First class
Second class
Order of the Rising Sun
1st & 2nd Classes
旭日章(一等・二等)
The Rising Sun award was the first of Japan's official orders, established in 1875. It has nine
classes, the highest being the 1st Class Rising Sun Order of the Paulonia Flowers. After that
award, there are 8 classes that are not only designated by a number but also by a name. So
oftentimes, on award documents, for example, the number of the class will not be indicated but
the name of the award will be. Here are the names in English:

1st Class Large Ribbon Award
2nd Class Heavy Light Award
3rd Class Medium Ribbon Award
4th Class Small Ribbon Award
5th Class Two Lights Rising Sun Award ('Two Lights': i.e., gold and silver plating)
6th Class One Light Rising Sun Award ('One Light': i.e., only silver plating)
7th Class Green Paulonia Leaves Award
8th Class White Paulonia Leaves Award

Note that these are literal translations. I haven't checked to see if they are the official English
translations.

From 1967 to 1987 only 14 Order of the Paulonia Flowers were awarded.
Women do not receive this award. The corresponding medal for women is the Order of the
Sacred Crown.
In 2003 the numbered classes were abolished. There are currently only 6 different medals. See
the Japan Mint page for details.
From a 1934 medal book
Early 1st Class award hand-signed by the Meiji Emperor.
Dated Meiji 13 [1880] June 7
Late Meiji 1st Class award hand-signed by the Meiji
Emperor. Dated Meiji 39 [1906] April 1.
LEFT: Obverse
RIGHT: Reverse
Order of the Rising Sun 2nd Class medal and breast star.

Original case.
A few words about the Order of the Rising Sun

A few examples of what kind of person could receive each class of medal. Note that these are only
examples and not limitations.

Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum: Emperors, Heads of Royal families of other
nations

Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Paulonia Leaves: Prime Ministers, National Office
Ministers, Imperial Family members

1st Class (Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun): Prime Ministers, National Office Ministers,
distinguished professors, heads of national committees

2nd Class: Examples of people who received this class: National Diet members, Ambassadors,
Imperial Household Agency heads, heads of government offices, Chief of Staff, Supreme Court
judges, public prosecutors, national and private university presidents, national and private university
professors, National Center heads, presidents of rail transport companies

3rd Class: Examples of people who received this class: National Diet members, Ambassadors,
Imperial Household Agency heads,  government leaders, government court officers, national police
department heads, Supreme Court judges, family court judges, local court judges, national and
private university presidents, national and private university professors, national art museum
directors, prefecture governors, vice-governors, mayors

4th Class: Examples of people who received this class: Imperial Household Agency department
heads, regional law office heads, regional government department heads, Self-Defense Forces & Air
Forces department heads, tax office heads, family court judges, national university professors,
national hospital department heads, local Diet members, mayors, public high school principals

5th Class: Examples of people who received this class: military officers of the 2nd & 3rd Classes,
police prefecture & department heads, tax auditors, court secretaries, labor officials, local Diet
members, city mayors & vice-mayors, land surveyors, fire station chiefs, fire department heads, post
office department heads, public junior high school principals, public school principals

6th Class: Examples of people who received this class: military officers of the 3rd Class, police
department heads, head nurses, judges and people in the court system, national university
professors, fire station chiefs, post office heads of various departments, land reform officers, regional
community group members, care of children group members

7th Class: Examples of people who received this class: government workers, judges and people in
the court system, police officers, patrolmen and women, fire station heads, post office heads

8th Class: Examples of people who received this class: The above named and everyone else

(Information  from the
Nakano Library online resource)