The red and blue circle in the center is called 'Tae Geuk', the origin of all things in the universe, with the central thought being perfect harmony and balance...a continuous movement within the sphere of infinity, resulting in one unit. The circle itself represents the people and the two comma shaped parts represent the ancient Eastern philosophy of opposites and their interaction and interdependence with/upon each other. The blue part of 'Tae Geuk' is called 'Um' and represents the MOON and all negative/passive aspects of the balance that is typical for the symbol. The red part is called 'Yang' and represents the SUN and represents all positive/aggressive aspects.
In the corners of the flag are four groups of broken lines and they represent the Korean government. They are called TRIGRAMS. There are eight (8) in total and each has it's own specific meaning. The Trigrams come from the sixty-four (64) HEXAGRAMS which are the sixty-four examples of different ways/elements of life as formulated by the ancient Chinese within the philosophy/religion of Taoism. The Trigram in the upper left hand corner (three unbroken lines) represents HEAVEN and the Trigram in the opposite lower right hand corner (three broken lines) represents EARTH. The Trigram in the upper right hand corner (solid line inside broken lines) represents WATER and the Trigram in the lower left hand corner (broken line inside solid lines) represents FIRE. The Water Trigram also means that the most important or valuable should be protected by the least important or valuable. The Fire Trigram also means that the strong should support the weak.
For the Korean people their flag of \'Tae Geuk-Gi\' is a source of pride and inspiration. During the Japanese occupation period beginning in 1910 the Korean flag was outlawed in public places and for about thirty-five years the \'Tae Geuk-Gi\' flags were kept hidden until Liberation Day in 1945. Shortly after the end of World War in 1945, the Korean peninsula was politically divided at the 38th parallel into Communist North Korea and the Republic of South Korea. The South Korean flag has been a symbol of it's country's struggle for independence and freedom.
The oldest 'Um and Yang' symbol, which was inscribed in stone, was found in Korea. At the end of the 19th century, Korea needed their own flag. It is believed that Young-Hyo Park came up with the first concept. At that time, Korea was under the influence of several different colonists, such as the Japanese, Chinese and Russians.
Um (Yin) means dark and cold, while Yang means bright and hot. A very old book called Joo-Yeok which was written by a Chinese claims all objects and events in the world are expressed by the movement of Um and Yang. For example, the Moon is Um while the Sun is Yang. The Earth is Um and the Sky is Yang. The Night is Um and the Day is Yang. The Winter is Um and the Summer is Yang. Um and Yang are relative. Therefore, A can be Um with respect to B while A can be Yang with respect to C. For example, the Spring is Yin with respect to the Summer and it is at the same time Yang with respect to the Winter. These opposites are necessary to keep order in the universe, but too much of one without the other creates imbalance, such as too much rain causes floods and damage...and too little rain causes droughts and destroys crops.