Get up to 45% Off with the 12-month Challenge. Hurry! Ends soon!
Get up to 45% Off with the 12-month Challenge. Hurry! Ends soon!
KoreanClass101.com Blog
Learn Korean with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Let’s Learn about Korean National Anthem (History, Lyrics)

Thumbnail

Did you know that the Korean national anthem has four verses? Growing up as a Korean, you will have to memorize the four verses of the Korean national anthem, and oftentimes, schools will make students memorize them for a test. Every Monday before school starts, everyone gathers at one place and sings the Korean national anthem!

Another interesting fact about the Korean national anthem is that the person who wrote the music was 안익태 (Ahn Eak-tai), who was an active composer outside Korea. You will learn more about the history of the Korean national anthem later in this blog.

Let’s learn more about each Korean national anthem verse and the history behind creating this song!

Three Children Singing a Song

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Korean National Anthem Lyrics
  2. Korean National Anthem History
  3. When Do You Sing the Korean National Anthem?
  4. Other Things to do Before Singing Korean National Anthem: Pledge of Allegiance
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean Studies

1. Korean National Anthem Lyrics

Korean national anthem is called 애국가 (aegukga), meaning 나라를 사랑하는 노래 (nalaleul salanghaneun nolae) “The song for who love the country.” Here is the first verse of the Korean national anthem. You may feel overwhelmed by so many lyric lines, but don’t worry. All you need to memorize are two lines for each verse, and the rest is the same. Try listening to the Korean national anthem song while learning each verse. 

1. Verse 1

동해물과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록
donghaemulgwa baekdusani mareugo daltolok
Until the East Sea dries and Mt. Baekdu is worn away
하느님이 보우하사 우리나라 만세
haneunimi bouhasa urinara manse
God will protect us, long live to our country
무궁화 삼천리 화려강산 
mugunghwa samcheonli hwaryeogangsan
Mugunghwa (is a Korean national flower and in this lyric, it means the whole of Korea) covers mountains and rivers splendidly, in three thousand ri
대한사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세
daehansaram daehan-eulo gil-i bojeonhase
Let’s preserve it in the Korean way as Koreans

2. Verse 2

남산 위의 저 소나무 철갑을 두른 듯 
namsan wiui jeo sonamu cheolgabeul dureun deut
The pine on Namsan is like armored
바람서리 불변함은 일편단심일세 
baramseori bulbyeonhameun ilpyeondanshimilse
Despite wind and frost, it never changes with single-minded devotion
무궁화 삼천리 화려강산 
mugunghwa samcheonli hwaryeogangsan
Mugunghwa (is a Korean national flower and in this lyric, it means the whole of Korea) covers mountains and rivers splendidly, in three thousand ri
대한사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세
daehansaram daehaneuro giri bojeonhase
Let’s preserve it in the Korean way as Koreans

3. Verse 3

가을하늘 공활한데 높고 구름 없이
gaeulhaneul gonghwalhande nopgo guleum eobshi
Autumn’s sky is empty and spacious, high with no clouds
밝은 달은 우리가슴 일편단심일세
balgeun dareun urigaseum ilpyeondanshimilse
Bright moon is our heart, with single-minded devotion
무궁화 삼천리 화려강산 
mugunghwa samcheonli hwaryeogangsan
Mugunghwa (is a Korean national flower and in this lyric, it means the whole of Korea) covers mountains and rivers splendidly, in three thousand ri
대한사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세
daehansaram daehaneuro giri bojeonhase
Let’s preserve it in the Korean way as Koreans

4. Verse 4

이 기상과 이맘으로 충성을 다하여
i gisanggwa imameuro chungseongeul dahayeo
Be loyal with this spirit and mind,
괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세
goerouna jeulgeouna nara saranghase
Even if you are painful or joyful, love our country
무궁화 삼천리 화려강산 
mugunghwa samcheonli hwaryeogangsan
Mugunghwa (is a Korean national flower and in this lyric, it means the whole of Korea) covers mountains and rivers splendidly, in three thousand ri
대한사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세
daehansaram daehaneuro giri bojeonhase
Let’s preserve it in the Korean way as Koreans

We looked at four verses. Now, let’s listen to the Korean National Anthem again and sing along!

