Concert for Emperor’s 80th Birthday

Empress Michiko hosted a Folk Music Concert at the Concert Hall inside the Imperial Palace yesterday to celebrate Emperor Akihito’s 80th birthday. This concert was attended by the Emperor’s immediate family and the Takamado Princesses. Crown Princess Masako wore an ivory Breton style hat with characteristic upturned brim nearly as high as the crown of the hat. This silk hat appeared to be without embellishment.

Crown Princess Masako, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats

The three young Takamado Princesses, seated behind the Emperor and Empress, wore predictably demure hats. Princess Ayako wore a pale blue bumper hat with silk rose trim on the side and Princess Noriko wore a large white silk hard-shelled beret, also with silk rose side trim. Princess Tsuguko’s hat was a little less predictable in bronze straw with a wide cream and band around the crown.

Crown Princess Masako and Takamado Princesses, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado (second row, middle below) wore a pale blue hat with square crown. The crown appeared to be made of the same pale blue printed fabric as Hisako’s suit jacket. On Hisako’s right was Princess Mako in a white hat with square crown, rolled brim and wide sash around the crown. Mako’s mother, Prinkess Kiko (front row, right) wore a turquoise blue hat with brim tightly rolled up against the crown of the hat. Her hat was a much needed pop of colour amid the Imperial sea of neutral hats.


Imperial Royal Family, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats

My favourite hat in this bunch was the bronze straw hat worn by Princess Tsuguko. Which one here strikes your fancy?

Photos from Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, and Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Japanese Royal Engagement

The Imperial Household Agency announced the engagement of Princess Noriko of Takamado to Mr. Kunimaro Senge today. Mr. Senge is the eldest son of the chief priest of Izumo-taisha grand shrine in Shimane Prefecture; the wedding will be held in Izumo Taisha in October. The happy couple attended a press conference today where Princess Noriko looked radiant in a bubblegum pink satin bowler hat. 

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Princess Noriko, May 27, 2014 | Royal Hats

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Princess Noriko, May 27, 2014 | Royal Hats

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Photos from Getty as indicated and The Imperial Family of Japan

Imperial Family Attends Spring Garden Party

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko hosted a Spring Imperial Garden Party at Akasaka Gyoen Imperial Garden yesterday. The Empress, shown leading the Imperial Family to the party below, wore a pale blue saucer hat trimmed with a large bow. When it comes to Michiko’s saucer hats, I think bigger is better and any departure away from her preferred grey ensembles is a winner for me. 

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Princess Kiko and Princess Mako of Akishino (The Emperor and Empress’ daughter-in-law and granddaughter) wore a pair of traditionally shaped hats. Princess Kiko’s hat in fresh green included several coordinating bands around the crown while Princess Mako’s white bowler was trimmed with a band of yellow ribbon studded with yellow flowers.

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Three of the Takamado Princesses, seen at the top left in the photo below, were also in attendance. Princess Hisako wore a jaunty beige-cream bowler with squared crown and large spray of flowers and feathers on the side. I thought this hat came to life with this embellishment and while the colour was a little bland, made it a fun hat. Princess Hisako’s eldest daughter, Princesses Tsuguko, wore a navy pillbox with pork pie indented crown. The photo above shows a rather twee bow on the back of this hat- an embellishment I think this hat would be better without. Tsuguko’s younger sister, Princess Noriko, wore a pale butter yellow hat with what looks to be a mass of ribbon blooms at the back (see the photo above for a better look). While the shape and colour of this hat were rather nondescript, the ribbon flowers made it come to life and Noriko gave it some additional personality by wearing it at a a slight angle.

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Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko (nieces of Emperor Akihito), rounded up this Imperial group. Princess Yoko, seen in blue in the center of the photo above, wore a white hat trimmed with blue puffs (carnations? pompoms?) to match her suit. Princess Akiko, seen below at the right, wore a dove grey pillbox.

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The hats yesterday were all rather predictable but together, made up a lovely bouquet of millinery in classic spring colours. Are there any hats that stood out to you as your favourite?

Imperial Royal Family, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats

Photos from Getty as shown and Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading 2014

The annual ceremony of New Year’s Poetry Reading (Utakai Hajime) was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Japanese royal ladies attended this event in court dress, just as they did the annual New Years lectures last week.

Imperial Family, January 15, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Empress Michiko, at far left, did not wear a hat. To her right is: Princess Kiko in a grey embroidered calot; Princess Hanako in a marvelous green pillbox wrapped in green fur (or maribou?) studded with wispy grey feathers; Princess Akiko in a pale pink calot; Princess Hisako in a royal blue bumper hat; and Princess Noriko in an embellished terra-cotta orange brimless pork pie hat. It is marvelous to see the ladies in some colour and hats with a bit of personality, isn’t it?!

Photo from The Imperial Family of Japan

Imperial Family Host Lectures

The annual Ceremony of New Year’s Lectures was held today at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (members of the Imperial family attended expert lectures in the fields of human, social and natural sciences). While Empress Michiko did not wear a hat, Princess Kiko wore a beautiful navy pillbox. I can not find record of Kiko wearing this hat previously so can only guess that it is new.

Princess Kiko, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats BlogCloseup photos of the other royal ladies do not appear to have been released. Princess Hanako was in forest green velvet with a coordinating hat that looks to be trimmed with a large green feather. I believe it is Princess Hisako in the vibrant turquoise hat and suit. The other hats appear to be de rigueur unadorned pillboxes in soft pastel colours.

Imperial Royal Family, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

The Imperial ladies were all in court dress (long gowns and hats) for this event. I suspect this is traditional dress- does anyone know exactly why?

Photos from The Imperial Family of Japan

Catching Up with the Japanese Empress

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan hosted an autumn garden party at the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo yesterday. Empress Michiko wore a new petite white saucer hat trimmed with origami ribbon blossoms and hand painted flower stems.

Empress Michiko, Oct. 31, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako of Hitachi, Princess Yoko of Mikasa and Princesses Tsuguko and Noriko of Takamado also were in attendance (from left to right below).

Empress Michiko, Oct. 31, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Empress Michiko, Oct. 31, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

On Monday (October 28), The Emperor and Empress visited Kumamoto prefecture. Our cries for Empress Michiko to wear more colour must have been heard because she wore cerulean blue!  Her hat, another one of her petite saucers, was adorned only with a very simple bow but I’m not complaining because the colour was just lovely on the Empress. Happy claps!

Empress Michiko, Oct. 28, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Photos from FNN News, Imperial Family of Japan, and Kyodo via The Japan Times