Imperial Royals Mark Passing of Princes

June 6 marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa. As per tradition, a ‘grave festival’ was held at Toshima Oka cemetery in Tokyo. The Imperial family was led at this event by the late Prince Tomohito and Princess Nobuko’s daughters Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko; their grandmother, Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince and Princess Akishino were also in attendance with the women in veiled black bumper hats and the men in morning dress, carrying silk top hats.

Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Princess Yurko of Mikasa, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Prince Naruhito, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

The event was also attended by former princesses Mrs. Sayako Kuroda (Prince Naruhito’s sister, the former Princess Nori) and Mrs. Noriko Senge (former Princess Noriko of Takamado) who repeated the dress code of pale grey dresses topped with black veiled bumper hats.

Mrs. Sayako Kuroda and Mrs. Noriko Senge, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Today, a similar event was held at the same cemetery and shrine, this time to mark the third anniversary of the passing of Yoshihito, Prince Katsura. Similar black, veiled bumper hats were worn again for this event by Princess Yoriko of Mikasa (Prince Katura’s mother), Princess Kiko and Mrs. Sayako Kuroda. Again, Crown Prince Naruhito attended in morning dress, carrying a black silk top hat.

 Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats Crown Prince Naruhito, June 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

 Princess Kiko, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats Princess Kiko, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats

Mrs. Sayako Kuroda, June 8, 2017 | Royal Hats

The attendance of Sayako Kurado and Noriko Senge at these events feels noteworthy. Since the 1947 Imperial Household Law, Japanese princesses have lost their royal status upon marriage – until recently, former princesses did not attend royal events and appeared to be completely cut off from their royal relations. While these were family events (and as such, follow different rules than official Imperial ones), Princess Mako’s upcoming engagement announcement has started chatter about revising this law to allow Imperial princesses to retain some of their status (especially with a single male in the current young generation). I can’t help but hope that the appearance of Sayako and Noriko this week is a sign that, at the very least, the inpterpretation of this law is starting to change.

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

The Imperial royals have been busy over the past week, leaving us several hats to catch up. On April 20, Princess Akiko repeated her white cloche with upturned brim on a visit to the Mie Prefecture Museum. This design is a larger scale than many of Akiko’s other hats and works well on her.

Princess Akiko, April 20, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: July 22, 2015
Last Tuesday, April 26, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko commemorated the 100th anniversary of RIKEN, Japan’s largest research institute. The Empress repeated a pale blue saucer hat with raised rim around the back and a large, stacked, circular origami bow.
Empress Michiko, April 26, 2017 | Royal Hats
Empress Michiko, April 26, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: October 29, 2016October 11, 2014May 16, 2012
On Wednesday, April 27, Prince Masahito and Princess Hanako of Hitachi attended the 35th Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize award ceremony in Tokyo. Princess Hanako repeated her sage green silk covered hat with cloche shaped crown  and mushroom brim with lace overlay.
Princess Hanako, April 27, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: November 13, 2015August 5, 2015; June 26, 2015; May 19, 2015
And finally, On Thursday, April 28, the Emperor and Empress presented the 11th Midori Academic Prize in Tokyo. Empress Michiko repeated her white saucer hat we first saw her wear during the Imperial couple’s tour of Vietnam in March this year. Like much of the Empress’ millinery, this hat is all about subtlety- a gently raised rim, transparent lattice underbrim, flat bow in ombre grey silk and monochrome silk anemone blossoms and leaves. On its own, the piece falls a little flat tonally but combined with Michiko’s ombre silk suit, it really works.
  Empress Michiko, April 28, 2017 | Royal Hats
Empress Michiko, April 28, 2017 | Royal Hats Empress Michiko, April 28, 2017 | Royal Hats
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: March 3, 2017
Thoughts about this quartet of Imperial royal hats?
Photos from Line News, AsahiSankei; and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty

Wrapping Up Imperial Royal Tour

In the midst of a busy schedule of royal events over the past two weeks, I completely forgot to wrap up the Imperial visit to Thailand. My apologies!

On Sunday, March 5, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in Thailand (see their departure from Vietnam earlier that day at this post). The Empress disembarked the flight in a new grey saucer hat with flat bow across the front, trimmed with a dotted black net tulle veil. The addition of the net veil is a trimming departure for the empress, one that gives a bit of textural contrast to the hat.

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 5, 2017 | Royal Hats

After a quick 24-hour visit, the Imperial couple departed on Monday, March 6 to return home. For their departure, Empress Michiko wore her ninth new hat of the tour. The pale grey rimmed saucer hat is trimmed with a double looped half bow in the same darker grey silk as her dress. This design is not a departure from anything else we’ve seen on the Empress, although the balance between the saucer brim and the side bow is particularly pretty in this piece.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

The royal couple arrived home on the evening of Monday, March 6. The Empress disembarked the Japan airways jet in a repeated saucer hat in the same tiny black and white check as her coat, trimmed with a large curved bow.

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats  Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:March 18, 2016January 19, 2015

Most of the extended Imperial royal family greeted the Emperor and Empress at the airport. Crown Princess Masako wore a new black (or navy?) hat with upfolded velvet brim, edged in braid trim. Some of you may recall that she wore a green version of this same for the Emperor and Empress’ departure.

 Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Masako, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko,  Princess Kako both wore variations on bowler hats while Princess Mako repeated a navy cloche with upturned, short trim trimmed with a bow on the side. 

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Hanako repeated a white cloche variation with short mushroom brim and wide grey ruched hatband. Princess Nobuko looked to be wearing a large navy saucer hat (worn at a wonderfully jaunty angle) while her daughters Princess Akiko wore a grey trilby with navy hatband and Princess Yoko sported a white design with short brim and tall crown. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado looked to be wearing her navy indented pillbox with back bow and Princess Ayako topped her camel coat with a matching hat that appears to be trimmed in a Lady Amherst pheasant feather.

Imperial Royal Family, Mar 6, 2017 | Royal Hats

Several of you have commented about the tradition for extended Imperial family members to greet the Emperor and Empress at their departure and arrivals home- it is a lovely tradition and one that allows us to see lots of hats! Which designs here stand out most to you?

The Imperial Household Agency announced last week that the gruelling pace of this tour caused sickness for the Empress, who has now suspended engagements in order to recover. We wish her the very best in her return to health.

Imperial Royals Set Off For Vietnam

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko departed Japan yesterday en route to Vietnam where they will take part in a six-day visit. The royal couple were seen off at the airport for this historic visit (Akihito is the first emperor to visit Vietnam) by members of their extended family. Empress Michiko looked very smart in her repeated black saucer hat trimmed in origami folded bow, backed in the same black and white hound’s tooth check as her skirt.

Empress Michiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 16, 2015

Crown Princess Masako topped her emerald coat with a matching hat in velvet felt. The flat crown and upturned brim shape of this hat is one we’ve seen on Masako before but in a saturated colour and with the addition of braid around the brim edge, the familiar shape is transformed into something special.

  

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Kiko wore a cloche variation in camel felt with diagonally upturned brim. The brim shape is an unexpectedly pert departure for Kiko that works well for her.

Princess Kiko and Princess Masako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: this hat is new

Princess Mako and Princess Kako both sported bowler variations with rolled brims and squared crowns in chocolate brown felt. This side-by-side view of these two very similar pieces shows the significant difference that subtle changes in crown height or tightness of brim roll can make to the overall look of a hat.

Designer: unknown
Princess Mako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016 and Nov 29, 2013
Princess Kako’s hat was worn Jan 30, 2016. I believe it was also worn by her mother, Princess Kiko on Nov 29, 2013 

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako both sported navy and white hats (far left, below). Princess Nobuko’s winter white felt ddesign (a fedora variation maybe?) featured an upturned brim and navy hatband while Princess Hanako’s hat contrasted a cream brim against a navy crown. Both hats are sharp, stylish pieces that I wish we could see up close.

Princess Nobuko and Princess Hanako, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

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

Princess Akiko repeated her winter white cloche hat with an upturned cuff brim while her sister, Princess Yoko topped her yellow coat with a matching bowler variation with yellow squared crown and rolled ivory brim. Princess Tsuguko of Takamado wore what looks like an ecru bumper hat with large bow trim at the side.

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Princess Tsuguko, Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, Feb 28, 2017 | Royal Hats

Designer: all are unknown 
Previously Worn: Princess Akiko’s hat was worn Jan 26, 2016. I believe Princess Yoko and Princes Tsuguko’s hats are new. 

When the royal couple touched down in Hanoi, Empress Michiko embarked in a mushroom grey hued suit with coordinating hat. One of her larger saucer shapes, the hat is simply trimmed with a curling ribbon in the same two shades of grey as her silk suit. It’s a simple hat but one that works really well with this ensemble.

   

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
There are some nice surprises in this group of hats- which designs stand out to you?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Shizou Kambayashi via Associated Press; Kazuhiro Nogi via Getty; REUTERS/Issei Kato

Catching Up With The Imperial Royals

Back on October 12th, , Princess Akiko of Mikasa attended the 14th Commendation Ceremony of People’s Self Defence Officers in Tokyo. For this event, she wore an interesting navy wool top hat with rolled brim and bright turquoise hat band. The shape is a surprise on an Imperial head and while I applaud ANY millinery experimentation in this family, I’m not sure it’s the best shape for Akiko. The bright hat band, however, is a win.

Princess Akiko, Oct 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

On October 14, Princess Hisako of Takamado visited an elementary school while on a trip to Kobe City where she witnessed a disaster preparation drill. She wore a simple black bumper style hat that coordinated well with her black and white suit.

Princess Hisako, Oct 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

And finally, Princess Nobuko of Mikasa was in Kagawa Prefecture over the weekend. On Saturday, she visited the National Leprosy Sanatorium in Takamatsu City in this pale staw pork pie crowned hat with rolled brim, wide grey hat band and pheasant feather trim. It’s a great informal hat that feels stylish on the princess. And how great is it to see some pheasant feathers on an Imperial royal hat? Next time, double the size, please.

Princess Nobuko, Oct 22, 2016 | Royal Hats

What do you think of this trio of Imperial hats?

