, studded with pearls. Princess Tsuguko repeated a headpiece of overlapping silk leaves in various shades of purple, trimmed in gold, anchored around the back of her head.

We see few royal events attended in traditional court dress which is a shame, because the combination of gown and hat can be spectacular. Which ensembles stand out to you most here?

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

Imperial Royals Celebrate Daijosai

On Thursday and Friday, enthronement rituals concluded with The Daijosai (Great Thanksgiving Ceremony), a festival that dates back to at least the 7th century and is performed by a new emperor the autumn following his enthronement. This festival was held in temporary Shinto shrine compound called the Daijokyu, composed of nearly 30 buildings (about 6,500 square meters) specially built in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace grounds for the Daijosai. For those of you in Tokyo, this will be opened to the public free between November 21 and December 8 before being dismantled, the wooden building materials being recycled for parks and disaster-prevention facilities.

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The Imperial Household Agency purchased specialty vegetables, fruit and seafood from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures for this festival. Rice was cultivated in two rice paddies in the country’s east and west with the locations determined by divination using turtle shells; special fabrics- hemp from Tokushima and silk from Aichi were also provided.

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The day began with Empress Masako arriving at the royal palace (earlier than the emperor, to prepare her elaborate costume) in a cream silk jacquard printed bumper hat.


For the ritual, the emperor wore white sokutai robes with the distinctive black kanmuri hat.

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The empress wore a traditional “junihitoe” multi-layered kimono, this one in white and peach, along with this Heian Era costume’s triple pronged silver headpiece.

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The Imperial Princess (I’ve spotted Kiko, Mako, Kako and Nobuko and suspect the other Mikasa and Takamado princesses also attended) wore a similar metal headpieces but with more delicate, beaded triple prongs (following a tree shape, I think?) and silk cord that loops around the top of the head and hangs down in a multi-bowed tassel on either sides of the face.


The event concluded with a banquet, hosted by the emperor and empress. The Imperial Princesses were in attendance, the Akishinos in cuffed calot hats, Princess Nobuko in a teal button percher, Princess Akiko in a brimmed cream hat, Princess Yoko in a pale blue percher, Princess Hisako in a green saucer with cream brim and flowers around the raised back, and Princes Tsuguko in a petal trimmed peach bumper.

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial Enthronement

Here is a summary index of all the hats we saw at events for Emperor Naruhito’s Enthronement

Emperor Akihito’s Abdication April 30, 2019
Crown Princess Masako, Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses
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Emperor Naruhito’s Enthronement Ceremony May 1, 2019
Empress Masako, Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses
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Coronation Balcony Appearance May 4, 2019
Empress Masako, Akishino Princesses, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses
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Imperial Enthronement: Morning Court Rituals October 22, 2019
Empress Masako, Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses
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Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi (official proclamation ceremony) October 22, 2019
Emperor Akihito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Fumihito, Crown Princess Kiko
Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses
Extended Imperial Family: Masako Sen, Yasuko Konoe, Takako Shimazu, Sayako Kuroda, Noriko Senge, Ayako Moriya  
Queen Maxima, Queen Mathilde, Queen Letizia, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Princess Victoria, Inkhosikati LaMashwama
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Second Court Banquet October 25, 2019
Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses, Noriko Senge, Ayako Moriya

Third Court Banquet October 29, 2019
Akishino Princesses, Princess Hanako, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses

Daikyo-no-Gi Grand Banquet November 18, 2019
Akishino Princesses, Mikasa Princesses, Takamado Princesses

Imperial Enthronement: Imperial Family Members

We finally wrap up our look at last week’s Imperial Enthronement  with attention to the hats worn by members (and former members) of the Imperial royal family. Two familiar faces at Tuesday’s enthronement ceremony included Noriko Senge (former Princess Noriko of Takamado) and Sayako Kuroda (Emperor Naruhito’s younger sister, the former Princess Nori). While Noriko paired her gown with a delicate tiara borrowed from her mother (Princess Hisako usually wears it as a necklace), Sayako wore a calot hat covered in grey silk with what looks like hand folded pleats around the outside edge of the hat.

Ayako Moriya (former Princess Ayako of Takamado) , who is expecting a baby, and her husband Kei were also in attendance, Ayako in a tiara from her mother’s jewellery collection, usually worn as a necklace. Also in tiaras were former Mikasa princesses, Masako Sen and Yasuko Konoe as well as the emperor’s paternal aunt, Takako Shimazu (Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s sister).

While not royal, it feels important to include retired diplomat Hisashi and Owada and his wife Yumiko- Masako’s parents, who, it is understood, have been an unwavering source of support to her over the past two decades. Yumiko wore a silk covered bumper percher hat in the same muted lilac shade as her gown. The hat was placed at a perfect angle and shows how a hat of this shape and scale can look wonderful on any aged wearer.

Last Wednesday, on the day following the enthronement, Imperial family members attended a court banquet. While the empress, as hostess, did not wear a hat, Crown Princess Kiko wore a tan silk covered bumper design. Her daughters opted for more new bandeau headpieces making more vibrant statements, Princess Mako in pale pink trimmed with pink gerbera daisies and Princess Kako in deep scarlet with delicate flowers and leaves.


Princess Nobuko topped her deep raisin purple velvet gown with a silk covered bumper hat in the same hue with split bumper brim embroidered with beads. Princess Akiko repeated a lemon yellow hat with white silk organza wrapped bumper brim, trimmed with a spray of silk flowers at the back. Princess Yoko repeated a salmon pink pillbox hat trimmed in wispy feathers that give it distinct texture.


Princess Hisako wore a boater hat variation in what looks like cream and peach crin. The hat’s shallow peach crown is accentuated with a with cream hatband and its focal point, a gently fluted brim, in transparent overlapping layers of the two shades. The left side of the hat is trimmed with leaf cutouts and applique lace studded with pearls. Princess Tsuguko repeated her blue and green silk jacquard percher hat with layered sash and trailing spray of blossoms on the side- a spray that has received a trim since its first outing.

Former Takamado princesses Noriko Senge and Ayako Moriya were also spotted at the banquet in a pair of bumper hats, Noriko in a veiled white design with ostrich feather trim and Ayako in forest green with a dark spray of feathers on the side.

 

Empress Masko’s parents, Hisashi and Yumiko Owada, attended again, Yumiko in a small, angular pillbox in the same pale avocado shade as her ensemble.

Excellent footage of this court banquet can be seen below. This post concludes our look at hats worn to the Japanese enthronement, dearest readers. Which designs here stand out most to you?

Photos from social media as indicated