Flag of South Korea
|Name||Taegukgi / Taegeukgi
|Use||National flag and ensign|
|Adopted||January 27, 1883 (original version, used by the Joseon dynasty)
August 15, 1948 (as the flag of South Korea)
October 1997 (current version)
Variant flag of South Korea
|Flag of South Korea|
The flag of South Korea, also known as the Taegukgi (also spelled as Taegeukgi, literally "supreme ultimate flag"), has three parts: a white rectangular background, a red and blue Taeguk, symbolizing balance, in its center, and four black trigrams selected from the original eight, one toward each corner.
The flag's background is white, a traditional color in Korean culture. White was common in the daily attire of 19th-century Koreans, and it still appears in contemporary versions of traditional Korean garments, such as the hanbok. The color represents peace and purity.
The circle in the middle is derived from the philosophy of yin-yang and represents balance in the universe. The red half represents positive cosmic forces, and the blue half represents the opposing negative cosmic forces.
|Trigram||Korean Name||Celestial Body||Season||Cardinal Direction||Virtue||Family||Natural Element||Meaning|
(건 / 乾)
(천 / 天)
(춘 / 春)
(동 / 東)
(인 / 仁)
(부 / 父)
(천 / 天)
(정의 / 正義)
(리 / 離)
(일 / 日)
(추 / 秋)
(남 / 南)
(의 / 義)
(녀 / 女)
(화 / 火)
(결실 / 結實)
(감 / 坎)
(월 / 月)
(동 / 冬)
(북 / 北)
(지 / 智)
(자 / 子)
(수 / 水)
(지혜 / 智慧)
(곤 / 坤)
(지 / 地)
(하 / 夏)
(서 / 西)
(례 / 禮)
(모 / 母)
(토 / 土)
(생명력 / 生命力)
The absence of a national flag only became an issue for Korea in 1876, during the reign of the Joseon dynasty. Before 1876, Korea did not assert a need for or the importance of a national flag. The issue arose during the negotiations for the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, at which the delegate of the Empire of Japan displayed the Japanese national flag, whereas the Joseon Dynasty had no corresponding national symbol to exhibit. At that time, some proposed to create a national flag, but the Korean government looked upon the matter as unimportant and unnecessary. By 1880, the proliferation of foreign negotiations led to the need for a national flag. The most popular proposal was described in the "Korea Strategy" papers, written by the Chinese delegate Huang Zunxian. It proffered to incorporate the flag of the Qing Dynasty of China into that of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. In response to the Chinese proposal, the Korean government dispatched delegate Lee Young-Sook to consider the scheme with Chinese statesman and diplomat Li Hongzhang. Li agreed with some elements of Huang's suggestion while accepting that Korea would make some alterations. The Qing government assented to Li's conclusions, but the degree of enthusiasm with which the Joseon government explored this proposal is unknown.
The issue remained unpursued for a period, re-emerging with the negotiation of the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882, also known as the Shufeldt Treaty. The controversy arose after the delegate Lee Eung-Jun presented a flag similar to the flag of Japan to the Chinese official Ma Jianzhong. In response to the discussion, Ma Jianzhong argued against the proposed idea of using the flag of the Qing Dynasty and proposed a flag with a white background, with a half-red and half-black circle in the center, with eight black bars around the flag. On August 22, 1882, Park Yeong-hyo created a scale model of the Taegukgi to the Joseon government. Park Yeong-hyo became the first person to use the Taegukgi in the Empire of Japan in 1882. On January 27, 1883, the Joseon government officially promulgated Taegukgi to be used as the official national flag.
After the restoration of Korean independence in 1945, the Taegukgi remained in use after the southern portion of Korea became a democratic republic under the influence of the United States but also used by the People's Republic of Korea. At the same time, the flag of the United States was also used by the United States Army Military Government in Korea alongside with the Taegukgi. Following the establishment of the South Korean state in August 1948, the current flag was declared official by the government of South Korea on October 15, 1949, although it had been used as the de facto national flag before then.
Role in contemporary South Korean society
According to scholar Brian Reynolds Myers, the South Korean flag in the context of the country's society tends to represent a grander nationalistic idea of a "Korean race" rather than merely symbolizing the South Korean nation-state itself.
The name of the South Korean flag was also used as the name of a 2004 South Korean film about the Korean War, Tae Guk Gi.
Historical progression of designs
The width and height are in the ratio of 3 to 2. There are five sections on the flag, the taegeuk and the four groups of bars. The diameter of the circle is half of the height. The top of the taegeuk should be red and the bottom of the taegeuk should be blue. The groups of bars are put in the four corners of the flag.
The colors of the Taegukgi are specified in the "Ordinance Act of the Law concerning the National Flag of the Republic of Korea." (Korean: 대한민국 국기법 시행령) There were no exact specifications regarding the colors until 1997, when the South Korean government decided to provide standard specifications for the flag. In October 1997, a Presidential ordinance on the standard specification of the South Korean flag was promulgated, and that specification was acceded by the National Flag Law in July 2007.
The colors are defined in legislation by the Munsell and CIE color systems:
|Scheme||Munsell||CIE (x, y, Y)||Pantone||Hex triplet|
|Red||6.0R 4.5/14||0.5640, 0.3194, 15.3||186 Coated||#CD2E3A|
|Blue||5.0PB 3.0/12||0.1556, 0.1354, 6.5||294 Coated||#0047A0|
Taegukgi of the Joseon dynasty (before 1800)
Taegukgi by Park Yeong-hyo (September 1882)
Flag of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea from 1919 to 1945 with a different design of the Taegeuk.
Flag of southern Korea from 1945 to 1948; this flag is similar to the current South Korean flag with the exception of two of the four kwaes and a smaller version of the Taegeuk.
- List of Korean flags
- List of South Korean flags
- Korean Unification Flag
- Flag of North Korea
- Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of South Korea
- Taegeuk, Taiji, Yinyang, Trigrams
- Daoism in Korea
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- O'Carroll, Chad (2014). "BR Myers - Current Issues". Retrieved September 11, 2017 – via YouTube.
The South Korean flag continues to function, at least in South Korea, not as a symbol of the state but as a symbol of the race.
- "국가상징 > 태극기 > 태극기 더보기 > 국기의 제작". theme.archives.go.kr.
- "National Flag". infokorea.ru. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Moscow. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
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