Flag of South Korea
|Design||White with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field |
The lack of the national flag only became an issue in 1876, in the Joseon Dynasty. Before 1876, a national flag did not exist and it was not considered important. The issue began during the negotiations for the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876. Although the delegate of the Empire of Japan had the Japanese national flag, the Joseon Dynasty could not hang a corresponding flag.
The issue was then shelved but reemerged with the ratification of the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882. The controversy arose after the delegate Lee Eung-Jun presented a flag similar to the flag of Japan to the Chinese official Ma Jianzhong. In response to the discussion, Ma Jianzhong argued against the proposed idea of using the flag of the Qing Dynasty and proposed a flag with a white background, with a half-red and half-black circle in the center, with eight black bars around the flag. On August 22, 1882, Park Yeong-hyo created a scale model of the Taegukgi to the Joseon government. Park Yeong-hyo became the first person to use the Taegukgi in the Empire of Japan in 1882. On January 27, 1883, the Joseon government officially promulgated Taegukgi to be used as the official national flag. 
The flag's background is white, which is a traditional Korean color, common to the daily attire of 19th century Koreans and the color is also use for a traditional Korean wear (hanbok). It represents peace and purity. The circle in the middle is derived from the philosophy of yin-yang and represents the balance of the universe. The blue section represents the negative cosmic forces, and the red section represents the opposing positive cosmic forces. The trigrams together represent the principle of movement and harmony. Each trigram (geon (건 / 乾), ri (리 / 離), gam (감 / 坎) and gon (곤 / 坤)) represents one of the four classical elements.