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: 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 

Imperial Enthronement: Foreign Royal Guests

Tuesday’s enthronement ceremony was attended by a number of royal events adorned in either national costume or traditional century court dress, giving the wonderfully formal gown-and-hat combination we don’t often see.

Queen Máxima donned a familiar slate blue gown in transparent silk brocade printed with large roses  but paired it with a different hat than we’ve seen with it before- her grey silk floral and dotted net tulle statement headpiece. The scale and bold design of the headpiece pairs wonderfully with the gown, elevating the sense of drama and gravitas of the overall ensemble.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Gown by Natan.
Previously Worn: Nov 4, 2014November 19, 2005

Queen Mathilde was wonderfully elegant in a an exquisite gown, cape and pillbox trio in pale pink silk crepe. The clean, sleek lines of each piece make them balance perfectly together and create a serene and quietly regal look. It’s a fashion philosophy we often see used with the Imperial royal ladies- perhaps the inspiration or influence for this ensemble?

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Designer: unknown. Gown by Armani Prive. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new. It is not the same as the felt calot worn February 6, 2014 as some blogs are reporting. 

Queen Letizia paired her bright, floral gown with a divided bandeau headpiece in pale, dusky pink silk. The scale is great on her and the solid colour is a great choice against her patterned dress, although I thought the bandeau’s construction, with many visible stitches, wasn’t quite up to snuff.

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Designer: Nana Golmar. It is a bespoke silk version of the velvet “Iria Headband“. Gown by Matilde Cano.
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

Crown Princess Mary’s muted lilac-grey caped dress was brightened with mulberry purple straw hat. The modified saucer  is worn at a steep incline and trimmed with two huge silk flowers on the underside of the raised brim, the one at the front in mixed shades of purple. Supremely elegant on its own, I think this gown is again, elevated with the statement hat – not to mention those rubies!

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Gown by Valentino
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Victoria wore a straw saucer hat in the same deep inky purple shade as her gown. The piece, also designed to sit at a sharply tilted angle on the head, is lavishly trimmed with silk roses and straw twists beneath the raised brim, a touch that gives such textural contrast to the opposite, very smooth upper side of the saucer.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Gown by Escada.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Seated next to Crown Princess Victoria was a face new to Royal Hats, Swazi King Mswati III’s newest wife, Inkhosikati LaMashwama. She topped her white suit with a vibrant blue straw hat with disc base trimmed with rolled straw rosettes and large bow loops, blue tulle, purple cut feathers and pearls, scattered over the base.

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I know some readers have been waiting days to discuss the hats in this post (my apologies for the delay) so I turn it over to you- what millinery looks here were your favourites?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

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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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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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 

Imperial Enthronement: Morning Court Rituals

On Tuesday, the Enthronement of Emperor Naruhito took place with a series of ceremonies at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Empress Masako was spotted arriving at the palace early in the morning in a sleek,  unembellished bumper hat covered in a warm shade of ivory silk.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: uncertain. I think it may be same hat was worn May 7, 2019; Mar 20, 2019; Jan 7, 2019; Dec 27, 2018

The day began with the ‘Sokuirei-Tojitsu-Kashikodokoro-Omae-no-Gi’ ceremony held at the Kashikodokoro Shrine within the Imperial Sanctuaries where Emperor Naruhito ceremonially announced the enthronement ceremony, which would shortly follow. For this event, the emperor wore traditional sokutai robes in white linen specifically cultivated for this event and a tall, black kanmuri hat.


Empress Masako wore a white and peach jūnihitoe, a formal ancient kimono, with multiple (at least 12) complex layers. The traditional costume includes a specific and rather distinctive hairstyle and triple pronged silver headpiece, worn just over the forehead.

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This ceremony was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, select government officials and members of the Imperial royal family. The imperial princesses followed a traditional court dress code of gowns with ivory hats.

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Princess Kiko, Princess Mako, and Princess Kako all chose bumper designs with slightly different brim shapes and trimming.

While Princess Yoko was also in a cream silk bumper hat, her sister, Princess Akiko made a slightly different statement in a pillbox with textured vertical pinstripes, trimmed with a slim band around the middle of the hat that tried in a bow at the back.

The most interesting hats were, again, worn by the Takamado princesses. Princess Hisako’s bumper variation featured less structured sides that draped into some lovely movement. Princess Tsuguko was the only one to wear a brimmed design, trimmed with a slim bow at the front.

While I understand that a string of ivory hats might not seem exciting to western fashion sensibilities, I think there’s something serenely compelling and regal about it.

Photos from Getty as indicated and Sankei News

Takamado Princess On Canadian Tour

Princess Hisako has been in Canada this week on an informal tour to celebrate 90 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. The visit kicked off last Saturday in Mississauga with a summery hat in finely woven straw with a moderate brim, trimmed with orange and peach feathers and net veil circling  the base of the crown.

On Sunday in Toronto, she princess met Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in a sunny yellow straw hat with upturned brim bound in a wide white stripe, trimmed with a yellow silk bow.
On Monday, she continued on to Ottawa where she visited the Supreme Court of Canada in a white hat with wide kettle brim, trimmed with a lime silk hatband and floral spray.
Tuesday’s programme included a meeting with Governor General Julie Payette and a return to the Canadian Museum of History, where in 1985, she and the late Prince openned a Japanese Zen Garden. For these engagements, Princess Hisako wore an elegant cream lace suit with matching short-brimmed hat. The hat’s crown and front bow are covered in the same lace which lends some textural dimension to the design.


On Wednesday, Princess Hisako traveled to Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, on the Atlantic east coast. There, in the town of Cavendish, she opened Montgomery Park, a commemorative park to Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote well known book, Anne of Green Gables. For this opening, the princess donned a boater hat covered in cream silk with a swirling pleated brim, trimmed with white maple leaves, cornflower blue organza tufts and net veil. The hat has a decidedly Edwardian feel which gives a lovely nod to this famous book (published in 1908 and set around the same time) and makes it one of the most romantic Imperial royal hats in recent memory! Listen to a snipet of Princess Hisako’s dedication speech below- it’s charming and she has a lovely voice!



On Thursday, she visited Green Gables and in a touching gesture, she topped her black floral suit in a vibrant green hat in nearly the same shade as the famous location. The design features a wide rolled brim and black hatband, piped in the same floral pattern as her suit- a new addition since we last saw it.


After a stop in Alberta, she landed in Vancouver where yesterday, she attended Nikkei Matsuri, a large Japanese cultural festival. In another thoughtful diplomatic touch, she wore a white straw saucer hat with folded crin brim trimmed with sprays of red and white silk maple leaves on both sides (above the brim on the left, below the brim on the right). I know some consider such statements cheesy but my Canadian heart is warmed by the gesture.


And finally, today in Victoria, Princess Hisako visited government house in what believe is the same white kettle brimmed hat she wore on Monday, swapping out the lime hatband and flowers for a leaf green bow on the side. I suspect this isn’t the first quick change of trim this hat has experienced to make it coordinate with other ensembles- it looks awfully close to this hat she wore last July.

Princess Hisako routinely wears some of my favourite pieces of Imperial royal millinery and this tour has had some wonderful hats. What do you think about the hats she has worn in Canada this week?

Photos from social media as indicated. Special thanks to @ImperialJPNfan on Twitter for curating and sharing all of this information on the tour. 

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