SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


Empress Masako concludes 2020 silk farming

江戸村のとくぞう/CC/Wikimedia Commons

Empress Masako of Japan has concluded this year’s silk farming. The Empress took part in the tradition for the first time this year – since becoming Empress of Japan last year when her husband, Emperor Naruhito succeeded his father, Akihito, who abdicated in his favour.

Silk farming has been a tradition passed down since the late 19th century in Japan, and Empress Masako was happy to continue the tradition this year. She did not take part in 2019 due to the many ceremonies and events surrounding her husband’s ascension to the throne.

The silk farming ended on Friday with the Empress bowing at the Momijiyama Imperial Cocoonery on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Imperial Household Agency said Her Imperial Majesty fed shredded mulberry leaves to the silkworms, as well as collecting 30 kilograms of cocoons.

The silk production season began in May while COVID-19 was significantly impacting Japan and while considerable restrictions were in place. As a result, the Empress only had one assistant instead of the usual five while raising the only indigenous silkworm to Japan, the Koishimaru.

The beginning of the season is marked by the “Goyosan Hajime no Gi” ceremony, and the Empress fed mulberry leaves to the silkworms on that occasion. The ceremony was closed to the public.

The Empress travelled to the Imperial Palace six times to check on the silkworms and was accompanied once by her husband.

Emperor Naruhito’s mother, Empress Emerita Michiko raised three breeds of silkworm in 2017 and collected 160 kilograms of cocoons.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.