K-Lifestyle Wiki

Summary

Language and Letters

Most linguists place Korean in the Altaic language family, though some consider it to be a language isolate, meaning that it cannot be simply related with any other language. The written form of Korean uses Hangeul, a writing system commissioned by King Sejong (1397-1450) during the Joseon Dynasty. Koreans are very proud of this remarkable achievement, and Hangeul is a very efficient and easy script to learn and use.
Hangeul is composed of fourteen consonants and ten vowels. It can express virtually all the sounds produced by nature and humans. Every year, UNESCO presents the King Sejong Literacy Prize to people who have made a distinguished contribution to the elimination of illiteracy. The inclusion of ‘King Sejong’ in the name of the prize may be said to be tacit recognition of his greatest accomplishment, the creation of Hangeul, which is easy to learn and use.

National Flag (Taegeukgi)

The national flag of South Korea is composed of a red and blue taegeuk pattern in the center and four black trigrams at each corner, against a white background. Taegeukgi was first used as the national flag when the Korean Empire was proclaimed in 1897. The pattern of today’s taegeukgi has changed somewhat from the flag used at that time.
The white background symbolizes brightness, purity, and peace-loving ethnic characteristics. The taegeuk pattern symbolizes yin and yang (i.e. the idea that all things in the universe are created and evolve through the interaction of yin and yang).

National Anthem (Aegukga)

The country’s national anthem was composed in 1935 by Mr. Ahn Eak-tai, who added a melody to lyrics written in the early 1900s. It was officially adopted with the establishment of the government of the Republic of Korea in August 1948. Prior to that, the country sang the same lyrics to the melody of Auld Lang Syne as the national anthem.

National Flower (Mugunghwa)

The Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) is thought to be deeply associated with what are regarded as the most typical Korean characteristics: a sincere heart, inwardness, and tenacity. Around the late 9th century, the Chinese referred to Korea as “the country of mugunghwa.” The Korean word mugunghwa literally means a “never-withering flower.” The country’s national anthem includes the line: “Three thousand ri of splendid rivers and mountains covered with mugunghwa blossoms.” The emblem of the government and the National Assembly contains the shape of a mugunghwa.

Political System

The country has adopted a Presidential system in which the President is elected by the direct vote of the people for a five-year term. President Moon Jae-in was sworn in as the 19th president of South Korea on May 10, 2017.
The government is composed of three independent branches: the Executive branch; the Legislative branch composed of 300 four-year term members of the National Assembly; and the Judiciary branch, which includes fourteen six-year term Supreme Court justices. There are seventeen regional local governments and 226 basic local governments. The heads of the local governments and the members of local councils are each elected for a four-year term.

Division

In 1948, the two Koreas established their respective governments. Defined as two different countries under international law, they joined the United Nations simultaneously in September 1991. The Constitution of South Korea, however, regards North Korea as part of the Republic of Korea.

Source: Korean Culture and Information Service 'Facts about Korea'

ReplyPlease leave a comment about any information you wanted to add!
Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

In 1968, an education committee in North Chungcheong Province put out a modern version of the pledge, which was later spread to schools across the nation. Civic activists had urged the government to entirely abolish the practice, claiming the country should stop forcing people to engage in patriotism through Japanese practices. In 2007, the government updated the words of the pledge, from “I pledge allegiance to the Republic of Korea to devote my body and soul to the perpetual glory of my country and the people.”

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

The practice was originally called “gukgi baerae,” meaning bowing toward the flag. It was first adopted by the Japanese army during the colonial period: people had to visit shrines, bow down to the Japanese flag and honor Japan’s patriotic martyrs. But the format changed in 1949, after the country’s liberation, when a group of 43 students were expelled from school for refusing to bow to the flag. Activists, mostly Christians, stepped up to protest against the ceremonial practice.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Nowadays, the customary ceremony is still observed at the beginning of official public events, such as ministerial meetings, morning assemblies at schools, graduation ceremonies and sports events. The prevailing notions about the practice have also changed over time, rekindling debate among some politicians and activists who have said it is a remnant of military authoritarianism and Japanese imperialism.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

People were also required to salute the flag in theaters before the movie started, vowing to devote themselves to the country and the people.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Until the government abolished the rule in January 1989, Koreans were obliged to stand still – wherever they were and whatever they were doing – when the national anthem was played at 5 p.m. in winter and 6 p.m. in summer.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Taegeukgi Diameter of circle x 3 Diameter of circle x 2 Diameter of circle x 1/2 Length of flag x 1/2 Right angle (90 degrees) Diameter of Circle x 1/24 Diameter of circle x 1/4 Diameter of circle x 1/3 Diameter of circle x 1/12

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact22 AEGUKGA lyric (TRS) 1. Until that day when the waters of the East Sea run dry and Mount Baekdusan is worn away, God protect and preserve our nation; Hurray to Korea. 2. As the pine atop the near mountain stands firm, unchanged through wind and frost, as if wrapped in armor, so shall our resilient spirit. 3. The autumn sky is void and vast, high and cloudless; the bright moon is our heart, undivided and true. 4. With this spirit and this mind, give all loyalty, in suffering or in joy, to the love of country.Refrain: Three thousand ri of splendid rivers and mountains covered with mugunghwa blossoms. Great Korean people, stay true to the Great Korean way!

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact21 The lyrics of Korea’s national anthem were first written sometime around 1907 with the intention of inspiring love and allegiance to the country, as well as a sense of independence at a time when the country was under foreign aggression. Following adaptation by several composers, the lyrics gradually took the form we know today. Initially, the Aegukga was sung to the tune of the Scottish folk song, “Auld Lang Syne.” While studying abroad, Korean composer Ahn Eak-tai felt that this foreign melody was unfit for Korea’s national anthem. In 1935, he composed the Symphonic Fantasy Korea, the finale of which became the current melody for the national anthem.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact20 a song entitled “Daehan Jeguk (Korean Empire) Aegukga” was composed in 1902, and the government organized a western-style military band to play it during major state functions. The lyrics of Korea’s national anthem were first written sometime around 1907 with the intention of inspiring love and allegiance to the country, as well as a sense of independence at a time when the country was under foreign aggression. 

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact19 During the period of enlightenment in the late Joseon Dynasty, several patriotic songs were used. In 1896, the first editions of the Dongnip Sinmun (The Independent) featured a number of lyrics for such songs but it is unclear as to what melodies were sung with those lyrics. According to records, a song entitled “Daehan Jeguk (Korean Empire) Aegukga” was composed in 1902, and the government organized a western-style military band to play it during major state functions.