On Saturday, the Japanese imperial family gathered in Tokyo for their annual New Year reception. The event was scaled back this year, so no tiaras—but we did get to see the first official engagement for the newest member of the group.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan led the parade of family members as they arrived for the traditional reception at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on New Year’s Day.
The imperial couple was followed in to the reception by Crown Prince Fumihito, the emperor’s younger brother and heir.
Tiaras weren’t worn for this year’s reception, but the family still dressed in formal, white-tie attire, complete with orders and decorations. The women of the family wore their long traditional court gowns and carried fans.
The emperor wore the collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum and the sash of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers. The empress wore the insignia of the Order of the Precious Crown.
Empress Masako sparkled in a diamond scroll brooch, plus a truly luminous strand of pearls. She finished off the look with pearl drop earrings.
Princess Aiko, daughter of the emperor and empress, recently became a full-fledged member of the imperial family. She received her court gown, order, and the traditional jewels worn by imperial ladies early in December, and on Saturday, she attended her first official court event.
For the occasion, she wore a strand of pearls. Her earrings, also set with pearls, have a more intricate design than the ones worn by her mother. She secured her order sash with a lovely silver-toned brooch set with small pearls.
The Akishino branch of the family was represented this year by Crown Prince Fumihito and Princess Kako. Crown Princess Kiko’s father, Tatsuhiko Kawashima, died in November, just weeks after the long-awaited marriage of the elder Akishino daughter, Mako Komuro. Crown Princess Kiko is still observing a traditional period of mourning for him. For the reception, Kako wore a lovely double strand of pearls, pearl earrings, and a diamond brooch.
Beside Princess Aiko was Princess Nobuko, the widow of one of the emperor’s late cousins, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa. She wore a pearl necklace, pearl drop earrings, and a lovely pearl brooch that looks to have a sunburst or peacock tail design.
Princess Nobuko’s daughters, Princess Akiko of Mikasa (left) and Princess Yoko of Mikasa (right), joined their mother for the reception. Both wore pearl necklaces and pearl earrings for the reception.
And finally, Princess Takamado was present on the far left side of the imperial family line-up, beside Princess Kako of Akishino. She wore pearls with a light green gown. I’m not sure if her daughter, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, was absent or if the cameras just excluded her from the frame.
The day’s events also included a visit to Naruhito’s parents, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, and Princess Aiko were photographed traveling to Sento Karigosho for the visit. Both Masako and Aiko wore pearl necklaces, pearl earrings, and sparkling brooches.