Korea first felt the need for a national flag as it was preparing to conclude the Korean-American Treaty of Commerce, which was concluded on May 22 and signed on June 6, 1882. This was during the 19th year of the reign of King Gojong of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910).
Korea adopted a blue and red yin-yang on a white field, a favorite Korean design since ancient times. Thus, the taegeuk design flag became the temporary national flag. Later Korea added eight trigrams combinations of three unbroken and broken bars - around the taegeuk circle and thereby creating the taegeukgi, which served as the national colors for a while.
King Gojong appointed Bak Yeoung-hyo as his ambassador to Japan in September 1882. While aboard ship heading for Japan, Bak drew a national flag with a taegeuk circle but included only four trigrams instead of eight, and started using the flag on the 25th of that month. On October 3, Bak reported this change to King Gojong who formally proclaimed the Taegeukgi as the national flag on March 6, 1883. For some unknown reason, however, he did not have formal instructions published at that time on how to make the flag. In fact, it wasn't till June 29, 1942, that the provisional Korean government in exile enacted a law on the uniform method of making the national flag. The law was promulgated but as the government was in exile, it was not widely known to Koreans at home still under Japanese colonial rule.
Following the founding of the Republic of Korea on August 15, 1948, the government felt that it should codify the method of making the national flag. This prompted the government to form a special commission in January 1949 that issued the provision on the national flag on October 15 of that year. Since then, the Republic of Korea has been using the Taegeukgi as the national flag.
Standard color shades of Taegeukgi, the Korean National Flag are follows: in the CIE System, the x, y, and Y coordinates for the red are x=0.5640, y=0.3194, Y=15.3; for the blue, x=0.1556, y=0.1354, Y=6.5. Alternatively, in the Munsell System of Color Notation, the red corresponds to 6.0R 4.5/14, and the blue to 5.0PB 3.0/12. In the Pantone Matching System, 186C red and 294C blue are recommended.
1) Diameter of circle x 3
2) Diameter of circle x 2
3) Height of flag x 1/2
4) Height of flag x 1/4
5) Diameter of circle x 1/4
6) Diameter of circle x 1/2
7) Diameter of circle x 1/3
8) Diameter of circle x 1/12
9) Diameter of circle x 1/24
10) Right angle(90 degrees)
The Meaning of the Taegeukgi
Taegeukgi, the national flag of the Republic of Korea, consists of a blue and red yin-yang circle in the center, one black trigram in each of the four corners, and a white background.
The white background of Taegeukgi symbolizes light and purity and reflects the Korean people's traditional affinity for peace.
The yin-yang circle, divided equally into a blue portion below and a red portion above, represents the dual cosmic forces of yin (blue) and yang (red). It symbolizes universal harmony, in which the passive and the active, the feminine and the masculine, form the whole. The four trigrams of Geon, Gon, Gam, and Li, which surround the yin-yang circle, denote the process of yin and yang going through a series of changes and growth.
Geon (), with three solid bars in the upper left-hand corner, denotes "heaven". Gon (), with three evenly divided bars in the lower right-hand corner, denotes "earth". Gam (), with one evenly divided bar on each side of one solid bar in the upper right-hand corner, denotes "water". And Li (), with one solid bar on each side of one evenly divided bar in the lower left-hand corner, denotes"fire".
Collectively, the yin-yang circle and the four trigrams represent universal harmony and unity. Taegeukgi embodies the ideals of all Koreans, who have pursued creativity and prosperity under universal principles and truth.
Therefore, Koreans are dedicated to working harmoniously to carry out the nation's tasks of unifying its people and contributing toward world peace and prosperity.
Manner to the Flag
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
"Before this proud Taegeukgi, I firmly pledge my loyalty and will devote my body and soul to the eternal glory of my country and people."
When and How to Fly the Flag
Days on which the Flag is flown
Other days the government designates as national holidays
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- March 1 - Independence Movement Day (Anniversary of the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement)
- July 17 - Constitution Day
- August 15 - Liberation Day
- October 1 - Armed Forces Day
- October 3 - National Foundation Day
- October 9 - Hangeul Day (Anniversary of the promulgation of the Korean alphabet in 1446)
Places Where the Flag is Flown All Year Round
- The flag may be flown on days local autonomous governments or provincial or city councils designate as local holidays.
- The flag is flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning on Memorial Day (June 6), during periods of national mourning, and for state or public funerals.
Raising and Lowering the Flag
- It is obligatory to fly the flag every day at national and local government offices, public organizations, schools, and military installations.
- It is recommended that the flag be flown at places where international events are held such as hotels, large buildings, and parks where large crowds assemble, along the walls of government buildings and anywhere flag polls are installed.
- Private homes and other places may display the national flag all year round if the residents so wish.
How to Fly the Flag
- The flag may be flown 24 hours a day, but if flown at night, it must be illuminated.
- Schools and military units are required to fly the flag only during daylight hours.
- The flag should not be flown if there is any possibility that it might be torn or damaged by wind or rain.
On national holidays and ordinary days,
it should be flown at full-mast.
On days of mourning,
it should be flown at half-mast.
|When the flag is flown in a line with other flags in three or in other odd numbers,
it is should be placed in the center.
|When the number of flags is even, the flag is flown on the left end as viewed from the front.
* When the flag is flown in Korea together with the U.N. flag and flags of other countries, they should be flown in the following order: the U.N. flag, the Korean flag and flags of other countries in alphabetical order.
Order of Raising or Lowering the Flag
Safekeeping and Care of the National Flag
- When the flag is raised along with other flags, it should either be raised first or simultaneously with the others.
- When the flag is lowered with other flags, it should either be lowered last or simultaneously with the others.
Authorized Uses of the Flag
- The flag must be folded with great care and stored in a flag box or other container for safekeeping. Additionally, the box or container must be stored in plain sight and be easily accessible.
- If the flag is dirtied or wrinkled, it may be washed and ironed with care so to ensure not to distort its original form.
- If the flag is damaged or worn out, it should not be discarded casually or used for other purposes; it should be burned in a discreet place.
The national flag, or its design, may be used on school and office supplies, sporting goods, and other items when used in a way that shows due respect for the flag and its people.
However, the national flag, or its design, may not be used, whether in part or in whole, in any way that degrades the flag or its people.