Background

The Korean flag was introduced at the end of the 19th century. It is believed that Young-Hyo Park came up with the first concept:

Eum Yang

The red and blue symbol is known in Korean as the ‘Taeguk’ and represents the philosophy of Eum-Yang (or Yin-Yang in Chinese). The colour blue symbolises ‘Eum’ which represents dark, cold and all things negative. The colour red is ‘Yang’ and represents bright, hot and all thing positive. Eum-Yang refers to the origin of all things/harmony/balance and can be applied in many ways, for example Spring is Yin with respect to Summer and it is at the same time Yang with respect to the winter.

Trigrams

The white background of the flag symbolises peace and the four trigrams at the corners (‘Kwe’) represent opposites and balance, these are:

Heaven (‘Kun’)

Korean flag trigram Heaven

Earth (‘Kon’)

Korean flag trigram Earth

Water (‘Kam’)

Korean flag trigram Water

Fire (‘Yi’)

Korean flag trigram Fire

During the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), the Korean flag was outlawed in public places. The flag is now a great source of pride representing independence and freedom.

 

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