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The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum (, Dai-kun'i kikka-sh?, literally Grand Order of the Chrysanthemums) is Japan's highest order. The Grand Cordon of the Order was established in 1876 by Emperor Meiji of Japan; the collar of the Order was added on 4 January 1888. Although technically the order has only one class, it can either be awarded "with collar", meaning on a chain, or "with grand cordon", accompanied by a sash. Unlike its European counterparts, the order may be conferred posthumously.
Apart from the Imperial Family, only six Japanese citizens have ever been decorated with the collar in their lifetimes; the last such award was to former Prime MinisterSaionji Kinmochi in 1928. Eight others have been posthumously decorated with the collar; the last such award was to former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in 2019. Today, only the reigning Emperor holds this dignity as sovereign of the order; however, exceptions are made for foreign heads of state, who can be awarded the collar in friendship.
The grand cordon is the highest possible honour a Japanese citizen can be awarded during his or her lifetime. Aside from members of the Imperial Family, 44 Japanese citizens have been decorated with the grand cordon; of these, only 23 were living at the time of receipt.
The collar of the order is made of gold, and features the kanji for "Meiji", in classic form, indicating the era of the order's establishment. It is decorated with gold chrysanthemum blossoms and green-enamelled leaves.
The sash of the grand cordon of the order is red with dark blue border stripes. It is worn on the right shoulder.
The star of the order is similar to the badge, but in silver, without the chrysanthemum suspension, and with an eight-pointed gilt medallion (with white-enamelled rays and red-enamelled sun disc) placed at the centre. It is worn on the left chest.
The badge of the order is a four-pointed gilt badge with white-enamelled rays; the centre bears a red enamelled sun disc. On each of the four corners of the badge is a yellow-enamelled chrysanthemum blossom with green-enamelled chrysanthemum leaves. The badge is suspended on a yellow-enamelled chrysanthemum, either on the collar or on the grand cordon.
Name / Image
Purpose of the award
Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
January 4, 1888
It is said to be "a special gift for the grand medal."[a]
Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
Main chapter (top), sub-chapter (bottom right), ribbon (bottom left)
December 27, 1876
"From the merit of being awarded the Asahi Sun Grand Cordon or the Mizuho Grand Cordon
It is especially awarded to those who have excellent merit. "
Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
December 27, 1876
Treated as a sub-chapter of the Great Cordon and the Necklace, unprecedentedly operated independently
Officially incorporated into both sub-chapter in 2003 institutional reform.
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. ISBN978-1-890-97409-1; OCLC45437720