Order of the Precious Crown

The Order of the Precious Crown (宝冠章, Hōkan-shō) is a Japanese order, established on January 4, 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan, and the second lowest ranking of the Japanese orders currently awarded. Originally the order had five classes, but on April 13, 1896 the sixth, seventh and eighth classes were added.

Order of the Precious Crown
Order of the Precious Crown end of 19th century Japan.jpg
Order of the Precious Crown, 1st class plaque. End of the 19th century. Musée de la Légion d'honneur.
Awarded by the Emperor of Japan
CriteriaAt the monarch's pleasure
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignHis Imperial Majesty The Emperor
Classes1st through 8th Class
Next (higher)Order of Culture
Next (lower)Person of Cultural Merit
Medals of Honor

This Order is conventionally reserved for female recipients; however, men have occasionally been accorded this honour. More often, men have been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun rather than the Order of the Precious Crown. In 1907, medals of the Order of the Crown were bestowed upon twenty-nine Americans who participated in the Russo-Japanese War. This unusual list of honorees was composed of ten women volunteer nurses and nineteen correspondents of American newspapers.[1]

Until 2003, the Order of the Precious Crown ranked below the Order of the Rising Sun but above the Order of the Sacred Treasure, and was bestowed as a female-only version of the Order of the Rising Sun; however, men could also be appointed. In 2003 the Order of the Rising Sun, previously reserved for males, was made available to women as well, and the lowest two classes of the Order of the Precious Crown were abolished.[2] The Order of the Precious Crown is now only bestowed upon female members of the Imperial Family and foreign ladies of distinction.


The first class honour has been typically conferred to female royalty. As originally conceived, the order consisted of eight classes. Unlike its European counterparts, the order may be conferred posthumously.

The badge of the order is a gold oval medallion, with floral designs at its four ends; at the centre is an ancient Japanese crown on a blue background, surrounded by a red ring. It is suspended from a smaller badge, its design varies according to class, on a ribbon in yellow with red stripes near the borders, as a sash on the right shoulder for the 1st class, as a bow on the left shoulder for the other classes.

The star of the order, which is worn only by the first class, has five rays studded with pearls, with floral designs between the rays. The central disc features a Ho-o or phoenix on a blue background, surrounded by a red ring emblazoned with a laurel wreath.

The medal for the 6th and 7th classes are golden bronze. The face presents the crossed flags of Japan and the Emperor, both of which are surmounted by the Rising Sun. The obverse presents a conventional monumental shaft, which is flanked by a branch of laurel and a branch of palm.[1]

Ribbon bars
Grand Cordon, Paulownia Second Class, Peony Third Class, Butterfly Fourth Class, Wisteria
Fifth Class, Apricot Sixth Class, Ripples Seventh Class, Medal (abolished 2003) Eighth Class, Medal (abolished 2003)

Selected recipientsEdit

First Class, Grand CordonEdit

Second ClassEdit

Third ClassEdit

Fourth ClassEdit

Fifth ClassEdit

  • Fujima Kansuma (b. 1918)[23]
  • Jean Charlotte Barnes Morden (1923–2010)

Sixth ClassEdit

Seventh ClassEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mikado Honors Americans; Order of the Crown Bestowed on Nurses and War Correspondents." New York Times. July 4, 1907.
  2. ^ Weatherhead East Asian Institute: Miwa Kai, Barbara Ruch.
  3. ^ Belga Pictures, State visit in Japan, 1996, Sovereign couples
  4. ^ Belga Pictures, State visit in Japan, 1996, Sovereign couples & Prince Philippe
  5. ^ Getty Images, State visit in Japan, 2007, Silvia & Carl Gustav
  6. ^ "Noblesse et Royautés" Archived 2016-01-28 at the Wayback Machine (French), State visit of Spain in Japan, November 2008
  7. ^ "Letizia, la condecorada: las 17 distinciones que le han otorgado a la Reina". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 2017-04-24. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. ^ The Royal Forums, State visit of japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
  9. ^ "Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah receives highest honour from Japan". Bernama. 2013-02-07. Archived from the original on 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-02-07. Bernama has erroneously reported the Honours received as "Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum" while correctly citing the recipients of the "Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown"
  10. ^ The Royal Forums, State visit of japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
  11. ^ Honor awarded 1983—The Australian Academy of the Humanities Proceedings 1991 p73 Archived 2009-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Honor conferred 1985—National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP), Eleanor Jorden Archived 2010-09-18 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia: "The Emperor's Tutor"
  14. ^ As I Remember, Lillian M. Gilbreth, Engineering & Management Press, 1998, p. 244.
  15. ^ "Dr. Yoshi Kasuya ('23)". Wellesley College. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Haines, Catharine M. C. (2001). International Women in Science: A Biographical Dictionary to 1950. ABC-CLIO. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-57607-090-1.
  17. ^ 20世紀日本人名事典,367日誕生日大事典. "杉野 芳子(スギノ ヨシコ)とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  18. ^ "Yasui, Kono (1880–1971)". Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. 2007. Archived from the original on 24 February 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  19. ^ Yagi, Eri; Matsuda, Hisako (August 2007). "Toshiko Yuasa (1909-80): the First Japanese Woman Physicist and Her Followers in Japan" (PDF). AAPPS Bulletin. 17 (4): 15–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-12. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Hommage d'Aurélie Filippetti à Yvette Giraud". Archives Communiqués de presse (2012-2018). Ministère de la Culture. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  21. ^ 第24回受賞作品:特別賞 長谷川町子 (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun Company. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  22. ^ "La Duquesa de Alba no tiene que hacerle la reverencia al Rey". ForoCoches.
  23. ^ Murakami, Yuka (27 May 2020). "Madame Kansuma at 102: On Confinement and Little Tokyo's Cultural Heritage". Smithsonian. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Those we lost in 2019". Rafu Shimpo. Los Angeles, California. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  25. ^ Dava, Valerie. "World Traveler, Explorer, Photographer; James Ricalton brought the world to his Maplewood students," Matters Magazine


External linksEdit