Photos from SankeiKobe Shimbun; and Yomiuri

Imperial Royals At Spring Garden Party

Members of the Imperial Royal Family attended an annual spring garden party hosted by the Emperor and Empress yesterday at the Akasaka Imperial Garden.

Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko led her family in an elegant white wool suit topped with her large white saucer hat with pink petal trim. Within the realm of the empress’ style, it was a lovely hat for this event.

 Empress Michiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 24, 2014December 2, 2013

Crown Princess Masako was also in white, pairing her suit with a squared bowler hat with short, upturned brim. If you look closely, you will see that the band around the crown of this piece is anchored by very slim braided trim which brings some much needed texture to it.

Crown Princess Masako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: November 5, 2014

From a distance, Princess Kiko’s pale green hat looked to be a silk covered pillbox but closeup, it revealed itself to be a bumper hat with flat, upfolded cuff brim. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a square-crowned pink hat with short rolled brim.The shape of this piece looks like a cross between a bowler hat and a top hat… a hybrid that I’m not keen on.

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats   Princess Mako and Princess Kiko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previously Worn: Princess Mako’s hat is new. Princess Kiko’s hat was worn April 26, 2007
Princess Hanako of Hitachi, seen below on the left repeated her smart ecru hat with square crown and linear, upturned brim.
Imperial Royal Family, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Nobuko of Mikasa topped her pale aqua suit with a whimsical hat wrapped in a swath of coordinating tulle that leaves one thinking of cotton candy. Princess Princess Akiko’s rounded crown white hat featured what looks like a moulded sash and brim combination in the same pale celery as her suit. Princess Yoko wore a pink hat in the same square crowned shape as the one worn by Princess Mako. A wide ruched silk sash wrapped around the crown, ending in a flat bow on the side.
Princess Akiko and Princess Nobuko, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats       MIkasa Princesses, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Hisako of Takamado wore an suit and matching hat, both from the same ecru patterned silk. The hat featured a low, flat crown and short, U-shaped curled brim- a shape which, unfortunately, looks like a squashed top hat.
Princess Hisako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
The most dramatic millinery shapes of the day were worn by the younger Takamado Princesses. Princess Tsuguko topped her navy and black printed dress and jacket with a wide brimmed black picture hat trimmed in what looks to be a wide bleu sash (or long navy feathers?) wrapped around the flat sided crown. Princess Ayako topped her pale lilac ensemble with a matching saucer hat, placed at the most rakish angle we’ve seen among the Imperial royals in a long time. Both ensembles showed more personality than we’ve seen in a long time on Imperial Royals, something that fills me with glee!
 Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats  Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, April 27, 2016 | Royal Hats
It is always fun to see such large scale royal hatted events such as this one, even if the hats are not exciting. The last two certainly piqued my curiosity (oh how I wish we could see them better) which is not something I often can say about Imperial millinery. What do you think of this parade of Japanese royal hats? Are any of them worthy for your nomination of favourite hat worn this month?
Photos from Getty as indicated; The Asahi ShimbunThe Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and Sankei

Imperial Couple Visit Philippines

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko departed Tokyo this morning for the Philippines where they embarked on a four day visit. The Empress looked very smart in a dark slate blue rimmed saucer hat trimmed in a large crepe silk folded bow.

Empress Michiko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

The couple were bid farewell by members of the Imperial Family. Crown Princess Masako wore a vibrant blue wool coat with matching hat which features a flat crown and upturned brim. The piece is trimmed with a wide ribbon around the crown that coordinates with the black accents on her coat. She stood out in a sea of neutral toned Imperial royal ensembles and I love her for it.

Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Kiko repeated a simple navy hat with short, upturned brim and a rounded, straight sided hat. The hat is trimmed with a thick navy band around the base of the crown, giving a slight stepped detail to the piece.

Princess Kiko and Princess Masako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Masako and Princess Kiko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Mako wore a navy felt cloche hat embellished with a double grosgrain ribbon bow at the side. A band, edged in folded ribbon on both sides, encircled the base of the crown’s hat, giving it some contrast and dimension.
Princess Mako, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Tsuguko of Takamado wore a fedora in winter white wool trimmed with a spiky spider mum flower at the back.  It’s a wonderfully chic hat that worked so well with her black and white suit and black cape.
Princess Tsuguko, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats
Princess Yoko of Mikasa wore a cream hat with flat crown, vertical sides and a short, rolled brim. Her sister, Princess Akiko, topped her winter white coat with a matching cloche hat with an upturned cuff brim. Their mother, Princess Nobuko, wore a streamlined grey toque hat that provided interesting style and texture contrast with her fur coat.

Imperial Royal Family, January 26, 2016 | Royal Hats

Arriving in the Philippines, the Empress removed her coat and scarf to reveal a tailored jacket in large plaid to match her hat and skirt. At closer look, the hat also features a layer of the plaid fabric incorporated in the bow, tying the ensemble together. It’s a very predictable hat for the Empress, both in shape and in colour, but one she wears well.

I suspect we’ll see several more new hats from Empress Michiko before the week is done- stay tuned!