Emperor Naruhito Celebrates Birthday

Members of the Imperial royal family greeted visitors from the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo yesterday on the emperor’s 63rd birthday.

Embed from Getty Images

Empress Masako arrived in a vibrant blue velvet pillbox.

Princess Aiko wore a blush silk covered hat with short, upturned Breton brim trimmed with a triple pleated, draped hatband and bow at the back. It’s a piece that at closer view, I suspect, would show exquisite balance and beauty.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Akiko repeated a bumper hat covered in pale citrusy green patterned silk jacquard.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 23, 2015

Princess Kako repeated a draped turquoise silk bandeau headpiece trimmed with a folded side bow appliqued in the same beaded lace as her gown.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 13, 2023; Jan 18, 2022

It’s lovely to see this tradition return for the first time during Emperor Naruhito’s reign.

Images from Getty as indicated 

Imperial New Years Lectures and Poetry Reading

The 2023 New Year’s Lectures and Poetry Readings took place last week at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

January 13: Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime (New Year’s Lectures)

Crown Princess Kiko repeated an ink blue velvet covered wide bandeau trimmed with embroidered lace applique flowers on one side.  Princess Kako repeated a bandeau of the same shape draped in turquoise silk.

Princess Kiko’s bandeau was previously worn: Feb 23, 2022; Feb 23, 2020
Princes Kako’s bandeau was previously worn: Jan 18, 2022

Princess Akiko repeated a palest yellow silk covered saucer with raised brim around the back, trimmed with a draped hatband and bow. Princess Yoko wore a sleek new pillbox covered in vibrant cerise silk.

Princess Akiko’s hat was previously worn: Dec 5, 2021

Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko repeated silk covered hats. Princess Hisako’s bumper, in muted pink printed jacquard, features an indented crown and twist on one side. Princess Tsuguko’s pistachio green pillbox with triple layered sash across the top of the hat embroidered with the same vine pattern as on the collar of her gown. The lily-of-the-valley blooms that originally embellished this hat but were removed for its last outing have magically appeared again!

Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: Feb 23, 2020; Feb 24, 2019;
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Mar 23, 2021; Feb 23, 2020; Oct 25, 2019; May 4, 2019

January 18: Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading)

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a blush silk jacquard printed bandeau with folded cuff across the front. The design is trimmed with organza flowers on one side.

Previously Worn: Nov 16, 2019

Princess Kako wore a new royal blue silk covered percher trimmed with a swirl of crin studded with silk roses. The updated neckline on her gown and new hat transform this ensemble into one much more sophisticated than its original form, a great evolution for a maturing princess. Kako suits the scale and placement of a percher so well.

Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Nobuko topped a plum velvet gown with a matching boater hat with brim raised on one side, anchored by a large silk flower.

Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Akiko repeated a cream silk covered hat with short brim and triple layered hatband.

Princess Hisako repeated a striking teal silk pillbox hat trimmed with intricate embroidery around the side of the design along with feathers and a silk ribbon cockade. It’s worth noting that the matching gown bodice and sleeves have been remade. Princess Tsuguko’s blue silk covered hat with trilby-style raised brim around the back has also been changed since it’s last outing. Gone is the previous hatband of silk leaves, replaced with a more streamlined and angular hatband and a swath of net veil.

Princess Hisako’s hat was previously worn: Jan 14, 2016;
Princess Tsuguko’s hat was previously worn: Mar 26, 2021; 

There are some striking looks here- which ones stand out to you most?

Images from social media as indicated 

This Week’s Extras

Queen Mathilde wore a black lace veil on Wednesday to Pope Benedict’s funeral at the Vatican.
Embed from Getty Images
Princess Kako wore a black silk covered hat yesterday for a memorial on the anniversary of Emperor Showa’s death.

King Carl Gustaf attended a societal security conference today with his trusty brown fedora in tow.
Princess Akiko was in a black hat with vibrant blue hatband today for the Japanese University Rugby Football Championship Final.


The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week (see the comments for more):

Catching-Up with the Imperial Royals

October 9, 2022: Princess Tsuguko in a dark green hat with short saddle brim and side spray of feathers to visit the Sakura City Museum 

October 31, 2022: Princess Hisako toured a glamping site in Takanezawa in an ecru brimmed hat with side spray of burgundy feathers. 

November 2, 2022: Princess Nobuko attended a Red Cross convention in a streamlined ivory hat with upturned kettle brim. Later in November, she was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer and began treatment- we all wish her the very best and a full restoration of health. 

November 4, 2022: Princess Akiko attended a university’ anniversary celebration in an oatmeal hued hat with brim and diagonally striped hatband.

November 8, 2022: Empress Masako repeated a white silk covered brim hat for the anniversary of a national recreation program

November 12, 2022: Crown Princess Kiko arrived in Oita Prefecture in a dark burgundy bowler shaped hat trimmed with a rose made up of the same fabrics as the hat and her tweed suit. 

November 12, 2022: Princess Akiko wore a deep grey flared brim cloche with mulberry hatband for a health and welfare festival in Kanagawa. 

November 13, 2022: Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended the 41st National Sea Enrichment Festival in Hyogo Prefecture. Empress Masako wore a cream brimmed hat with royal blue hatband whimsically trimmed in a wave shape. Brilliant!

November 13, 2022: Crown Princess Kiko attended the 45th National Tree Growing Festival in Oita in an oatmeal fabric covered bowler-style hat with tall, horizontally stitched hatband. 

