Order of the Sacred Treasure

Order of the Sacred Treasure
Order of the Sacred Treasure
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.jpg
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
Awarded by the Emperor of Japan
Type Order
Awarded for long and/or meritorious civil or military service
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign His Imperial Majesty The Emperor
Grades (w/ post-nominals) 1st through 6th Class
Established January 4, 1888
Next (higher) Order of the Precious Crown
Next (lower) Order of Culture

The Order of the Sacred Treasure (瑞宝章 Zuihōshō?) is a Japanese Order, established on January 4, 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan as the Order of Meiji. It is awarded in eight classes (from 8th to 1st, in ascending order of importance). It is generally awarded for long and/or meritorious service and considered to be the lowest of the Japanese orders of merit (hosho). A European counterpart of the order would be the Order of the British Empire.

Originally a male-only decoration, the order has been made available to women since 1919; it is awarded for both civil and military merit, though of a lesser degree than that required for the conferment of the Order of the Rising Sun. Unlike its European counterparts, the order may be conferred posthumously.



The Order can be awarded in any of these eight 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 Palace, Tokio, 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."[1]

The insignia of the order incorporates symbols for the three imperial treasures: the Yata Mirror, so sacred that not even the Emperor is allowed to look at it; the Yasakani Jewel, which is made of the finest jade; and the Emperor's personal Sword.

The badge for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth classes is a Maltese cross, in gilt (1st, 3rd and 4th classes), gilt and silver (5th class) and silver (6th class), with white enameled rays (representing the sword). The central disc is blue, bearing an eight-pointed silver star (representing the mirror), surrounded by a wreath with red-enameled dots (representing the jewel). The badge is suspended on a ribbon in light blue with a yellow stripe near the border, worn as a sash on the right shoulder by the 1st class, as a necklet by males of the 3rd class, on the left chest (the ribbon folded into a triangle) by the 4th to 6th classes (with a rosette for the 4th class). For females of the 3rd to 6th classes, the ribbon is a bow worn on the left shoulder (with a rosette for the 4th class).

The star for the first and second classes is similar to the badge as described above, but effectively with two sets of Maltese cross, one in gilt and one placed diagonally in silver. It is worn on the left chest by the 1st class, on the right chest (without any other insignia) by the 2nd class.

The badge of the seventh and eighth classes is an eight-pointed silver medal, partially gilded for the 7th class, with representations of just the mirror and the jewel. The badge is suspended on a ribbon, again in light blue with a yellow stripe near the border, worn by men on the left chest (the ribbon folded into a triangle). For women, the ribbon is a bow worn on the left shoulder.

After the 2003 reform

In 2003 the lowest two classes of the Order were abolished. Moreover, the badges of the Order will from now on be suspended from three white-enamelled paulownia leaves (not chrysanthemum leaves as the Decoration Bureau page claims).

