Happy Birthday to Empress Michiko of Japan, who turns 83 today! The Japanese Imperial Family only adopted ‘Western’ dress in the 19th century, and tiaras of the family have a distinctly ‘white’ theme with each female member getting a parure on her 20th birthday or marriage into the family. One of the best dressed women in the world, in honour of Empress Michiko’s Birthday, we are featuring the Japanese Imperial Tiaras-
Meiji Scroll Tiara
Made by Chaumet around 1885, the Meiji Scroll Tiara was commissioned for Empress Shōken, wife of the Meiji Emperor, who westernized Japan. One of the oldest Tiaras in the collection, it can be worn with diamond stars on top, and without the large diamonds. Reserved for the exclusive use of the Empress, the piece has been worn by Empress Shōken’s successors, Empress Sadako, Empress Kōjun and Empress Michiko, who notably wore the piece for her Coronation in 1990 and the wedding of Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993.
Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara
Another Tiara reserved solely for the Empress, the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara features the Chrysanthemum, a symbol of the Japanese Monarchy. Originally belonging by Empress Kōjun, it has been worn by Empress Michiko for many foreign royal visits and her last tiara appearance, at the New Year’s Court in 2012, after which she has eschewed tiaras due to the weight and her back/neck issues.
Originally belonging to Princess Chichibu, aunt of Emperor Akihito, this tiara features diamond honeysuckle separately by diamond loops filled by lines of diamonds. Prince and Princess Chichibu represented Japan at the 1937 Coronation of King George VI, and this tiara was probably worn for the occasion. It was inherited by Emperor Akihito in 1995, and was a favourite of Empress Michiko in the 2000s.
Diamond Scroll Tiara
Worn by Empress Michiko on her wedding day, this Diamond Scroll Tiara and parure was one of her most worn tiaras in the early years. In 1993, Empress Michiko gave the Diamond Scroll Tiara to her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Masako, and, like her mother-in-law, it was her most worn tiara in the early years of her marriage.
Pearl Sunburst Tiara
Another wedding gift to Empress Michiko in 1959, this Pearl Sunburst Tiara was one of her regular tiaras during her tenure as Crown Princess, and was worn in the 1970s and 80s, when she stopped wearing the Diamond Scroll Tiara. In the late 1990s, the Pearl Sunburst Tiara was given to Crown Princess Masako, and it is her only worn tiara these days, including the Belgian State Banquet, New Year’s Court, and Spanish State Banquet.
Princess Kiko’s Tiara
A wedding gift to Princess Kiko, the younger daughter-in-law of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, in 1990, the diamond tiara and it’s accompanying parure is the only tiara ever worn by Princess Kiko, including the Belgian State Banquet, New Year’s Court, and Spanish State Banquet.
Princess Mako’s Tiara
Made by Japanese jeweller Wako, this Tiara and Parure was given to Princess Mako, eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, on the occasion of her 20th Birthday in 2011. It has been worn to the Belgian State Banquet, New Year’s Court, and Spanish State Banquet. After Princess Mako gets married, the Tiara and parure will return to the Imperial Family.
Princess Kako’s Tiara
Made by Mikimoto, this Tiara and Parure was given to Princess Kako, younger daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, on the occasion of her 20th Birthday in 2014. Worn to the Belgian State Banquet, New Year’s Court, and Spanish State Banquet, this tiara and parure will return to the Imperial Family when she gets married.
Princess Takamado’s Tiaras
Princess Takamado, widow of Emperor Akihito’s cousin, usually represents the family at foreign royal events, and thus has a wide range of tiaras at her disposal. The pearl and diamond piece on the left was worn at her wedding in 1984, it was also worn to the wedding of Princess Madeline of Sweden in 2013. Another pearl and diamond tiara, worn by Princess Takamado at the wedding of Prince Carl Phillip in 2015, belonged to her sister-in-law, the former Princess Yasuko of Mikasa. At King Carl Gustaf’s 70th Birthday Banquet, she wore a diamond laurel tiara, with diamond wing ears, which has belonged to her since the 1990s.