Order in the form of three pauwlonia leaves with three stems of three, five and three flowers, on laterally-pierced ball suspension; the face enamelled in green and mauve; the reverse similarly enamelled in green and mauve with a four-character inscription ‘kun-ko ki-sho’ (ribboned medal for meritorious deeds); on replaced correct ribbon; in original fitted embossed rio-nuri lacquer case of issue, the somewhat rubbed gilt characters ‘kun-shichi-to-haku-shoku-to-yo-sho’ (Merit seven class white colour paulownia leaves medal) on the lid in silver characters, indicating a wartime issue.
The Order of the Rising Sun was Japan’s first decoration, being instituted by Council of State Decree on 10 April 1875 in eight classes to reward both military and civilian merit, the class awarded depending upon the rank of the recipient.
The six most senior classes are named ‘Kyokujitsu-sho’ in Japanese, usually translated as ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ in English. The seventh and eighth classes, were named ‘to-yo-sho’ in Japanese, meaning ‘paulownia leaves medal’, the seventh class being known as the Order of the Green Paulownia Leaves and the eighth - in plain silver – as the Order of the White Paulownia Leaves
In 2003, the Order was comprehensively revised, the six higher classes being renamed, women being admitted to the Order and the seventh and eight classes abolished.