No New Tiara for Princess Aiko at Coming-of-Age CeremonyImperial Family Art
On December 1, Princess Aiko, the daughter of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, turned 20 years old—the official age of adulthood in Japan. A celebratory ceremony was held on December 5 to mark her coming of age.
There is an imperial family tradition that when princesses turn 20, they receive a new tiara. In this case, however, while many Japanese people are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Princess Aiko instead borrowed the tiara of her aunt, Kuroda Sayako, the emperor’s younger sister, who left the imperial family when she got married in November 2005.
Japanese princesses wear their tiaras at the most important official occasions, such as rituals and banquets. When Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, 2019, Empress Masako wore a tiara that has been passed down from former empresses.
For many years, Mikimoto was the exclusive supplier of jewelry to the imperial family, but from 2003 Mikimoto and Wakō bid for the contract. Wakō made the tiara for Komuro Mako, the emperor’s niece, who left the imperial family after marrying in October.
When Mako’s younger sister, Princess Kako, came of age in 2014, for the first time there was an open bid in which five companies submitted their tiara designs. In this case, Mikimoto won the bid.
Empress Masako and Crown Princess Kiko both have a number of tiaras that they wear on different occasions.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Princess Aiko wears a tiara borrowed from her aunt Kuroda Sayako at a ceremony to mark her coming of age at the Imperial Palace on December 5, 2021. © Reuters; pool photo.)