Selected recipients

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

8th class

Class unknown



  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "L'Ordre du Trésor Sacré (The Order of the Sacred Treasure)" (in French). L'Harmattan. December 2007. http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=article&no=8245. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  3. ^ Prime Minister's website, www.pmo.gov.my
  4. ^ King, Wayne; Warren Weaver Jr. (May 2, 1986). "Briefing: Boorstin and the Emperor". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE7D91730F931A35756C0A960948260&scp=1&sq=Briefing%3A+Boorstin+and+the+Emperor. 
  5. ^ "The Gateway's Oriental Treasure". Time. June 17, 1966. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,899258,00.html. 
  6. ^ Japan Society of London. "Cortazzi, Sir Hugh (1924-)". AIM25. http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/frames/fulldesc?inst_id=86&coll_id=7251&full=1. "Grand Cordon, Order of the Sacred Treasure (Japan), 1995" 
  7. ^ "No. 1". Time. March 14, 1932. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,743334,00.html. 
  8. ^ New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources
  9. ^ Sony, "Passing of Norio Ohga, Senior Advisor and former President and Chairman, Sony Corporation," April 23, 2011; retrieved 2011-08-08
  10. ^ Krebs, Alvin; Robert McG. Thomas (January 15, 1981). "Notes on People: Hester Honored". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/15/nyregion/notes-on-people-hester-honored.html. 
  11. ^ Kirkup, James. "Obituary: Masaru Ibuka," Independent (London). December 22, 1997
  12. ^ Umezawa Michiharu
  13. ^ "Akio Morita: Biography". Sony Corporation of America. October 3, 1999. http://www.sony.com/SCA/press/morita_bio.shtml. 
  14. ^ Strom, Stephanie. Nakamura Utaemon VI, 84, International Star of Kabuki", New York Times. April 4, 2001.
  15. ^ Honour awarded 1917 -- London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30363. p. 11322. October 30, 1917. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  16. ^ "Fellowship to Recognise Contribution to Language Teaching and Learning," Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CILT). 27 March 2002; retrieved 2011-06-19
  17. ^ Honor awarded 1967 and 1990 -- "Sir Julian Ridsdale: Conservative MP for Harwich for almost 40 years who was also a notable expert on Japan and the Japanese way of life," Times (London). July 23, 2004.
  18. ^ Toyota: Honorary Chairman
  19. ^ London Gazette: no. 32180. p. 62. January 4, 1921. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  20. ^ Honor awarded 1960 -- L'Harmattan.
  21. ^ Beam, George (2001). Quality Public Management. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 252. http://books.google.com/books?id=h_gxfebsKeIC&dq=Quality+public+management. 
  22. ^ "Joseph Juran: American pioneer of quality control who wrote the definitive manual and helped create Japan's postwar economic miracle". The Times (London). March 6, 2008. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3489540.ece. 
  23. ^ Lord, Frances. "Bernard Leach archive". Crafts Study Centre. http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/04070901.html. 
  24. ^ Honor awarded 1983 -- Bulletin of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, p.5
  25. ^ "L'Ordre du Trésor Sacré (The Order of the Sacred Treasure)" (in French). L'Harmattan. http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=article&no=8245. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "Order with gold and silver star" 
  26. ^ Chubu Regional Construction Bureau, Ministry of Construction, Kiso River Lower Reaches Works Office. The Father of the Riparian Work on the Kiso-Sansen: Johannis de Rijke, p. 6.
  27. ^ Honor awarded 1992 -- L'Harmattan (misspelled as Sakip Sananci)
  28. ^ Honor awarded 1905 -- Adler, Cyrus (1921). Jacob Henry Schiff: A Biographical Sketch, p. 12.
  29. ^ National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (NRI), 田中一松, 1983.
  30. ^ Honor awarded 1971: Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家) / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography (Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, 2005; ISBN 4-8169-1948-1) p. 291 (despite the English-language alternative title, all in Japanese).
  31. ^ "VADM Eugene P. "Dennis" Wilkinson (retired)". U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-10-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20061007070819/http://www.ussnautilus.org/Wilkinson_bio.html. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  32. ^ "Kun Santo Zuiho Sho", In: Niemöller, Pätzold & Chung (1995) 'Lux Oriente', KBMf 188, p. IV
  33. ^ John E. Tuhy, Sam Hill: The Prince of Castle Nowhere (1983), Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, ISBN 0917304772, p. 178
  34. ^ "Japan Decorates Our Naval Attache" (PDF), New York Times, March 25, 1919, http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B0CE4D61331E433A2575AC2A9659C946896D6CF 
  35. ^ "Pax Britannica (3rd Class)", Time, May 16, 1932
  36. ^ Dunne, A., & Bowen, R. (2003): "Trevor Pryce Leggett, 1914–2000." In H. Cortazzi (Ed.): Britain & Japan: biographical portraits (Vol. 4, pp. 323–333). London: Routledge. (ISBN 978-1-9033-5014-0)
  37. ^ Honor awarded 1976 -- "L'Harmattan"
