Etymology of the Korean currencies
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The won is the currency of both North and South Korea. Won is a cognate of the Chinese currency unit, the yuan, and the Japanese currency unit, the yen, meaning "round object". The won is subdivided into 100 jeon (전; 錢; McCune-Reischauer: chŏn; Revised Romanization: jeon).
Yang is a former Korean currency. It is a cognate of the Chinese tael (pronounced "liǎng" in Chinese). The yang was subdivided into 100 fun (pronounced "pun" but spelt with an "f" on the coins). Fun (푼) is a cognate of the Chinese word fen (分 fēn), referring to 1/100 of a Chinese yuan in modern context.
From 1892 to 1902, when the yang was used, 1 hwan/won (圜 = 圓 in Chinese) = 5 yang (兩), while in the Chinese monetary system of that time, 1 yuan (圓) = 0.72 tael (兩).
In 1902, the Dai-Ichi Bank (The First National Bank of Japan), which handled the Korean government's custom duties, obtained permission from the imperial Korean government to issue banknotes in yen replacing yang.
The table below summarizes the language used on the modern circulating and historical Korean currencies.
|Period||Subunit||Main unit||Super unit||Note|
|1902-1910||chon||錢||전||1/100||won||圓||원||None||1 won = 5 yang of the previous period|
|1902-1945||sen||錢||N/A||1/100||yen||圓||N/A||None||1 yen = 1 won = 5 yang|
|Due to the Japanese rule, the English transliterations were based on Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters.|
|chon||錢||전||1/100||won||圓||원||None||1 won = 1 yen in 1945
1 new won = 1 old won in 1959.
Use of Hanja disappeared after 1959
|chon||錢||전||1/100||won||圓||원||None||1 won = 1 yen|
|chon||錢||전||1/100||hwan||圜||환||None||1 hwan = 100 won of the previous period|
|jeon||錢||전||1/100||won||N/A||원||None||1 won = 10 hwan of the previous period|
|Bold = what was actually printed on the notes or engraved on the coins|
Use in the Western World
The word jeon is also used in Korean to translate the word "cent," and in this context is associated with bul (불, 弗), meaning "dollar." (The hanja character resembles the symbol "$".) These two words are used by Koreans living in the Western hemisphere when referring to dollar currencies.
Sign and computing
The won sign ("₩", a capital W with a horizontal stroke) is represented in Unicode at the code point 20A9 (8361 in decimal).
- Mun, U-Sik; Yi, Yŏng-sŏp (2012). Asian Monetary Integration: Coping with a New Monetary Order After the Global Crisis. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 1781009155.
- Bank of Korea. "화폐 < 홍보교육자료 < 우리나라 화폐단위 변경 | 한국은행 홈페이지. #1" (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-11-24.
한글로만 표기" → Translation: "Spelling in hangul only