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Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun
The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon
The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, Gold and Silver Rays, Silver Rays
The Order of the Rising Sun ( , Kyokujitsu shō ) is a Japanesemarker order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government, created on April 10, 1875 by decree of the Council of State. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun. The design of the Rising Sun symbolizes energy as powerful as the rising sun in parallel with the "rising sun" concept of Japan ("Land of the Rising Sun").

It is the second most prestigious Japanese decoration after the Order of the Chrysanthemum; however the Chrysanthemum is generally only awarded to politicians, military leaders, or royalty. The modern version of this honor has been conferred on non-Japanese recipients beginning in 1981 (although several foreigners were given the honor during the pre-World War II era); and women were awarded the Order starting in 2003 (previously, women were awarded the Order of the Precious Crown). The awarding of the Order is administered by the Decoration Bureau of Office of the Prime Minister. It is awarded in the name of the Emperor and can be awarded posthumously.

It can be awarded to Japanese as well as non-Japanese nationals.


The Order can be awarded in any of these nine classes. Conventionally, a diploma is prepared to accompany the insignia of the order, and in some rare instances, the personal signature of the emperor will have been added. As an illustration of the wording of the text, a translation of a representative 1929 diploma says:
: "By the grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial,

: We confer the Second Class of the Imperial Order of Meiji upon Henry Waters Taft, a citizen of the United States of America and a director of the Japan Society of New York, and invest him with the insignia of the same class of the Order of the Double Rays of the Rising Sun, in expression of the good will which we entertain towards him.

: "In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hand and caused the Grand Seal of the Empire to be affixed at the Imperial Palacemarker, Tokiomarker, this thirteenth day of the fifth month of the fourth year of Shōwa, corresponding to the 2,589th year from the accession to the throne of Emperor Jimmu."

The badge for the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon is a gilt cross with white enameled rays, bearing a central emblem of a red enameled sun disc surrounded by red rays, and with three paulownia blossoms between each arm of the cross. It is suspended from three enameled paulownia leaves on a sash in red with white border stripes, and is worn on the right shoulder.

The star for the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon is the same as the badge, but without the paulownia leaves suspension. It is worn on the left chest.

The badge for the First to Sixth Classes is an eight-pointed badge, in gilt (1st-4th Classes), gilt and silver (5th Class), or silver (6th Class), with white enamelled rays, bearing a central red enamelled sun disc. It is suspended from three enamelled paulownia leaves (not chrysanthemum as the Decoration Bureau page claims) on a ribbon in white with red border stripes, worn as a sash on the right shoulder for the 1st Class, as a necklet for the 2nd and 3rd Classes, on the left chest for the 4th to 6th Classes (with a rosette for the 4th Class).

The star for the First and Second Classes is an eight-pointed silver badge, bearing a central emblem identical to the 4th Class badge without the paulownia leaves suspension. It is worn on the left chest for the 1st Class, on the right chest for the 2nd Class.

The badge for the Seventh and Eighth Classes consists of just a silver medal in the shape of three paulownia leaves, enamelled for the 7th Class and plain for the 8th Class. It is suspended on a ribbon, again in white with red border stripes, worn on the left chest.

Selected recipients

1st Class, Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon

In 2003, this highest grade of the Order was elevated, becoming the Order of the Paulownia Flowers. This high honor was conferred on the following men prior to 2003:

1st Class, Grand Cordon

2nd Class, Gold and Silver Star

3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette

5th Class, Gold and Silver Rays

6th Class, Silver Rays

7th Class, Green Paulownia Leaves Medal

In 2003, this grade of the Order was abolished.

8th Class, White Paulownia Leaves Medal

In 2003, this grade of the Order was abolished.

