The Colors of Korea

In 1969, the United States of America USAF landed me in Taegu, South Korea.

What are the traditional colors of Korea?

White: The most commonly used color in Korea. Koreans were sometimes referred to as “the white clad people.” The color white symbolizes purity, innocence, peace and patriotism. Traditionally, white represents the element metal and the direction West.

Black: The color black is associated with mastery and the ending point of a cycle in Korea. It represents the darkness after mastery has been achieved, the place beyond light. However, because Koreans believe that everything is based on a balance of opposites, darkness is also necessary as an origin of light. Black refers to the element water and direction North.

Blue: The color blue is associated with the element wood and the direction East. In the Korean flag, blue symbolizes eum or yin, which is cool, feminine energy. Eum energy is associated with the moon and is passive, yielding and receptive. Blue is balanced by red in the Korean flag. Whereas red represents life, blue represents its opposite, death.

Red: Traditionally red is associated with fire and the southern direction. Red is symbolized by yin energy, which represents masculine energy, the sun and life force. In the Korean flag, red is balanced by the opposite color, blue. The color red also symbolizes passion and, historically, it was inappropriate for Koreans to wear red. However, in modern Korea, red is associated with a passion for sports and it is common to wear red to sporting events to show support.

Yellow: The color yellow symbolizes earth and the center direction. It represents the starting point developing knowledge and expanding the mind. As one of the five cardinal colors, yellow was traditionally worn, along with the other four colors, as part of a stripe on Korean clothing. Wearing the five-color stripe was historically thought to give children and royalty protection from evil spirits.

Green: Blue and green were traditionally represented by a single word in Hangul, the Korean language. Western influence brought a change in the view that green and blue are variations of a single color and separate words for each color now exist in Hangul. Currently, the color green symbolizes prosperity, a fresh start and auspicious beginnings. Many Korean storefronts are green to draw prosperity and success to the business.



      • Amazing, no cars on the road back in 1969! I was there in 1984 but not because I wanted to be there. My husband was on a remote military tour at Osan Air Force Base and he came down with Spinal Meningitis, He was in a coma for almost 2 weeks and it was a miracle he survived. After he came out of the coma, he was in the hospital recuperating and I went over to help him with the process. I was there almost three months. Very difficult days but we lived through it and my husband got better we were (are) so very thankful.

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