Housekeeping Note: Here’s a photo retrospective of Aiko’s life. Spam your own photos of the birthday woman in the comments!
Happy birthday to Princess Aiko, who turns 20 today! Most of her adulthood ceremonies will be held on December 5. The IHA, the Emperor and Empress, and the Princess herself decided not to procure a new tiara or reconfigure a tiara, citing the pandemic as a reason. Instead, she will borrow her Aunt Sayako’s (Princess Nori) tiara, along with some other pieces of jewelry. If you want to see where that tiara ended up in our poll, here is the post.
Aiko’s ceremony will be based on Sayako’s adulthood celebrations, which were scaled back due to Emperor Showa’s 1989 death and mourning period. It has not been decided whether the Princess will get another tiara, or if she will continue to use her aunt’s for all public appearances.
Sayako’s tiara comes with a bit of a mystery. Is it a reconfigured tiara or a completely different piece? There are arguments for both sides.
Yi Bangja’s Tiara
Princess Masako Nashimoto, also known as Yi Bangja, was born to a cadet branch of the Japanese Imperial family. She was a first cousin of both the Emperor and Empress. Although not much is known about the provenance of her tiara, it is assumed she received it when she married the Crown Prince of Korea in 1920, or at her adulthood ceremony in 1921. Among some circles, it’s thought that this tiara was later used in the creation of Sayako, Princess Nori’s, piece.
To add to the confusion, Mikimoto has displayed a tiara that looks very much like Yi Bangja’s. The date it was designed is listed as 1923 or 1924, shortly after Yi Bangja’s tiara first appeared. It is speculated that there were two similar tiaras designed at about the same time, one worn by Yi Banga, and one retained by Mikimoto for display. The tiaras are similar, although the one worn by Yi Bangja has a scrolling effect along the bottom.
Sayako, Princess Nori’s Tiara
Sayako is the current Emperor’s younger sister, who left Imperial duties once she married in 2005. The tiara she wore from her adulthood ceremonies in 1989 to 2005 is shown below. The general similarities between this tiara and the tiara worn by Yi Bangja have led to speculation that Sayako received a reconfigured tiara, made from Yi Bangja’s tiara. But there are those who say that Sayako’s tiara was a denser design, that the elements curve in different directions, and it is an entirely different piece.
Princess Aiko's 20th birthday photos
Visit to Sannomaru Shozokan (Museum of the Imperial Collections) on November 22
– Incense ceremony set
– Tale of Genji folding panel and picture book
– Sarashina Nikki (Sarashina Diary)
— Prisma 😷 (@ImperialJPNfan) December 1, 2021