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Flag of South Korea
Hangul 태극기
Revised Romanization Taegeukgi
McCune–Reischauer T'aegŭkki
Flag of South Korea
See adjacent text.
Name Taegeukgi
Use National flag and civil and state ensign
Proportion 2:3
Adopted March 6, 1883
See adjacent text.
Use Naval ensign
Proportion 2:3
Adopted September 1955

The flag of South Korea, or Taegeukgi (also spelled Taegukgi in convention) was taken from the Chinese design of the yin and yang symbol and has three parts: a white background; a red and blue taegeuk ("Taijitu" or "Yin and Yang") in the center; and four black trigrams, one in each corner of the flag.

The four trigrams originate in the Chinese book of I Ching, representing the four Taoist philosophical ideas about the universe: harmony, symmetry, balance, circulation. The general design of the flag also derives from traditional use of the tricolor symbol (red, blue and yellow) by Koreans starting from the early era of Korean history. The white background symbolizes "cleanliness of the people." The taegeuk represents the origin of all things in the universe; holding the two principles of "Yin", the negative aspect rendered in blue, and "Yang", the positive aspect rendered in red, in perfect balance. Together, they represent a continuous movement within infinity, the two merging as one. The four trigrams are

Name in Korean Nature Seasons Cardinal directions Four virtues Family Four elements Meanings
Palgwae Geon.svg geon (건 / ) sky (천 / ) spring (춘 / ) east (동 / ) humanity (인 / ) father (부 / ) metal (금 / ) justice (정의)
Palgwae Ri.svg ri (리 / ) sun (일 / ) autumn (추 / ) south (남 / ) courtesy (예 / ) son (중남 / ) fire (화 / ) wisdom (지혜)
Palgwae Gam.svg gam (감 / ) moon (월 / ) winter (동 / ) north (북 / ) intelligence (지 / ) daughter (중녀 / ) water (수 / ) vitality (생명력)
Palgwae Gon.svg gon (곤 / ) earth (지 / ) summer (하 / ) west (서 / 西) righteousness (의 / ) mother (모 / ) earth (토 / ) fertility (풍요)

Traditionally, the four trigrams are related to the Five Elements of fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. An analogy could also be drawn with the four western classical elements.



Although the revised official Romanization is Taegeukgi, the word Taegukgi has been used in English-speaking countries historically.


The earliest surviving depiction of the flag was printed in a U.S. Navy book Flags of Maritime Nations in July 1882.

The flag was first adopted as a symbol by the kingdom of Korea in 1882. During the Japanese rule of Korea (1910–1945), the flag was banned. The taegeukgi was used as a symbol of resistance and independence during the Japanese occupation and ownership of it was punishable by execution. After independence, both North and South Korea initially adopted versions of the taegeukgi, but North Korea later changed its national flag to a more Soviet-inspired design after three years (see article Flag of North Korea).[1]




Flag construction sheet


The official colours of Taegukgi are specified on the "Ordinance Act of the Law concerning the National Flag of the Republic of Korea (대한민국국기법시행령).[2][3] There was no specification for shade of colours until 1997, when South Korean government decided to provide standard specification for the flag. On October, 1997, Presidential ordinance on the standard specification of the flag of the Republic of Korea was promulgated[4], and that specification was acceded by the National Flag Law in 2007.

The colours are defined in legislation by the Munsell and CIE colour systems:

Scheme Munsell[5] CIE (x, y, Y)[5] Pantone[6]
White N 0.5 N/A N/A
Red 6.0R 4.5/14 0.5640, 0.3194, 15.3 186 Coated
Blue 5.0PB 3.0/12 0.1556, 0.1354, 6.5 294 Coated
Black N 9.5 N/A N/A


The South Korean flag is sometimes drawn differently from the official version. Sometimes the taegeuki is reversed to make it a taoist Yin-Yang, which traditionally goes clockwise. The gwae may be transposed, possibly in error but possibly because they wish to restore the traditional Asian meanings. South Koreans themselves have different ways of interpreting the traditional symbols.

See also


External links


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