Historical Description: The Order of the Rising Sun is a Japanese 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”). The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in the following fields: international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment. Prior to the end of the Second World War, it was also awarded for exemplary military service. Beginning in 2003, the two lowest rankings (7th and 8th classes) for the Order of the Rising Sun were abolished, with the highest degree becoming a separate order known as the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, with the single rank of Grand Cordon. While it is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese government, it is however generally the highest ordinarily conferred order. The highest Japanese order, the Order of the Chrysanthemum, is reserved for heads of state or royalty, while the second highest order, the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, is mostly reserved for politicians.
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