Order of the Rising Sun
The is a Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese order
Order (decoration)
An order or order of merit is a visible honour, awarded by a government, dynastic house or international organization to an individual, usually in recognition of distinguished service to a nation or to humanity. The distinction between orders and decorations is somewhat vague, except that most...

, 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
Order of the Chrysanthemum
is Japan's highest order. The Grand Cordon of the Order was established in 1876 by Emperor Meiji of Japan; the collar of the Order was added on January 4, 1888. Although technically the order has only one class, it can either be awarded with collar , or with grand cordon...

; 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 before World War II); and women were awarded the Order starting in 2003 (previously, women were awarded the Order of the Precious Crown
Order of the Precious Crown
The Order of the Precious Crown is a Japanese order, established on January 4, 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. Originally the order had five classes, but on April 13, 1896 the sixth, seventh and eighth classes were added....

). 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:
The badge for the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon is a gilt
The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

 cross with white enameled rays, bearing a central emblem of a red enameled sun disc surrounded by red rays, and with three paulownia
Paulownia is a genus of from 6 to 17 species of plants in the monogeneric family Paulowniaceae, related to and sometimes included in the Scrophulariaceae. They are native to much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam, and long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea...

 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
Rosette (decoration)
A rosette is a small, circular device that is presented with a medal. The rosettes are primarily for situations where wearing the medal is deemed inappropriate. Rosettes are issued in nations such as France, Italy and Japan...

 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.

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
Order of the Paulownia Flowers
The ' is an order presented by the Japanese Government. Established in 1888 during the Meiji Restoration as the highest award in the Order of the Rising Sun; however, since 2003 it has been an Order in its own right...

. This high honor was conferred on the following people prior to 2003:

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1st Class, Grand Cordon

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    , 1921
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    , 1905
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    , 1906
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    Gustave Emile Boissonade de Fontarabie was a French legal scholar, responsible for drafting much of Japan's civil code during the Meiji Era, and honored as one of the founders of modern Japan's legal system.-Biography:...

     (1825–1910), 1909.
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    , 1988

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2nd Class, Gold and Silver Star

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     (1825–1910), 1876.
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  • George Trumbull Ladd
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3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

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     (1923-2010), 1988
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    John Milne
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    Earl Miner
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  • Ian Nish
    Ian Nish
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    , 1991
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    Taiichi Ohno
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    , 1982
  • Susan Pharr
    Susan Pharr
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  • Edward Seidensticker
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    , 1975
  • Ichimatsu Tanaka
    Ichimatsu Tanaka
    was a prominent Japanese academic, an art historian, curator, editor, and sometime public servant who specialized in the history of Japanese art. He was born in .-Education:...

     (1895–1983), 1967
  • Patrick Lennox Tierney
    Patrick Lennox Tierney
    Patrick Lennox Tierney is a Japanologist academic in the field of art history, an emeritus professor of the University of Utah, a former Curator of Japanese Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, a former Director of the Pacific Asia Museum, and a former Commissioner of Art and Monuments during the...

    , 2007
  • Royall Tyler
    Royall Tyler (academic)
    Royall Tyler is a Japanologist. He is a descendant of the American playwright Royall Tyler . He was born in London, England, and grew up in Massachusetts, England, Washington D.C., and Paris, France. Between 1990 and 2000 he taught at the Australian National University. He was Reader at that...

    , 2008
  • Willy Vande Walle
    Willy Vande Walle
    Willy F. Vande Walle is a Belgian academic, author, sinologist and Japanologist.Vande Walle was born in Roeselare, Belgium. His secondary education focused on classical humanities at Klein Seminarie Roeselare...

    , 2006

4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette

  • Toshiko Akiyoshi
    Toshiko Akiyoshi
    is a Japanese American jazz pianist, composer/arranger and bandleader. Among a very few successful female instrumentalists of her generation in jazz, she is also recognized as a major figure in jazz composition. She has received 14 Grammy nominations, and she was the first woman to win the Best...

    , 2004
  • Boris Akunin
    Boris Akunin
    Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili , a Russian writer. He is an essayist, literary translator and writer of detective fiction.-Life and career:...

    , 2009
  • Martha Argerich
    Martha Argerich
    Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist.-Early life:Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three...

    , 2005
  • Henry Pike Bowie
    Henry Pike Bowie
    Henry Pike Bowie was an American lawyer, artist, author, Japanologist and diplomat.-Biography:In the late 1880s, Bowie commissioned Makoto Hagiwara, the designer of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, to plan a garden and tea house for his home on the border of...

    , 1848–1921
  • William Penn Brooks
    William Penn Brooks
    William Penn Brooks was an American agricultural scientist, who worked as a foreign advisor in Meiji period Japan in the colonization project for Hokkaidō, and the eighth president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College....

    , 1888
  • William Elliot Griffis
    William Elliot Griffis
    William Elliot Griffis was an American orientalist, Congregational minister, lecturer, and prolific author....

    , 1843–1928
  • Steven Heine
    Steven Heine
    Steven Heine, Ph.D., is a Professor of Religion and History as well as Director of the Institute for Asian Studies at Florida International University . He specializes in East Asian and comparative religions, Japanese Buddhism and medieval intellectual history, Buddhist studies, and religion and...

    , 2007
  • Asao Hirano
    Asao Hirano
    is a Japanese physician, academic, medical researcher and neuropathologist. He is credited with having first observed Hirano bodies which are intracellular aggregates of actin and actin-associated proteins in the neurons .-Selected works:...

