National anthem of the Korean Empire

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대한제국 애국가
English: "Korean Empire Aegukga"
"Daehan Jeguk Aegukga"
대한제국 애국가 원가사.gif

Former national anthem of  Korea
Also known as(English: "Anthem of the Korean Empire")
LyricsMin Young Hwan, 1902 (1902)[1]
MusicFranz Eckert, 1902 (1902)
Adopted1902 (1902)
RelinquishedAugust 1910 (1910-08)
Audio sample
"Patriotic Hymn of the Great Korean Empire" (instrumental)
National anthem of the Korean Empire
대한제국 애국가
Revised RomanizationDaehan Jeguk Aegukga
McCune–ReischauerTaehan Cheguk Aegukka

The "Patriotic Hymn of the Great Korean Empire" (Korean대한제국 애국가; Hanja大韓帝國愛國歌; lit. "Great Korean empire loving country song") was the national anthem of the Korean Empire, used during the early 20th century. It was the first national anthem of a unified Korean state and to date, the last one.


The national anthem was first commissioned by Emperor Gojong in 1901 and presented to the Korean court on 1 July 1902, by German composer Franz Eckert, who was the director of the Korean Empire's military band at the time.[2] It was published in Germany in five different languages (Korean, German, English, Chinese, and French) and performed for the first time on 9 September 1902, during Emperor Gojong's birthday ceremony.[3]

The imminent demise of the Korean Empire's independence, however, meant that the state anthem did not become widely promulgated or available. With the signing of the Eulsa Treaty in 1905, the Korean Empire was made into a colony of the Empire of Japan and in 1910 was annexed outright by Japan with "Kimigayo" replacing the Korean national anthem.

Lyrics (monarchist version)[edit]

Original Korean English Modern Korean translation

상뎨(上帝)는 우리 황뎨(皇帝)를 도으ᄉᆞ
ᄒᆡ옥듀(海屋籌)를 산(山)갓치 ᄡᆞ으시고
위권(威權)이 환영(寰瀛)에 ᄯᅳᆯ치사
오! 쳔만셰(千萬歲)에 복녹(福祿)이 일신(一新)케 ᄒᆞ소셔
상뎨(上帝)는 우리 황뎨(皇帝)를 도우소셔

God, help our Emperor.
May he long live and
heap up the beads of longevity like a mountain,
and spread his power and influence across the whole world.
Oh, may his happiness forever be renewed each day.
God, help our Emperor.

하느님, 우리 황제를 도우소서.
해옥주를 산같이 쌓으시고
위세와 권력이 천하에 떨치사
오, 영원토록 복이 매일 새롭게 하소서.
하느님, 우리 황제를 도우소서.

It was the original version made for Emperor Gojong.[4]

Lyrics (republican version)[edit]

The republican lyrics were re-discovered on 13 August 2004, by curator Lee Dong-guk of the Seoul Calligraphy Art Museum.[5] The surviving specimen was a copy kept by the Korean-American Club of Honolulu-Wahiawa and published in 1910 under the title Korean old national hymn in English and 죠션국가 (lit. Korean national anthem) in Korean.[5][3][6]

The discovery came as a surprise even in South Korea, where the existence of the republican lyrics was unknown until then. The finding was later reported in the mass media and has since then been performed by various K-pop artists. Hawaii has been a source for various pre-Japanese annexation heritage investigations by South Korea since many Korean Empire citizens emigrated to Hawaii before the Japanese annexation. One recent incident involved a Korean Empire émigré descendant donating a very rare 100-plus-year-old original passport issued by the Korean Empire to South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun during his visit to Hawaii.

The republican lyrics are:

republican Korean with hanja added Romanisation (RR) English Modern Korean translation Romanisation (RR)

샹뎨(上帝)는 우리 나라를 도으소셔

영원(永遠) 무궁(無窮)토록
나라 태평(太平)ᄒᆞ고 인민(人民)은 안락(安樂)ᄒᆞ야

위권(威權)이 셰상(世上)에 ᄯᅥᆯ치여
독립(獨立) 자유(自由) 부강(富强)을 일신(日新)케 ᄒᆞᆸ소셔

샹뎨(上帝)는 우리 나라를 도으소셔

syangdyeneun uri narareul do-eusosyeo

yeong-won mugungtolok
nala taepyeonghago inmineun anlakhaya

wigwon-i syesang-e sdeolchiyeo
doklib jayu bugang-eul ilsinke habsosyeo

syangdyeneun uri narareul do-eusosyeo

God, help our nation.
Forever and ever
may our nation be peaceful and her people live in comfort;
may her power and influence spread across the world;
may her independence, liberty and wealth be renewed every day.
God, help our nation.

하느님, 우리나라를 도우소서.
영원무궁토록 나라 태평하고
인민은 안락하여
위세와 권력이 세상에 떨치여
독립 자유 부강을 매일 새롭게 하소서.
하느님, 우리나라를 도우소서.

Haneunim, uri narareul dousoseo
yeong-won mugungtolok nala taepyeonghago
inmin-eun anlakhayeo
wisewa gwonlyeok-i sesang-e tteolchiyeo
doklib jayu bugang-eul maeil saelopge hasoseo
Haneunim, uri narareul dousoseo

While the copy appearing in the source[7] appears markedly newer than the 1900s and calls it the "Korean national anthem" (Korean: 죠션 국가) instead of "Patriotic song of the Korean Empire" (大韓帝國愛國歌) as one would expect from a 1900s original, it clearly shows pre-1933 orthography (reproduced here) that was not used after the 1940s.

See also[edit]

  • "Aegukga", the national anthem of South Korea
  • "Aegukka", the national anthem of North Korea


  1. ^ "Anthem of the Korean Empire". NationalAnthems.
  2. ^ "네이버 :: 페이지를 찾을 수 없습니다". Archived from the original on 2004-10-15. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  3. ^ a b "네이버 :: 페이지를 찾을 수 없습니다". Archived from the original on 2004-10-15. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  4. ^ "KOREA DATABASE AGENCY". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  5. ^ a b (in Korean) 카페 Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Blog regarding the KBS-TV broadcast of Korean Empire Anthem".[dead link]
  7. ^ [1]