Class unknown


  1. Decorations Bureau web site
  2. Council of State decree
  3. Embassy of Japan in Australia
  4. Administration of matters under the direct purview of the Prime Minister: the Honors System
  5. Weatherhead East Asian Institute web site -- Carol Gluck
  6. Honor awarded 1929 -- "Japanese Emperor Honors H.W. Taft; Consul-General Gives Insignia for Fostering International Friendship. Diploma Also Presented; Brother of Chief Justice Receives Order of Rising Sun at Exercises Here," New York Times, June 28, 1929.
  7. Honor conferred 1963 -- Konrad Adenauer Stiftung: Biographie, Orden und Ehrenzeichen; Kyokujitsu-sho (Orden der Aufgehenden Sonne, 1. Klasse, Großkreuz (22 März 1960); Kyokujitsu Tokwa Daiju-sho (Orden der Aufgehenden Sonne mit Paulownia-Blüten ((2 Dezember 1963).
  8. Honor conferred 1917 --
  9. Trilateral Commission: Foley, bio notes
  10. Department of the Army, Headquarters: General Orders, No. 13. April 6, 1964.
  11. No. 77, Nousevan Auringon Ritarikunnan I luokka Paulovniakukkasin, Japani (Finnish).
  12. Honor conferred 1990 -- Campi, Alicia. "The Role of Mike Mansfield in Consolidating Mongolia's International Status and in Establishing Diplomatic Relations with the United States," The Mansfield Foundation. May 17, 2007.
  13. "Nogi, Maresuke [Kiten,"] Encyclopedia Britannica (12th ed.), Vol. XXX, p. 1139.
  14. Sleeman, Elizabeth. (2003). The International Who's Who 2004, p. 1547.
  15. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA): 2007 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals, p. 1.
  16. Rutledge, Martha. (1979). "Barton, Sir Edmund (1849 - 1920)," Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, pp 194-200; Scaramouche. "Sir Edmund Barton"
  17. Nagashima-Hayashi, Michiko. "Former UNICEF Executive Director receives humanitarian award in Japan," UNICEF web site (2006)]
  18. British Library. "Handlist of Japanese Manuscripts Acquired Since 1984," 'Or. 14819 Certificate conferring Order of the Rising Sun on Admiral von Bendemann,' p. 3.
  19. FIFA: Honors, Sepp Blatter.
  20. Japan Today: [1]
  21. US Naval Historical Center: Biographies in Naval History, Arleigh Burke
  22. Kirkup, James. "Obituary: Masaru Ibuka," Independent (London). December 22, 1997.
  23. Daniel Inouye, Senate: Awards
  24. Honor conferred 1917 --
  25. Mauritius Consulate, Malta: Anerood Jugnauth
  26. "The Marquess Komura; A Notable Career," The Times (London). November 25, 1911.
  27. Lee Kuan Yew Bio
  28. Honor awarded December 6, 1964 -- LeMay, Curtis E. (1965). Mission with LeMay: My story, p, 466.
  29. Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Japan: Wangari Maathai, 2009.
  30. C.J.Lloyd. "McEwen, Sir John (1900-1980)"
  31. Honor awarded 1973 -- National Archives of Australia
  32. Garamone, Jim. "Pace Receives Japanese Emperor’s Rising Sun Award", American Forces Press Service. August 18, 2007.
  33. Stamford alumni: William Perry bio; "4,632 people win awards for contributing to Japan," Japan Times, November 3, 2002.
  34. Honor awarded 1908 -- Ibaraki Prefecture e-newsletter
  35. Japan Today: [2]
  36. U.S. Navy Biography: William Douglas Crowder.
  37. [3] Newsweek. December 20, 2004.
  38. Tank Museum: Medal Recipients - Order of the Rising Sun, Second Class; Japan: "Elles, Sir Hugh Jamieson."
  39. Honor awarded 1908 -- Crossroads: A Journal of Nagasaki History and Culture
  40. N.B., promoted from 3rd Class awarded in 1975.
  41. "Business: Japanese Strip," Time Magazine. May 8, 1939.
  42. Honor awarded in July 1874 -- Charles LeGendre
  43. Honor awarded posthumously 1928 -- "Mikado Honors Dr. Noguchi, New York Times. June 2, 1928.
  44. Honor awarded 1907 -- Adler, Cyrus (1921). p. 14; Sakamoto, Pamela Rotner. (1998). Japanese Diplomats and Jewish Refugees, p. 17.
  45. Guide to the Wendell M. Stanley papers, 1926-1972 -- [4]
  46. Honor awarded 2003 -- Consulate-General of Japan in New York: "Government Of Japan To Honor Professor Michael Ira Sovern."
  47. Honor awarded 2007 -- Embassy of Japan in Singapore: "Conferment Ceremony for Mr. Philip Yeo, Chairman of SPRING Singapore."
