Order of the Precious Crown

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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

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 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.

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 1917, 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
JPN Hokan-sho 1Class BAR.svg
Grand Cordon, Paulownia
JPN Hokan-sho 2Class BAR.svg
Second Class, Peony
JPN Hokan-sho 3Class BAR.svg
Third Class, Butterfly
JPN Hokan-sho 4Class BAR.svg
Fourth Class, Wisteria
JPN Hokan-sho 5Class BAR.svg
Fifth Class, Apricot
JPN Hokan-sho 6Class BAR.svg
Sixth Class, Ripples
JPN Hokan-sho 7Class BAR.svg
Seventh Class, Medal (abolished 2003)
JPN Hokan-sho 8Class BAR.svg
Eighth Class, Medal (abolished 2003)

Selected recipients[edit]

First Class, Grand Cordon[edit]

Second Class[edit]

Third Class[edit]

Fourth Class[edit]

Fifth Class[edit]

Jean Charlotte Barnes Morden 1923-2010

Sixth Class[edit]

Seventh Class[edit]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ The Royal Forums, State visit of japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
  8. ^ "Malaysia THE KINGS or SUPREME HEADS OF STATE". The Royal Ark. August 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  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. ^ Haines, Catharine M. C. (2001). International Women in Science: A Biographical Dictionary to 1950. ABC-CLIO. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-57607-090-1.
  16. ^ "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. (Subscription required (help)).
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ ""La Duquesa de Alba no tiene que hacerle la reverencia al Rey" ForoCoches". forocoches.com.
  19. ^ Dava, Valerie. "World Traveler, Explorer, Photographer; James Ricalton brought the world to his Maplewood students," Matters Magazine.


External links[edit]