What does the flag of South Korea look like? The South Korean flag is white with a red and blue taegeuk in the middle, and there are four different sets of black bars near each corner of the flag.
Meaning of the Flag
Not only is the flag of South Korea one of the most unique designs in the world, but the design actually has significant symbolism. Even something as seemingly simple as the white background has meaning. Let’s break down all of the symbolism found in this flag, beginning with that simple background.
The color white has always played a significant role in South Korea’s history. White symbolizes peace and purity, and it was a very common color of attire during the 19th century. Today, though it is not as prevalent, it is still found in traditional South Korean attire.
The circle in the middle represents yin-yang – or balance in the universe. Half of the circle is symbolic of positive forces, while the other half is symbolic of negative forces, each of which balances the other out.
The trigrams together represent harmony and movement. Each individual trigram also has its own meaning. Each is symbolic of a celestial body – heaven, sun, moon and earth – as well as virtues including humanity, justice, intelligence and courtesy.
Colors of the Flag
The flag of South Korea features four colors: white, black, red and blue. The white background is a traditional color in Korean culture that symbolizes purity and peace. The color of black is used for the four trigrams, each representing a different virtue. The yin-yang in the middle is half red and half blue, with blue symbolizing negative cosmic forces, while red represents positive cosmic forces.
History of the Flag
Prior to 1876, Korea did not have a national flag. Until that time, the lack of a flag did not pose a problem. However, an issue arose during the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876 when the Japanese flag was exhibited, and Korea had none to show. It was proposed at that time to create a national flag, but the government did not view this to be of importance. By the next decade, an increase in negotiations led to more of a need for a national flag. However, a few years passed and no national flag was in place. Ma Jianzhong proposed using a flag with a white background, a red and black circle and eight black bars. It was in 1882 when the flag was used for the first time, and the next year, it was officially designated as the national flag.
After Korea gained its independence in 1945, the flag known as Taegukgi remained in use. However, just a few years later in 1949 when South Korea was established as a separate state that the current flag was designed and made official. In 1984, the exact dimensions of the flag were codified and in 1997, the exact colors were specified in a presidential decree.
The flag of South Korea is known by the name of Taegukgi.
The name Taegukgi translated in English means “supreme ultimate flag.”
It is believed that the flag of South Korea is representative of the Korean race as a whole – not simply the South Korean nation-state.
The film “Tae Guk Gi” is named after the flag of South Korea.