A Young Lady Searching for Something with Her Smartphone and a Textbook is in Front of Her

2. Korean National Anthem History

Did you know that we used to sing our Korean national anthem with Auld Lang Syne? Later in 1935, a Korean composer Ahn Eak-tai created a song that goes well with our Korean national anthem. Thanks to Ahn Eak-tai, we are now signing our own Korean national anthem. Without them, we might still be singing Auld Lang Syne!


3. When Do You Sing the Korean National Anthem?

The Korean national anthem is heard at many events, such as:

1) Olympics 

When a sports player wins the gold medal, the national anthem is played. Check out the video of 2014 Winter Olympics when a famous Korean athlete, Lee Sang-hwa, won the gold medal

2) Weekly Gathering at School

The entire students and teachers gather at a hall every monday to start off the beginning of the week. One of the mandatory activities is to sing the Korean national anthem and everyone has to sing four verses, followed by school annoucements. 

3) At Military 

Many military bases sing the Korean national anthem to start the day as well. However, which verse to sing is different everyday, so everyone is expected to memorize four verses well. 

4) Sports Events 

The Korean national anthem is played at many sports events such as baseball, football and so on. Oftentimes there will be a famous singer singing the national anthem. Check out the video of a famous singer, Ailee, singing the Korean national anthem at a baseball game.

5) Korean National Holidays

Korean national anthem is also played on historical days such as 삼일절 (Samiljeol)  “Independence Movement Day” on TV.


People Placing Their Hands Together

4. Other Things to do Before Singing Korean National Anthem: Pledge of Allegiance

Did you know that there are additional things that South Koreans need to do before singing the national anthem?

This activity is called 국기에 대한 맹세 (gukgie daehan maengse) “Pledge of Allegiance” which describes as ”The pledge is recited at flag ceremonies immediately before the South Korean national anthem.”

While the song is played, a verse is spoken by someone, and everyone needs to show respect by placing their right hand on their left breast. 

Here is the verse. You can also listen to the song of the pledge of allegiance with the verse

나는 자랑스러운 태극기 앞에 자유롭고 정의로운 대한민국의 무궁한 영광을 위하여 충성을 다할 것을 굳게 다짐합니다.

Naneun jarangseureoun Taegeukgi ape jayuropgo jeongeuiroun Daehanmingugui mugunghan yeonggwangeul wihayeo chungseongeul dahal geoseul gutge dajimhamnida. 

“I pledge, in front of the proud Taegeuk flag, allegiance to the Republic of Korea for the eternal glory of the country, liberty, and freedom to the Republic of Korea. “

Interesting Fact about the Pledge of Allegiance

The original pledge of allegiance was used from 1972 to 2007 and was introduced by president 박정희 “Park Chung-hee.”

In the mid-2000s, the pledging of allegiance to a “Korean race” was criticized by many as “not appropriate at a time when South Korea is becoming a multiracial and multicultural society.” Therefore the new version was introduced in 2007 by president, 노무현 “Roh Moon-hyun”.

A Lady with a Set of Headphone with a Korean Flag Illustration Next to Her with KoreanClass101.com

5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean Studies

In this blog, we walked you through four verses of the Korean national anthem with English translation. We also learnt the history and which occasions Korean people sing the national anthem. 

KoreanClass101 has tons of content like this. If you are into learning more about Korean culture, check out our websites to learn more about Korean culture as well as etiquette. 

On our Youtube channel, we have several video clips to help you improve your listening skills. Why not check out these videos?

We also provide a free vocabulary and phrases list on our website. Check out these pages as well:

To maximize your Korean studies, why not create a free account today and learn Korean? We hope you enjoyed reading our blog!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean