Do you know the meaning of the Korean flag?

korean flag

Before coming to South Korea I did not know much about this country and every day of life here is a discovery of some new facts and interesting anecdotes  about this culture.

This weekend the Korean flag is up on every mast and even on cars around Seoul (and around the country) as yesterday (15th August) was South Korea’s Independence Day and the country was celebrating its independence from the Japanese occupation (15 August 1945). This weekend the Pope also happens to be in Seoul.

Having seen the flag of South Korea before I was not aware of its meaning and symbolism but recently I read some information about it and I was extremely fascinated by the deep meaning of its design.

The flag of South Korea is also known as Taegugki (태극기) a word that corresponds to the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters of太極 [pinyin = tàijí]). Taegugk  is a symbol signifying opposite and complimentary forces of the universe; a concept derived from the Yin & Yang philosophy.  The flag is composed of a white background symbolising peace and purity, a red and blue Taegugk at the centre and four black trigrams (Kwae) positioned around the Taegugk symbolising four philosophical classical elements.

Each Kwae starting from the top left and moving clockwise represents a number of elements as follows:

  • Heaven, Spring, East and Virtue
  • Moon, Winter, North, Knowledge/Wisdom
  • Sun, Autumn, South, Courtesy
  • Earth, Summer, West, Justice

There is a lot more information on the meaning and history of the Korean flag out there. Just google “meaning of the Korean Flag” and you will find plenty.




One thought on “Do you know the meaning of the Korean flag?

  1. Interesting – thanks.  Perhaps if more parts of the world had flags with peaceful meanings things would be less mad than they are at present.   How is your course going?  Is it next week that your mother and aunt come?  We may try and skype you when they are with you – NB J/dad is 75 next weekend on 24th – Clara and co will be here.

    J and I are both recuperating from a very nasty tummy upset and J also got one of his bad allergic reactions with it but his rash is now going down thank goodness.  We don’t know what caused it and don’t know of anyone else with it though not been out and about as usual.  There is an outbreak of Salmonella in the UK and part of Europe but not in the NE of the UK (unless we are the first!) It was unfortunate that we had Michael Jones a distant cousin from New Zealand staying with us so he had to get his own meals but luckily didn’t catch it and is apparently still OK.  

    Did you see the pope?

    Love A/mum  


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