What Does the Korean Flag Mean?

Written by jim orrill
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What Does the Korean Flag Mean?
South Korea's flag has only undergone minor alterations since 1883. (south korea flag icon. (with clipping path) image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com)

Each design element on the North and South Korean flags has a distinct meaning. South Korea's flag was flown by Korea while it was a unified nation, before being split into North and South Korea by Allied and Soviet occupiers following World War II.


Korea officially adopted their flag in 1883. Japan banned Koreans from displaying their flag after forcibly annexing Korea in 1910. South Korea readopted the original flag upon regaining nationhood in 1948 and aside from minor modifications adopted in 1950 and 1984, it's the same flag that's flown today.

South Korean Flag

"Taegeukgi" is the Korean name for the South Korean flag, which features a red and blue Yin-Yang symbol in the centre of a white background, surrounded by four trigrams. The red upper half of the symbol represents Yang's assertive forces while the blue lower half represents Yin's receptive nature. The four trigrams stand for earth, air, fire and water.

North Korean Flag

The North Korean flag was adopted in 1948 and features two horizontal stripes bordering a wide red centre stripe with a red star near its centre. The blue stripes stand for sovereignty, friendship and piece while the red star and stripe represent Communism.

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