    , 2001
  • Rena Kanokogi
    Rena Kanokogi
    Rena "Rusty" Kanokogi , née Glickman, was a renowned Jewish-American judo expert from Brooklyn, New York. In 1959, disguised as a man, she won a medal at a YMCA judo tournament, but had to return it after acknowledging that she was a woman...

    , 2008
  • Kihachirō Kawamoto
    Kihachiro Kawamoto
    was a Japanese puppet designer and maker, independent film director, screenwriter and animator and president of the Japan Animation Association from 1989, succeeding founder Osamu Tezuka, until his own death...

    , 1995
  • Keisuke Kinoshita
    Keisuke Kinoshita
    was a Japanese film director.Although lesser known internationally than his fellow filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa , Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu , Keisuke Kinoshita was nonetheless a household figure at home beloved by audience and critics alike, especially in the forties through the sixties...

    , 1912–1998
  • Tommy Lasorda
    Tommy Lasorda
    Thomas Charles Lasorda is a former Major League baseball player and manager. marked his sixth decade in one capacity or another with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the longest non-continuous tenure anyone has had with the team, edging Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully...

    , 2008

  • Leiji Matsumoto
    Leiji Matsumoto
    is a well-known creator of several anime and manga series. His wife is also known as a manga artist.-Space opera:Matsumoto is famous for his space operas such as Space Battleship Yamato...

    , 2010
  • Kent Nagano
    Kent Nagano
    __FORCETOC__Kent George Nagano is an American conductor and opera administrator. He is currently the music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Bavarian State Opera.-Biography:...

    , 2008
  • Hideyo Noguchi
    Hideyo Noguchi
    , also known as , was a prominent Japanese bacteriologist who discovered the agent of syphilis as the cause of progressive paralytic disease in 1911.-Early life:...

    , 1876–1928
  • Shimaoka Tatsuzo
    Tatsuzo Shimaoka
    was a Japanese mingei potter who studied under Hamada Shoji and later became the second Living National Treasure of Mashiko, Japan. He was best known for his unique Jōmon zogan style of pottery, and was a master of many slip decorating and firing techniques for pottery...

    , 1919–2007
  • Frederik L. Schodt
    Frederik L. Schodt
    Frederik L. Schodt is an American translator, interpreter and writer.Schodt's father was in the US foreign service, and he grew up in Norway, Australia, and Japan. The family first went to Japan in 1965 when Schodt was fifteen. They left in 1967 but Schodt remained to graduate from Tokyo's American...

    , 2009
  • George Shima
    George Shima
    George Shima was a Japanese American businessman in California who became the first Japanese American millionaire. At one point, he produced about 85% of the state's potato crop, which earned him the nickname "The Potato King"....

    , 1864–1926
  • George Takei
    George Takei
    George Hosato Takei Altman is an American actor, author, social activist and former civil politician. He is best known for his role in the television series Star Trek and its film spinoffs, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the...

    , 2004
  • Masanobu Tsuji, 1902–1961
  • Morihei Ueshiba
    Morihei Ueshiba
    was a famous martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido. He is often referred to as "the founder" or , "Great Teacher".-Early years:Morihei Ueshiba was born in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan on December 14, 1883....

    , 1883–1969
  • H. Paul Varley
    H. Paul Varley
    Herbert Paul Varley is an American academic, historian, author, and Japanologist. He is an emeritus professor at Columbia University and Sen Sōshitsu XV Professor of Japanese Cultural History at the University of Hawaii....

    , 1966
  • Teruaki Yamagishi
    Teruaki Yamagishi
    Teruaki Yamagishi is a Management Consultant who works in Manaus. He is the CEO of Yamagishi Consulting.Japanese Government has recognized his invaluable contribution in assisting Japanese Companies to build their plants in Manaus....

    , 2008
  • Sadao Watanabe
    Sadao Watanabe (musician)
    is an influential Japanese jazz musician who plays the alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone and flute. He is known for his Bossa Nova recordings, although his work encompasses a large range of styles with collaborations from musicians all over the world. Sadao first began learning music at the age...

    , 2005
  • George Kerr (judoka), 2010

5th Class, Gold and Silver Rays

  • Kenzo Mori
    Kenzo Mori
    Kenzo Mori was an Nisei Japanese-Canadian journalist, writer, editor and publisher of the New Canadian, an English-language newspaper aimed at second- and third-generation Japanese Canadians.-Early life:...

  • Kiyoshi Nishiyama
    Kiyoshi Nishiyama
    was a versatile Japanese amateur photographer who specialized in landscapes.Born in Tokyo in 1893 as Kiyonosuke Nishiyama , Nishiyama became interested in photography at 15...

     (1893–1983), awarded 1977
  • Shōshin Nagamine
    Shoshin Nagamine
    was a Japanese author, soldier, police officer and karate master.-Early Life and Karate-do:Nagamine was born in Tomari, in Naha City, Okinawa. He was a small and sickly child, and he contracted a gastroenteric disorder in 1926, his second year of high school. He began a self-imposed diet and took...


  • Vincenzo Ragusa
    Vincenzo Ragusa
    Vincenzo Ragusa was an Italian sculptor who lived in Meiji period Japan from 1876-1882. He introduced European techniques in bronze casting, and new methods of modeling in wood, clay, plaster and wire armatures which exerted a significant role in the development of the modern Japanese sculptural...

    , 1884
  • Ronald Stewart Watt, awarded 2010

6th Class, Silver Rays

  • Henry Hajimu Fujii
    Henry Hajimu Fujii
    Henry Fujii was a pioneer and Japanese American community leader in the state of Idaho. His primary vocation was in agriculture. In the 1930s, Fujii was recognized as a pioneer in large-scale onion farming, advancing the acreage scale of which a farmer could raise crops...


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

External links

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