Japanese Royal Wedding

Royal HatsAmid rain showers of good luck, Princess Noriko of Takamado was married to Kunimaro Senge at the Izumo Taisha grand shrine in Shimane Prefecture yesterday. The smiling bride arrived at the shrine early yesterday morning in a mint green suit and a coordinating hat with flared brim and square crown wrapped in a large silk bow.

Princess Noriko, October 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

For the wedding ceremony, the 26-year old princess wore a traditional silk costume and a hairstyle that I can only imagine is steeped in symbolic tradition as well. (If anyone can provide further explanation, it would be most welcome).

Princess Noriko and Kunimaro Senge, October 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Noriko and Kunimaro Senge, October 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

I believe the only members of the Imperial family in attendance were the bride’s mother, Princess Hisako, and sisters, Princess Tsuguko, and Princess Ayako- all three women wore traditional kimonos, seen below.

Princess Noriko and Kunimaro Senge, October 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

According to Japanese law, Noriko lost her royal title and membership in the Imperial family with her marriage today and officially became “Mrs. Noriko Senge”. The Japan Times reports that the couple will host 300 friends and family at a wedding reception in Matsue on Monday, while Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be among the guests at a dinner party to be held at a Tokyo hotel on Wednesday.

Because this wedding ceremony is so different to those we’re used to seeing in the west, I am curious to hear your thoughts (and gently remind everyone to remain culturally respectful in your comments). I’m sure you all join me in wishing Noriko much happiness in her new life.

Photos from Sankei News; Jiji Press/Stringer via Getty; Kyodo via Japan Times; and Nikkei

Princess Noriko Travels to Izumo for Wedding

Those of you following the Imperial Royal Family likely saw the bittersweet rituals performed by Princess Noriko of Takamado last week as she bids farewell to her royal life. Yesterday, Princess Noriko and her mother Princess Hisako left Tokyo and flew to Izumo where her wedding to Kunihiro Senge will take place tomorrow. For this trip (and what is likely Princess Noriko’s final appearance as a princess), Noriko topped her ruffled suit with a pale pink bumper hat trimmed with a spray of silk rosettes on the side.  Princess Hisako wore a similar style hat in ice blue. While the hats and suits are not what one might consider cutting-edge style, I think the sentiments of this final appearance trump style today. They make a very sweet  mother-daughter pair, don’t they?

Princess Hisako and Princess Noriko, October 3, 2014 | Royal Hats

In a thoughtful gesture of farewell, the Emperor and Empress sent the car usually reserved for them to take Princess Noriko to the airport.

Princess Noriko, October 3, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako and Princess Noriko, October 3, 2014 | Royal Hats

Pop by tomorrow afternoon for coverage of Princess Noriko’s wedding!

Photos from The Imperial Family of Japan

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

Embed from Getty Images

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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Embed from Getty Images

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