The Order of the Rising Sun (Japanese: 旭日章, Kyokujitsu shō ) is a Japanese Order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government. It is the second most prestigious Japanese decoration after the Order of the Chrysanthemum. The order, a civilian and military decoration, has been awarded over four million times in any grade. Before 1981, the Order was granted to only Japanese males. Women were awarded the Order starting in 2003. 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.
The Order can be awarded in any of these eight classes:
- 1st Class, Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Blossoms, Grand Cordon
- 1st Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon
- 2nd Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star
- 3rd Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon
- 4th Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette
- 5th Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays
- 6th Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays
- 7th Class, Green Paulownia Leaves Medal
- 8th Class, White Paulownia Leaves Medal
The badge for the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Blossoms, Grand Cordon is a gilt cross with white enamelled rays, bearing a central emblem of a red enamelled sun disc surrounded by red rays, and with three paulownia blossoms between each arm of the cross. It is suspended from three enamelled 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 Blossoms, 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.