Imperial Royal Family Celebrates the Emperor’s Birthday

Emperor Akihito celebrated his 81st birthday yesterday and was joined on the balcony of the Imperial Palace by his immediate family. Dressed in pale green and blush pink pillboxes, Princess Kiko and Princess Mako’s  hats were made as the same fabric as their gowns. While it creates an extremely polished ensemble, it seems a little too much of a good thing. Empress Michiko did not wear a hat for this event but looked lovely in a pale pink silk dress.

Imperial Family, December 23, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe both hats are new

Crown Princess Masako wore a hat that is new to us here on the blog but one she has worn to this same event four times previously. This hat, a navy blue velvet bumper hat, is trimmed on the side with the same black beaded embroidery as is on the collar and cuffs of her jacket. I thought the deep colour and luxurious velvet worked better for an all-over matching look. Even so, I am longing for the day when one of the Imperial royal ladies tops one of their demure suits with a brightly coloured, contrasting hat.

Crown Princess Masako, December 23, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown. 
Previously Worn: December 23, 2012December 23, 2011December 23, 2008December 23, 2007

Photos from Sankei

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11 thoughts on “Imperial Royal Family Celebrates the Emperor’s Birthday

  1. Happy belated birthday to Akihito, Silvia of Sweden, and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia! It’s also nice for me to share their birthday. 😉 I love seeing Masako out and about so much more, and I think her hat and outfit, while certainly demure and traditional, were simply marvelous because it was in a rich, deep color, and not a white, cream, or pastel like we often see.

  2. Happy 81st birthday Emperor Akihito! The Japanese Imperial family all looked elegant and traditional here. Crown Princess Masako’s navy velvet bumper hat wins first prize as best bumper hat seen on this blog this year in my opinion. It is also one of my favorite hats, and outfits, worn this year by the Japanese Imperial family.

    Princess Kiko’s pale green outfit and pillbox were lovely in color, and elegant, but I wish there was some trim on the hat that made it more of a statement hat, and not just another of the deluge of simple pillboxes we have seen this year. I loved the neckline and her fabulous pearls.

    Princess Mako’s blush pink outfit and pillbox were pretty and feminine, but predictable, and rather low-key for a balcony appearance.

    Empress Michiko’s pale pink silk dress was pretty, and she always looks good in pink, and I do wish she had worn a hat for this event as she looked unfinished given the other ladies wore hats.

  3. It does seem peculiar that the one of them who has the most outré fashion sense is the Empress. Her greys and origami percher hats are the most modern of all. But they’re not going to change now, the court is a traditional one – and whilst I’d love to see them bust out something hat looks like it comes from within at least the past 20 years, I doubt that days going to come any time soon!!

    • JamesB, you are probably right, but I have my fingers crossed that perhaps Crown Princess Masako will take some hat tips from her friend Queen Maxima and try some more adventurous hats in 2015!

  4. The Japanese imperial family is nothing if not traditional – demure dress, small hats and I see each of the younger women is carrying white gloves and a folded fan held in a specific manner. The Empress appears to have only gloves. I think your longing must go unrequited HQ while tradition rules the roost! There is a certain way of doing things and that is that. It’s how Japanese society has run for centuries and it gives their society a cohesive structure that many Westerners (myself included) know very little, if anything, about and which can appear unfathomable.

    • I don’t mind the matching outfits to be honest – this is quite a difficult dresscode to get right. You can’t see because of the balcony, but the ladies are actually in floor-length day dresses. This is ‘Robe Montante’ [actually used as a loanword transliterated into Japanese], and includes a high-necked jacket or dress and gloves, and generally a hat and a fan, as first laid out in the Meiji Era. I believe the Empress isn’t wearing a hat because she’s in her own ‘home’, so to speak. This is the highest form of western daywear and is also worn for visits to shrines. This dresscode is also still used in the Netherlands and in an indoor, hat-less style in Spain and Denmark, I believe.

      • Thank you for providing this very helpful background! That would explain why Princess Masako has worn this particular hat (and coordinating outfit) at this event several times.

      • @HatQueen – You’re very welcome! The ladies are going to have to dig out this kind of outfit again three times over the next couple of weeks, so, as you say, unsurprising that we get repeats. It’s worn without hats for the New Year balcony scene, and with hats [minus the Empress ‘in her own home’] for the New Year’s Poetry Readings and the Imperial New Year Lectures, although we tend to get very few photos from the latter two. Plus tiaras for the NY Reception and [presumably] for Princess Kako when she comes of age. December and early January are always good for royal-watching 🙂

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