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Flag of South Korea

The Taegukgi, as the South Korean flag is often called, dates back to the end of the 19th century when political necessity compelled the Korean government to adopt a national flag. The fundamental design of the South Korea flag has changed very little since then, although the details of the flag have changed several times over the course of the years. The stability of the design is likely due to the fact that it is made up of several symbols that have been significant in Korean culture for hundreds of years.

  • Capital of Korea (South): Seoul
  • Area of Korea (South): 98,190 sq. km
  • Languages used in Korea (South): Korean, English
  • Religions in Korea (South): Christian, Buddhist, Confucianist

Colors and Symbolism of the South Korean Flag

The South Korean flag has a white field that displays a set of four trigrams in the corners and a red and blue Taeguk in the center. The Taeguk is a dualistic symbol that is significant to Daoists and practitioners of traditional Korean religion. It represents the balance of positive and negative forces in the universe. The trigrams represent harmony, movement, and the four classical elements. The white field represents peace and purity. It is also a symbol of traditional Korean culture due to the importance of the color in traditional Korean clothing. 

History of the South Korean Flag

The first proposals for a Korean flag emerged near the end of the 19th century in response to diplomatic negotiations between Korea and Japan. The Japanese delegate brought the national flag of Japan to the meetings, but Korea did not have a national flag of its own to display in the same way. The number of proposals and the need for a flag increased over time as the nation of Korean entered into more negotiations with nations that used national flags. The Korean government finally adopted the earliest form of the Taegukgi in 1883 following the ratification of the United States-Korea Treaty of 1882.


The flag of Japan began to fly over Korea in 1910, and it remained until the end of the second world war, which also saw the division of the unified Korean nation into the two countries of the modern world. The old flag was used as the model of the South Korea flag. It underwent minor changes in 1945, 1948, 1949, and 1997, and that sequence of changes finally brought about the flag that represents the nation today.