Imperial Royals Marks Shrine’s Centenary

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended a ceremony at Meiji shrine in Tokyo today to mark 100 years since it was founded. The shrine,  founded on November 1, 1920, is dedicated to the Emperor Meij, who died in 1912, and his wife Empress Shoken. For this event, Empress Masako was white, head to toe, with a new hat.

Covered in the same textured pique as her ensemble, the hat follows a familiar bowler-ish shape for Masako with straight-sided, slightly domed crown and short, primly upturned brim. What’s unique here is the embellishment – oversize, overlapping petals around the hat, in place of a hatband. We’ve not seen this on any of Masako’s other hats and it lends a distinctive look that seems to reference the scalloped hem of her jacket. It’s an interesting one.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

What do you think of Empress Masako’s new hat today?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

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