November 21, 2022: Members of the Takamado family attended a ceremony at Toshimagaoka Cemetery to mark the 20th anniversary of Prince Takamado’s death. Princess Ayako, now Ayako Moriya, attended with her husband and elder son Jo. Former Princesses Yasuko and Masako also were in attendance. 

November 22, 2022: Princess Hisako attended a Red Cross event in a repeated ivory brimmed hat with pale lilac slim hatbands and a net veil wrapped crown. 

November 26, 2022: Empress Masako repeated a deep green hat with black hatband and high, upturned brim edged in braid to mark the centenary anniversary of the Japanese Scout Association. 

December 3, 2022: Princess Tsuguko wore an ivory hat with jaunty stitched brim for to open a youth forum. 

December 5, 2022: Empress Masako repeated a dark burgundy felt brimmed hat with wide diagonal striped hatband for an award ceremony for persons with disabilities.

December 9, 2022: Empress Masako repeated a pale blue silk covered pillbox for a visit to Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emeritus Michiko on her 59th birthday.

December 23, 2022: Empress Masako repeated an ice blue silk jacquard covered hat to visit Emperor Emeritus Akihito on his 89th birthday.

December 29, 2022: Princess Kako wore a vibrant red hat with floral trim to visit the Emperor and Empress and her grandparents, the Emeritus couple, on her birthday. 


Empress Masako’s hat with wave-shaped blue hatband is the standout here for me! Which hats here catch your eye?

Images from Getty as indicated  

Catching Up… The Imperial Royals

For an August 25 home show exhibition opening in Chiba City, Princess Hisako repeated her pale blue brimmed hat with muti-coloured feather trim on the side.

On August 28, Princess Hisako attended a calligraphy exhibition in Tokyo in an ecru hat with upturned brim and bow at the back.

On September 2, Princess Hisako wore a blush straw bucket hat with lattice woven brim to open a nutrition convention.

For the  150th anniversary of Japan’s modern school system on September 5th, Empress Masako wore an ivory short brimmed hat with wide hatband in the same butter-gold as her silk suit.

On September 12, the Emperor and Empress attended the 75th founding anniversary of the Japan War-Bereaved Family Association. For this event, Empress Masako wore a dove grey suit and matching hat with straight-sided crown and short brim trimmed with a pale, pleated hatband.

Embed from Getty Images

On Saturday, September 17, Crown Princess Kiko wore a black bumper hat to see off the Emperor and Empress on their flight to London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Embed from Getty Images

Princess Hisako wore a hat with white brim and purple crown on September 24 for a national sports event.

On September 27, most of the Imperial family attended the state funeral of former Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

On September 29, Princess Akiko wore an ivory hat with short brim and blue hatband for a milestone in the Shinto religion.

Saturday, October 1: Empress Masako wore a white short brimmed hat with indigo hatband for a sports festival opening.

Princess Hisako attended the National Sports Festival from October 3-5 in two chic hats.

On Wednesday, October 5, Princess Yoko wore a white hat with layered mushroom brim to attend events at the national Sports Festival.

On Thursday, October 6, three Imperial women wore hats for various events.  Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako marked the 150th anniversary of Japan’s railway system. Empress Masako wore an ecru hat with upturned brim trimmed with a latte stacked hatband and bow at the back.

Embed from Getty Images

The same day, Princess Hisako topped a lovely blue and white printed dress with a shallow white hat while Princess Akiko attended the National Sports Festival in an ivory brimmed hat with layered hatbands in soft pink.

On Saturday, October 8, three Imperial hats were worn! Princess Hisako attended the National Performing Arts National Convention in a brimless lilac silk covered hat trimmed with sparkling beads studded on one side. The next day, she repeated a green pork pie hat with curved brim. Princess Akiko donned a grey hat with short brim and side bow to attend a wheelchair race while her mother wore a jaunty magenta mini percher pillbox trimmed with an crin ruffle and silk flowers for a conference in Oita.

On October 9 and 10, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Nobuko attended the National Sports Festival. Princess Tsuguko wore a prim ecru boater with wide toffee hatband while Princess Nobuko wore an angular take on a tam hat, in navy, with a bow around the back.

On Tuesday, October 11, Princess Kako attended National Sports Festival. She wore an ivory brimmed hat with fuchsia hatband overlaid in lace with and a spray of fuchsia flowers on one side.


The trim makes this hat! It’s a wonderfully vibrant look for Kako. Interestingly, the hat appears to have been upcycled from her elder sister’s wardrobe. I suppose that answers the question of what happened to Mako’s hats…

On Wednesday, October 12, Princess Hisako attended a tree planting ceremony. She wore a white hat with short brim upfolded on one side and trimmed with orange flowers and a slim orange hatband.

On Thursday, October 13, Princess Akiko repeated an ecru cloche with upfolded brim for a national self-defence awards ceremony. The same day, Empress Masako repeated an ivory brimmed hat with blush hatband and scroll braid trim to the an event in Tokyo.

On October 14, Princess Hisako visited an elementary school in Sopporo in an ecru hat with interesting crown made of overlapping sections in different textured fabrics.

On Saturday, October 15 in Kanai City, Princess Nobuko, opened a garden wearing a dark blue pork pie hat with extended brim trimmed simply with a lighter hued hatband. The same day in Sopporo, Princess Hisako attended a house festival in a black felt hat with upturned brim trimmed with a teal hatband and a teal bow with black beaded embroidery just as on her collar.

On Sunday, October 17, Princess Hisako wore a chocolate homburg hat with twisted chocolate and pumpkin hatband to present a football championship. This hat pairs so well with her suit and pumpkin turtleneck.

Images from Getty and social media as indicated