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.


Takamado Princesses Visit Hiroshima

Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako of Takamado were in Hiroshima last week to attend the National Junior Highschool Archery Championships. Last Wednesday they paid a visit to the Peace Memorial Park, both dressed in memorial white ensembles. Princess Ayako wore a simple white hat with short, upfolded brim while her mother, Princess Hisako, wore a larger scale design with flat brim and domed crown in the style of a Pork Pie hat. This is an unusual millinery shape for Hisako that I thought the sleek design was great on her.

Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako, August 10, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako, August 10, 2016 | Royal Hats

What do you think of Hisako’s interesting hat?

Photos from Sankei

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 Royals Attend New Years Poetry Reading

Members of Imperial Family joined the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday for the Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime, the annual New Year’s Poetry Reading.

Imperial Royal Family, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

As she hosted the event in her home, Empress Michiko did not wear a hat. Princess Kiko repeated a pale yellow silk covered bumper hat that looks to be trimmed in the same braided detail adorning the bodice seams of her gown. While impeccable, the demure ensemble is a little boring. Princess Mako was slightly more adventurous in a new pale blue calot hat with curved brim that rolled back closely around the hat’s crown. The hat is covered in the same silk as her floral gown and trimmed with two silk blooms at the side. It’s not an exciting hat but the shape looks great on Mako and works particularly well with her fringe.

Princess Kiko, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Mako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Kiko, Princess Mako and Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: December 23, 2011

Princess Hanako of Hitachi stood out in a new vibrant blue gown in a coordinating hat. The hat’s domed crown was covered in plain silk while its small brim was wrapped in the same leopard printed blue silk as Hanako’s gown. It looks like the hat was completed with feather trim at the back. While the ensemble has a slight 1980s air about it, the bold colour and slightly racy pattern is such a departure from most things we see on the Imperial royals that I’m inclined to love it anyway.

Princess Hanako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Princess Nobuko topped her pale grey gown with a calot hat trimmed in a huge blossom on the side while her daughter, Princess Akiko, chose a simple calot in the same bubblegum pink as her silk gown. Princess Hisako of Hitachi wowed in a teal suit with lavishly embroidered sleeves and skirt. Her new pillbox hat looked to contain similar embroidery around the perimeter, making for a rather spectacular ensemble. Her daughter, Princess Ayako, topped her pale yellow silk jacquard suit with a matching new calot hat. While I’m all for a calot, the bows on either side of this piece lend a Princess Leia vibe (a vibe that is particularly ironic for a hat worn by a young Imperial princess!)

Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko, Princess Hisako and Princess Ayako, January 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: August 5, 2015
Previous wearings of Princess Akiko’s hat: January 9, 2015

I always enjoy seeing court dress and thought Princess Hanako and Princess Hisako knocked it out of the park at this event. What did you think of the Japanese royal hats at this poetry reading?

Photos from Asahi, ANN News and NHK

Imperial New Year’s Lectures

Members of Imperial Family attended traditional annual Imperial New Year’s Lectures hosted by the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace yesterday. One of the few royal occasions that still requires court dress, this event provides us a wonderful opportunity for hat watching every year.

As the Empress hosts the event in her home (and thus, does not wear a hat) and Crown Princess Masako did not attend, we’ll start off a review of this ceremony with Princess Kiko of Akishino who wore a pale grey-blue calot hat. The hat appeared to feature some sort of trim or contrasting fabric on the crown and an unembellished cuff brim around the front. While a fairly typical hat for Kiko, I would have loved to see some of the incredible silver thread detail on the bodice of her gown incorporated into the hat. Her daughter, Princess Mako, wore a simple black pillbox that I believe is a new hat for her.

Princess Kiko and Princess Mako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Kiko’s hat: January 15, 2014

Princess Hanako of Hitachi wore a new jade green brimless hat with pork pie crown and bow trim at the side. While the photo below suggests the hat was a slightly different shade than her lace gown, I suspect that in reality, the two were  a match. Princess Nobuko of Mikasa repeated a ruched toque hat with feather trim at the side made of the same grey silk as her structured gown. Her daughters both wore new hats with unexpected twists- Princess Akiko’s blue headpiece appeared to be made of blue and silver petals (or sequins) perched in a mass on the top of her head while Princess Yoko’s tall pink pillbox was trimmed in chevron stripes of matching faux fur.

Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko, Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designers: unknown
Previous Wearings of Princess Nobuko’s hat: January 16, 2015

The Takamado princesses were also in attendance. Princess Hisako topped her goldenrod yellow velvet gown in a brimless pork pie hat covered in the same fabric and trimmed in coordinating feathers. Princess Tsuguko highlighted the taupe sheen in her Victorian style suit with a taupe pillbox hat, also trimmed in feathers. Princess Ayako, who we do not often see as she has been studying in Canada for several years, wore a pale pink calot hat. The calot appeared to be trimmed in monochrome lace around the perimeter which I suspect may frame her face in a lovely way.

