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Royal Tiaras: The Tiaras of Imperial Japan

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Pearl Sunburst Tiara

As mentioned in many of my #TiaraTuesday posts previously, the British royals and aristocracy haven’t cornered the market on royal tiaras. There are lots of other royal families (or ex-royal families) that are tiara rich (or at least were, in the case of Imperial Russia and the French). And there are royal families outside of Europe wearing tiaras to this day, like the tiaras of Imperial Japan. I thought we’d check out a few of the Japanese sparklers today.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Tiaras of Imperial Japan: The Japanese Honeysuckle Tiara

This may be my favorite of the entire lot of their royal tiaras. The Japanese Honeysuckle Tiara has been in the royal family for at least two generations. We know that it’s entry into the royal family was via the English-born wife of Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu. Her name was Setsuko Matsudaira and she was the daughter of the Japanese Ambassador to the US and Great Britain (talk about a power couple!). She wore it in her wedding ceremony in 1928 and it was documented that she wore it again at the coronation of King George in 1937. The couple had no children, so when she passed, the tiara was returned to the royal vaults and later seen on the head of Empress Michiko (who’s husband was Setsuko’s and Yasuhito’s nephew). It has remained with the royal family since.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Tiaras of Imperial Japan: The Mikasa Kokoshnik

Not much is known about the Mikasa Kokoshnik tiara. We do know that it belongs to Princess Mikasa, who is still alive and kicking and is the great-aunt of the current emperor. She and her husband were married for 75 years and she just celebrated her 97th birthday in June. The Kokoshnik style was made popular by the Russian royal family, and later copied by the Brits.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Pearl and Diamond Scroll Tiara

The pearl and diamond scroll tiara, shown above, belongs to Princess Takamado. Her now deceased husband, Prince Takamado (you can see the two of them in their wedding photo above, where she is wearing the tiara for the first time), is the first cousin to the current emperor. The Princess often represents the royal family at engagements outside the country, so she has a small battalion of tiaras in her collection.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Tiaras of Imperial Japan: The Crown Princely Wedding Tiara

Known by other names, as well, The Crown Princely Wedding Tiara. Worn in possibly the two most important Japanese Royal Weddings in this century, this tiara has been passed around a bit. It was worn first by Empress Michiko, when she joined the royal family in 1959 and she wore it in the portion of her wedding where they dressed in Western apparel. Thirty-four years later, Masako Owada, a Japanese diplomat, married Crown Prince Naruhito, the oldest son of Akihito and Michiko, in June 1993. And just as her mother-in-law had done, so wore it during the festivities when wearing Western-style clothing. In more recent days, it’s been seen on the head of Crown Princess Kiko, the wife of the current heir apparent to the throne.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara

A fan favorite of the the Tiaras of Imperial Japan, The Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara, holds special meaning, as the chrysanthemum is a symbol in Japanese culture. This tiara was made sometime in the 20th century, starting with a set of brooches from the collection of Empress Sadako, as its foundation. Both Empress Sadako and Empress Michiko have worn the tiara, but with Michiko no longer wearing tiaras, I guess we can hope to see it on the current Empress, as it’s usually reserved for that level of royalty.

The Tiaras of Imperial Japan
The Tiaras of Imperial Japan: The Meiji Tiara

And last but not least, the Meiji Tiara may be the oldest tiara in the collection. Most likely created in the 1880s and believed to have been made by Chaumet, the tiara is only worn by the Empress Consort. At the onset, the tiara was topped off by diamond star elements (likely in response to the popularity of Empress Sisi’s well known diamond stars, which she wore in her hair for a portrait). But by the 1920s, the diamond stars were often swapped out for larger single diamonds, and it resembled what we see today. In the photo above, it’s worn more tightly but in recent years, it’s been worn more openly, suggesting it’s a bit flexible. It’s been worn by the last five empresses and one will assume, it will be worn by the next five.

Of the tiaras we’ve shown today (there are a few more, but I thought I’d save those for another day), which is your very favorite? I always love hearing about your choices, so please share it with me in the comments below.


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