Medals of Honor (Japan)

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Medal of Honor

Medals of Honor (褒章, hōshō) are medals awarded by the Government of Japan. They are awarded to individuals who have done meritorious deeds and also to those who have achieved excellence in their field of work.[1] The Medals of Honor were established on December 7, 1881, and were first awarded the following year. Several expansions and amendments have been made since then. The medal design for all six types are the same, bearing the stylized characters 褒章 on a gilt central disc surrounded by a silver ring of cherry blossoms on the obverse; only the colors of the ribbon differ.

If for some reason an individual were to receive a second medal of the same ribbon colour, then a second medal is not issued but rather a new bar is added to their current medal. The Medals of Honor are awarded twice each year, on April 29 (the birthday of the Shōwa Emperor) and November 3 (the birthday of the Meiji Emperor).


Hitoshi Narita stands at near right, wearing the Japanese Medal of Honor with purple ribbon. Dr. Narita stands with H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (middle) and with the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Alec Broers, now Lord Broers (left). The three men were photographed on the evening of a formal dinner following Narita's election as a fellow of the Academy in 2002.

Red ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1882. Awarded to individuals who have risked their own lives to save the lives of others.

Green ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1882. Originally awarded "to children, grandchildren, wives and servants for remarkable acts of piety; and to individuals who, through their diligence and perseverance while engaging in their professional activities, became public role models".

Changed social values after World War II had resulted in the conferment of this medal being suspended after 1950; since 1955 it has been replaced to some extent by the revived Medal with Yellow Ribbon (see below). However, in 2003 the Medal with Green Ribbon was revived as an award to morally remarkable individuals who have actively taken part in serving society.[citation needed]

Yellow ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1887 (later abolished); revived in 1955. Awarded to individuals who, through their diligence and perseverance while engaging in their professional activities, became public role models.

Purple ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1955. Awarded to individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.

Blue ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1882. Awarded to individuals who have made significant achievements in the areas of public welfare or public service.

Dark blue ribbon[edit]

First awarded in 1919. Awarded to individuals who have made exceptionally generous financial contributions for the well-being of the public.

Select recipients[edit]


  • Samuel Robinson[2]
  • Jun YAN, a People's Republic of China citizen who saved a Japanese child on Sept. 2013
  • Anuj Raj Karki, a Nepalese citizen who saved a Japanese girl who was lying unconscious on railway track.





Dark blue[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Honor awarded 1923 – National Maritime Museum (UK)
  3. ^ Honor awarded 2008
  4. ^ Honor awarded 2009 (Okayama Prefecture)
  5. ^ Honor awarded 2009 (Osaka Prefecture)
  6. ^ Honor Awarded 2008
  7. ^ Honor Awarded 1996
  8. ^ Awarded 29 April 2007
  9. ^ Honor awarded 2016
  10. ^
  11. ^ Honor awarded 1955
  12. ^ Japan Foundation – Toshiko Akiyoshi
  13. ^ Honor awarded 1990 – Office of Naval Research (US): "Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh admits Office of Naval Research engineer to United Kingdom's Royal Academy of Engineering," Press release. November 11, 2002.
  14. ^ Honor conferred 1960 – North Austin Tae Kwan Do: "Chronology of the Life of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido."
  15. ^ The Japan Prize Foundation: Dr. Yasuharu Suematsu. Dated 2014, Archived copy at
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Honor awarded 2009 (Tokyo Prefecture) Archived 2005-05-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "678 individuals, 24 groups awarded Medals of Honor," Archived 2009-11-03 at the Wayback Machine. Mainichi Shimbun. November 3, 2009; "Ghibli Composer Joe Hisaishi Awarded Medal of Honour," Anime News Network. November 3, 2009.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Actor, folk art researcher Ozawa dies". Kyodo. Japan Times. 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  21. ^ "Renowned director Fukasaku, of 'Battle Royale' fame, dies". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  22. ^ "ANIME NEWS: 'Akira' creator Katsuhiro Otomo honored by government". Asahi Shimbun. 2013-11-13. Archived from the original on 2013-11-16. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Chika Kuroda (1884~1968)". Ochanomizu University. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Yasui, Kono (1880–1971)". Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Hill, Edith Naomi, ed. (July 1929). "Clara A. Converse is Honored by Japan". The Smith Alumnae Quarterly. Northampton, Massachusetts: The Alumnae Association of Smith College. 20 (4): 427. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  31. ^ Honor awarded 1960 – Sony Corporation: [1].
  32. ^ Honor awarded 2009 (Nagasaki Prefecture)
  33. ^ a b Honor awarded 2009 (Kyoto Prefecture)
  34. ^ Sony, "Passing of Norio Ohga, Senior Advisor and former President and Chairman, Sony Corporation," April 23, 2011; retrieved 2011-08-08
  35. ^ Honor awarded 1984 – Toyota Motor Corporation: Toyoda, Honorary Chairman.
  36. ^ Honor awarded 2009 (Fukuoka Prefecture)
  37. ^ Gōjū Kai website
  38. ^ Parker, Fitzgerald (1936). Twenty-Sixth Annual Report, Woman's Missionary Counci of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Home Mission Movement, 1935–1936. Nashville, Tennessee: Methodist Episcopal Church, South Whitmore & Smith, Agents. 
  39. ^ [2]
  40. ^ "Official Opening of the MBI Al Jaber Building". Corpus Christi College, Oxford. 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 


  • 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. ISBN 1-890974-09-9

External links[edit]