  38. ^ Honor awarded 1988 -- Brenson, Michael (December 31, 1988). "Isamu Noguchi, the Sculptor, Dies at 84". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DC1531F932A05751C1A96E948260&scp=7&sq=Isamu+Noguchi. 
  39. ^ Duquesne/Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law -- bio
  40. ^ NEC Corporation: "Tadahiro Sekimoto, Former Chairman of NEC, Passed Away on November 11, 2007," November 12, 2007
  41. ^ (1922). Prominent People of the Maritime Provinces, p. 193.
  42. ^ Honor awarded 1983 -- Tuttle Publishing Internet home page
  43. ^ Honor awarded 1942 -- Tsuji, Masanobu. (1997). Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat, p. 108.
  44. ^ http://rafu.com/news/?p=13469
  45. ^ Honor awarded 1950 -- "Obituary: Elizabeth Vining". The Economist. Dec. 11, 1999. http://www2.gol.com/users/quakers/vining_obituary.htm. 
  46. ^ http://www.mifuneproductions.co.jp/english/biography/ebiography.html
  47. ^ http://www.ritterkreuztraeger-1939-45.de/Kriegsmarine/G/Gumprich-Guenther.htm
  48. ^ Sullivan, K. (2003): A lifetime of Judo: 90 year old Keiko Fukuda, the martial art's highest-ranked woman, still goes to the mat for her Bay Area students Reproduced from the San Francisco Chronicle (October 17, 2003). Retrieved on April 25, 2010.
  49. ^ Consulate General of Japan in New York, Order with gold rays and rosette
  50. ^ Honor awarded 2000 -- Nishiyama bio, ITKF web, Order with gold rays and rosette.
  51. ^ Honor awarded 1982 -- Bird, David and Robert McG. Thomas Jr. "Notes on People: Japanese Writer for Times Decorated by Hirohito", New York Times, May 13, 1982.
  52. ^ Honor awarded 1921 -- Britton, Dorothy. (1997). "Richard Ponsonby-Fane, A Modern William Adams," in Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, p.203.
  53. ^ University of Illinois at Urbana: About Shozo Sato.
  54. ^ Oskar Ritter und Edler von Xylander
  55. ^ [1]
  56. ^ Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. http://www.masudafunai.com/showbio.aspx?Show=213
  57. ^ Local Information Department, Okayama Prefectural Library: George Gauntlett.
  58. ^ "L'Ordre du Trésor Sacré (The Order of the Sacred Treasure)" (in French). L'Harmattan. http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=article&no=8245. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "Order with gold and silver rays" 
  59. ^ F&R Fine Arts: Obata bio.
  60. ^ http://www.tamiya.com/english/tamiya/tamiya_03.htm
  61. ^ Pace, Eric (November 22, 1999). "Faubion Bowers, 82, Defender Of Kabuki in Occupied Japan". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B03E4DB133CF931A15752C1A96F958260&scp=1&sq=Faubion+Bowers. 
  62. ^ Honor awarded in 1906 -- "Cruiser 'Livia' in Kobe to Greet Italians," Osaka Mainichi. July 28, 1922.
  63. ^ Honor awarded 1882 -- "Prof. Chaplin's New Post; He will be Chancellor of the Washington University", New York Times, August 30, 1891.
  64. ^ Van Gelder, Laurence. "Footlights: Honor Bound", New York Times. November 4, 1998.
  65. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French) Order with sunburst
  66. ^ "Uncle Bob", Time, September 10, 1945.
  67. ^ a b L'Harmattan web site (in French), Order with gold rays
  68. ^ Scott, Janny. "John W. Hall, Historian of Japan, Dies at 81", New York Times. October 27, 1997.
  69. ^ Brownlee, John. (1997). Japanese historians and the national myths, 1600-1945: the age of the gods and Emperor Jinmu, p. 96.
  70. ^ Honor awarded 1939 -- L'Harmattan
  71. ^ "Text of Treaty; Signed by the Emperor of Japan and Czar of Russia," New York Times. October 17, 1905.
  72. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French), Order with gold rays and cross; UNICEF: Goodwill Ambassador Kuroyanagi
  73. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French), Order with gold ribbon
  74. ^ "Lawrence Olson, 73, An Expert on Japan" New York Times. April 2, 1992.
  75. ^ Davison, Charles (1924). "Fusakichi Omori and his work on Earthquakes". Bulletin of the Seismic Society of America 14: 240–255. http://books.google.com/books?id=tYfzAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA240&dq=Fusakichi+Omori+and+his+work+on+Earthquakes+Charles+Davison&hl=en&ei=y62kTYfhCsTQiAKJv_nKCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Fusakichi%20Omori%20and%20his%20work%20on%20Earthquakes%20Charles%20Davison&f=false. Retrieved 05 May 2011. 
  76. ^ Briscoe, David (March 13, 2008). "John Roderick; AP Correspondent Captured a Changing China". Associated Press (Washington Post). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/12/AR2008031204172.html. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  77. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French), Grand Cross
  78. ^ Japan Expert, Linguist & Writer Jack Seward Passes away at 86
  79. ^ London Gazette, p. 10197. 22 October 1920.
  80. ^ "Kenjiro Takayanagi, Electrical Engineer, 91", New York Times, July 25, 1990.
  81. ^ Morrison, Donald. "Japan's Master of Monsters", Time. December 13, 2007.
  82. ^ Honor awarded 1874 -- "A Victory for the Chinese; Japanese Driven with Heavy Loss from Ping-yang", New York Times, August 22, 1894.
  83. ^ Yoshikawa, Eiji. (1995). Musashi (translator, Charles S. Terry), p. 971.


  • 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. 10-ISBN 1-890974-09-9
  • Rossiter, Johnson, ed. (1904). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol. II. Boston: The Biographical Society....Click link for digitized, full text copy of this book

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