  48. Peter Dysdale bio notes: 4th I-House Academy: "Japan and China: Toward Asia- Pacific Cooperation," International House of Japan. May 22, 2007.
  49. "Japan honors Clint Eastwood in spring decorations," Japan Today. April 29, 2008.
  50. "California Ethnomusicologist Dr. Robert Garfias to Receive Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun Award," Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) Archives.
  51. Weatherhead East Asian Institute, The Reed; "Carol Gluck Receives Top Honors from the Japanese Government," Columbia News, October 6, 2006.
  52. Honor awarded in 1926 -- Adam Mathew web.
  53. Honor awarded 1906 -- Perry, Warren. (1983). "Hoad, Sir John Charles (1856 - 1911)" in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9.
  54. NNDB: Order of the Rising Sun
  55. Perera, Suharshi. "Woman: An icon in the literary world," Daily News (Sri Lanka). August 9, 2007.
  56. "American Honored by the Japanese," The New York Times. October 22, 1899.
  57. "Pax Britannica (3rd Class)", Time, May 16, 1932.
  58. Honor awarded 1998 -- "McClellan Named Sterling Professor of Japanese," Yale Office of Public Affairs. February 3, 1999.
  59. Quiñones, Eric. "Earl Miner, Specialist in English and Japanese Literature, dies at age 77" Princetonian Weekly Bulletin. May 5, 2004; Europa Publications. (2003). International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004, p. 388.
  60. Kenrick, Vivienne. "Personality Profile: Ian Nish," Japan Times. September 18, 2004.
  61. Consulate General of Japan, Boston.
  62. Embassy of Japan in the U.K.: Japanese Government honors Lord David Sydney Rowe-Beddoe," December 18, 2008.
  63. Rustum Roy, vita for health groups
  64. Consulate General of Japan, Los Angeles.
  65. Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "2008 Spring Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals," p. 4.
  66. Embassy of Japan in Belgium: Decoration Awarding Ceremony of Prof. Dr. W.F. Vande Walle
  67. Honor awarded 1909 -- "Receives Guests Attired in Kimono," The San Francisco Call. November 29, 1909. p. 22.
  68. "Recent Awards," Florida International University, Asian Studies. April 29, 2007.
  69. Consulate General of Japan in New York's Office
  70. Honor awarded 1984 -- Bergan, Ronald. "A satirical eye on Japan: Keisuke Kinoshita, film director; born December 5, 1912; died December 30, 1998," The Guardian (Manchester). January 5, 1999.
  71. Lasorda honored by Japan,, December 3, 2008
  72. Honor awarded 1915 -- Kita, Atsushi. (2005). Dr. Noguchi's Journey: A Life of Medical Search and Discovery, p. 196.
  73. Anime News Network: "Frederik L. Schodt Wins The Order of the Rising Sun Award," April 29, 2009.
  74. George Tekei, bio notes
  75. Honor awarded 1942 -- Tsuji, Masanobu. (1997). Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat, p. 108.
  76. Honor conferred 1964 -- North Austin Tae Kwan Do: "Chronology of the Life of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido."
  77. Honor awarded 1996 -- Columbia University, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Faculty Profiles
  78. Sadao Watanabe offical website: biography
  79. Cordileone, Elvira. "Kenzo Mori: An impact on two shores," The Star (Toronto). January 22, 2007.
  80. Unpaginated editors' chronology appended to Kiyoshi Nishiyama, Shunkō shūshoku ( ) / Seasonal Aspects of Japan (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979) .
  81. Honor awarded on 1971 -- Henshall, Mary. "Pioneer Portraits: Henry and Fumiko Fujii," Idaho Yesterdays., Spring, 1975, pp. 20-27; Washington State University Libraries: "Furthering friendship between Japan and the United States, April 1971"


  • Peterson, James W., Barry C. Weaver and Michael A. Quigley. (2001). Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States. San Ramon, California: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 1-8909-7409-9
  • Tsuji, Masanobu. (1997). Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat, Margaret E. Lake, tr. New York: Da Capo Press. 10-ISBN 1-873-37675-8; 13-ISBN 978-1-873-37675-1 (cloth)

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