The order of the rising sun was established in 1875 by the then Emporer Meiji.
There were 8 classes, with 1st class being the most prestigious. Women only started receiving this award in 2003. Prior to this they were awarded the Order of the Precious Crown. Along with the 8th class, the 7th class of the order was abolished in 2003.
The order is awarded for distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, developments of social /occupational welfare or preservation of the environment.
The medal features Paulonia flowers (higher orders also have a Star). It is made in enamelled silver. It comes in its own presentation box, along with a rosette buttonhole stud.
The medal measures approximately 3 cm (1.25") by 3 cm (1.25").