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瑞宝章

The Zuihôshô, Imperial Order of the Sacred Treasure, is awarded by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan for long and meritorius service to the nation. It represents two of the Imperial sacred treasures: the Yata Mirror and Yasakani Jewels, both of which figure prominently in the design of the medal.

There are actually eight classes of the Order. The five lower classes are awarded as simple pin-on medals, the third class hangs around the neck, the second class pins to the breast, and the first class is a Grand Cordon. All of the medals use 37mm light blue ribbon with 4mm orange stripes on each side: the exact design varies from class to class, although all classes basically feature the mirror in the center, the jewels around it, and a series of leaves emanating from around the two. The design becomes larger and more complex as the class increases.

Women can receive the Order, but they wear it in the form of a ribbon instead of a medal. About 8,000 people receive the award each year, some of them gaijin.

The Order of the Sacred Treasure ranks below the Supreme Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum and the Grand Imperial Order of the Rising Sun in Japanese Imperial honors.

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