For the first time in several years, New Year tiaras are back in Toyko! Here’s a look at the glittering jewels worn by the Empress of Japan and the imperial princesses for this year’s New Year reception.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan held the traditional New Year reception at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday, receiving greetings from dignitaries and officials.
For the first time since January 2020, Empress Masako and the other ladies of the imperial family wore tiaras for the event. The Empress chose the Meiji Tiara for the reception. The nineteenth-century diadem, which has a classic festoon design, is reserved for the use of Japanese empresses, and Masako has been wearing it since her husband’s accession to the throne in 2019.
The Empress added even more glittering diamonds to her ensemble as well, wearing diamond drop earrings, a diamond necklace, and a diamond and pearl brooch, which she has often paired with pieces from the Pearl Sunburst Parure.
The Emperor and Empress were supported by several members of the extended imperial family. They were joined by their daughter, Princess Aiko; his brother and sister-in-law, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, and their daughter, Princess Kako of Akishino; and cousins, Princess Takamado and her daughter, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, and Princesses Akiko and Yoko of Mikasa.
The crown princely couple, Princess Kako, and Princess Takamado stood to the Emperor’s right during the reception. Crown Princess Kiko wore the tiara and jewels from the diamond parure traditionally worn by Japanese crown princesses. Princess Kako wore her diamond parure, and Princess Takamado paired the Mikasa Pearl Drop Tiara with the necklace from her wedding parure.
Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko’s son, Prince Hisahito, was also at the palace for the reception. Cameras captured him arriving in a car with his sister ahead of the event. Hisahito is seventeen, so he’s not yet participating in public imperial family events.
On the Empress’s left, Princess Aiko stood beside Princess Akiko of Mikasa, Princess Yoko of Mikasa, and Princess Tsuguko of Takamado. All four of the princesses wore the diamond parures that they received on their 20th birthdays.
Princess Aiko’s diamond tiara and jewels originally belonged to her aunt, Sayako Kuroda. When she married and left the imperial family, Sayako’s parure remained her personal property, because her father, Emperor Akihito, had paid for it himself. In 2021, Sayako decided to lend the jewels to Princess Aiko for her use, and the government so far has not allocated funds to make a separate suite of jewels for the imperial princess.
Here’s one more glimpse of Aiko on New Year’s Day. The photograph was taken as the princess traveled to the Akasana Estate, home of her grandparents, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. The rest of the traditional imperial new year celebrations, including the balcony appearance, were canceled after a deadly earthquake struck western Japan on Monday afternoon.