Princess Hisako, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako, January 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

While this event often showcases the most daring of millinery worn by the Imperial Princesses, these hats fit with the more typically demure style we often see worn by the Japanese royals. Are there any pieces that stand out to you in particular?

Photos from Getty as indicated and ANN News


Royal Hats this Year: Japan Part 1

Royal Hats Year In Review 2014The Imperial Royal Family are among the most prolific of royal hat wearers- so prolific that we have to break their 2014 millinery review into two posts. In cases where a hat was worn repeatedly 2014, it is shown here just once (usually, the most recent outing) and you can click on each hat to take you to the original post with larger views and detailed information. Without further ado, here are the hats we saw worn by all of the Japanese princesses in 2014:

Princess Hanako of Hitachi

1. Princess Hanako, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 2. Princess Hanako, January 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 3. Princess Hanako, January 26, 2014 |  Royal Hats 4. Princess Hanako, April 6, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 5. Princess Hanako, May 15, 2014 | Royal Hats

6. Princess Hanako, June 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 7. Princess Hanako, July 8, 2014 | Royal Hats 8. Princess Hanako, July 10, 2014 | Royal Hats 9. Princess Hanako, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 10. Princess Hanako, July 14, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Akiko and Princess Yoko of Mikasa

11 & 12. 2014-01-10 New year lectures 3 Mikasa 13. Princess Akiko, January 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 14 & 15. Princess Yoko and Princess Akiko, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats

16. Princess Akiko of Mikasa, April 28, 2014 | Royal Hats 17. Princess Akiko of Takamado, June 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 18. Princess Akiko of Mikasa, July 27, 2014 | Royal Hats 19. Princess Akiko, October 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

20.Princess Yoko, October 11, 2014 | Royal Hats 21. Princess Yoko, October 16, 2014 | Royal Hats 22. Princess Yoko, October 16, 2014 | Royal Hats 23. Princess Yoko, November 10, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Noriko, Princess Tsuguko and Princess Ayako of Takamado

24. Princess Noriko, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 25. Princess Noriko, January 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 26. Princesses Tsuguko, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 27. Princess Noriko, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 28. Princess Noriko, May 27, 2014 | Royal Hats 29. Princess Ayako, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats

30. Takamado Princesses, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats 31. Princess Noriko of Takamado, September 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 32. Princess Noriko, October 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 33. Princess Noriko, October 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado

34. Princess Hisako, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 35. Princess Hisako, January 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 36. Princess Hisako, February 2, 2014 |Royal Hats  37. Princess Hisako, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats

38. 2014-06-15 wake 6 39. Princess Hisako, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats  40. Princess Hisako, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats 41. Princess Hisako, September 1, 2014 | Royal Hats

42. Princess Hisako, September 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 43. Princess Hisako, October 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 44. Princess Hisako, October 26, 2014 | Royal Hats 45. 2014-11-13 Japan Ex 2014 46. 2014-11-25 Chrysanthemum exhibition 1

Princess Mako of Akishino

47. Princess Mako, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 48. Princess Mako, May 26, 2014 | Royal Hats 49. Princess Mako, June 15, 2014 | Royal Hats

50. Princess Mako, June 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 51. Princess Mako, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 52. Princess Mako, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats 53.2014-12-28 Akihito birthday 1

Princess Kiko of Akishino

54. Princess Kiko, Jan 10, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 55. Princess Kiko, January 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 56. Princess Kiko, January 27, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 57. Princess Kiko, January 31, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

 58. Princess Kiko, April 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 59. Princess Kiko, June 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 60. Princess Kiko, June 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 61. Princess Kiko, June 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 62. Princess Kiko, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats

 63. Princess Kiko, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 64. Princess Kiko, October 4, 2014 | Royal Hats 65. Princess Kiko, October 6, 2014 | Royal Hats 66. Princess Kiko, October 6, 2014 | Royal Hats 67. 2014-12-28 Akihito birthday 1

Crown Princess Masako

68. Princess Masako, June 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 69. Princess Masako, June 17, 2014 | Royal Hats 70. Crown Princess Masako, July 3, 2014 | Royal Hats 71. Princess Masako, July 13, 2014 | Royal Hats 72. Crown Princess Masako, July 15, 2014 | Royal Hats

73. Crown Princess Masako, July 29, 2014 | Royal Hats 74. Crown Princess Masako, October 29, 2014 | Royal Hats 75. Crown Princess Masako, October 30, 2014  | Royal Hats 76. Crown Princess Masako, November 4, 2014 | Royal Hats

77. Crown Princess Masako, November 10, 2014 | Royal Hats 78. 2014-12-09 birthday 79. 2014-12-28 Akihito birthday 2

I think the collection above shows more creativity, diversity and colour than we might have expected. Will any of these hats receive your nomination for favourite royal hat of 2014?

Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at all the hats worn by Empress Michiko.

Please click on each photo to link back to the original post with additional information and photo sources

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