The Korean Flag

The Korean Flag is named “T'aegukki” after the symbol in the center, known as the taeguk circle. This symbol is derived from traditional oriental philosophy, with the opposing forces of yin (blue) and yang (red) that achieve perfect harmony and balance. The white background is representative of the purity and peace-loving spirit of the Korean people. The four trigrams surrounding the taeguk circle are combinations of yin and yang each with their own meaning. The long line (—) represents yang while the two small lines (- -) represent yin. The top left for example has three yang lines, symbolizing heaven. The full guide of yin-yang combinations is shown below:

Yin-yin-yin (bottom right)- Earth or Fertility

Yin-yang-yin (top right) – Water or Life

Yang-yin-yang (bottom left) – Fire or Wisdom

Yang-yang-yang (top left) – Heaven or Justice

Older flags have four more combinations with a total of 8 trigrams:

Yin-yin-yang – Mountain

Yin-yang-yang – Wind

Yang-yin-yin – Thunder

Yang-yang-yin - Lake

The yin-yang symbol in the middle is commonly believed to be a Chinese symbol, but while its origins are unknown, its first representation was found in Korea inscribed in stone.

History of the Korea Flag:

The history of the Korean flag is largely uncertain and widely disputed. The flag is commonly believed to be originally created by Park Yeong-Hyo in 1882 for the purpose of hoisting it on Korean ships during Korea’s first foreign envoy to Japan. More recent evidence however, suggests that the flag was displayed during the Treaty of Chemulpo between Korea and the United States, months before the Japanese envoy. The flag was officially adopted in 1883. Although Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910 and the Korean flag was banned, it was readopted in 1948 with the establishment of the Republic of Korea. Slight alterations were made in 1950 and again in 1984 when the current version of the flag was introduced.



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