Hello everyone. I'm Blair form Seoulmate.


This is the second posting of '아하; About History of koreA' and this posting was written by me and Jina from contents team.


Today's topic is the Figures of Korean Money.




First of all, let's see money form other countries.


noname01.png  ⇦ Germany - Holstentor

There is the sentence, “concordia domi foris pax", on the center of the castle's gate.

This meaning is "Inside unity, and outside peace." This is the one of the 4 castle gates' of Lübeck and the representative of Lübeck.



Mahinda Rajapakse  ⇨ noname02.png


From Sri Lanka Hambantota                                                                             

2005, 5th president of Sri Lanka                                                                             

noname03.png ⇦Samoa

Tooth-billed Pigeon



Like these, In general, there are the great men in history, historical architectures and symbols of countries(animals or plants) on the money.


Among these, the people who were printed on money played an essential role in some fields or brought great honor to their country.




⇧ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Published in 2000

1869. 10. 2 ∼1948. 1. 30

Born in Porbandar. Mahatma Gandi was a peaceful man who achieved independence for India.




noname05.png ⇦  Antoine(-Marie-Roger) de Saint-Exupery

                                                                              1900. 6. 29 ∼ 1944. 7. 31

                                                                               Pilot and writer of France.



Elizabeth II  ⇨noname06.png

Queen of the England                                                                                            

(Reign 1952. 2. 6 ∼).                                                                                            

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary                                                                                           

Place of Birth : London                                                                                           





noname07.png   ⇦  Mao Zedong(毛澤東)

1893. 12. 26 ∼1976. 9. 9 Beijing. 

A leader of China.                




Yes, They are truly splendid people.


That's why they are printed on the money which is used by the entire nation.


Then, Let's find out about the great men of Korean Money !


noname10.png Ta da!


Here are the Korean money.

From 1,000 won to 50,000won!!



Today, I'll explain according to the historical order and concomitant feature not to the amount of money for easier understanding.




Who is he?



Yes, He is Sejong the Great.


This 10,000won is littlebit different from the 10,000won used nowadays.

Until a few years ago, this old one used as 10,000won.



and this is the one we're using now.


I think this is more refined.



Among the most revered kings was


1397.4.10(lunar calendar)/5.15(solar calender)~1450.2.17)

The King Sejong, 4th king in Joseon Dynasty (Region 1418~1450).


King Sejong is well-known as the wise king who made Joseon Dynasty peaceful. Most of all, he created original Korean letter ‘Hun min Jeong eum’ ("The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People") and lots of scientific instruments; a rain gauge(측우기), sundial(해시계), celestial globe(혼천의) ect.

He wanted to help people with these instruments. Also he fortified the nation by strengthening the army and improving its standards of weaponry.


There have been many rulers in the five thousand years of Korean history, but King Sejong is one of the few kings to have been given the title 'Great' by the people of Korea, who even today remember his name and his great wisdom with gratitude and respect.


noname13.png ⇦ A sundial(앙부일구)


해시계 is a device that tells the time of day by the position of the Sun. This is the only device which has hemisphere shape. It depicts people know the movement of the Sun and the earth is round On this concave(오목한) device, 7 vertical lines and 13 horizontal lines are painted. The former is time lines and the latter is seasonal lines.


A rain gauge(측우기) ⇨noname14.png


측우기 is the first well-known rain gauge which was invented and utilized by Sejong.

At that time, a system was needed to measure and report a region's rainfall for the sake of agriculture. So 측우기 had a very important role in Joseon Dynasty.

and so on...


There are sooooo many things he achieved.




BUT, the most important thing is 'Making of the Hangeul.'


Hangeul is the name of Korean alphabet. Hundreds of years ago, Koreans used to write in Chinese letters, even though we spoke in Korean. Therefore there was a gap between the spoken language and the written language.


The King Sejong, 4th king in Joseon Dynasty, invented a new alphabetical system called Hangeul. In doing so, he had given so much advantage to his people on their lives of language


I'll tell u a story of Sejong which can make you feel his warm heart.





One day, King Sejong saw the light from Jiphyeonjeon.

(Jiphyenjoen was set up by Sejong the Great consisted of scholars selected by the king.

The hanguel writing system was first formulated in here.)


He asked to find why the light is still on in the midnight.

In there, scholar Shin Suk Ju read books.

The rooster crowed at dawn and he fell asleep from that spot.

Sejong the Great took his clotes off and gave it to his retainer and said

"Cover that scholar with my clothes."


In the morning, Shin Suk Ju woke up and was astonished.

Because the thing which he was covered with was not blanket but the king's cloth!!


This story was spreading through the palace so scholars studied hard and did their best to develop the Hangeul.




Hangeul was completed in late December 1443 or January 1444 by King Sejong and scholars from Jiphyeonjeon and was described in 1446 in a document titled ‘Hun min Jeong eum’(훈민정음) ("The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People").


The reason for creating Hangeul was that using Chinese characters to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats (yangban, 양반), usually male, could read and write. 

The majority of Koreans were illiterate before the invention of Hangeul. To change this situation, King Sejong made Hangeul so that even a commoner could learn to read and write.

I think the reason that we can easily read, write and speak now is the effort and affection for nation of Sejong the Great and Scholars.




In addition, You can learn about Sejong the Great and Hangeul by our tour 'Miso of the King Sejong, Hangeul Tour'


You can find the information at here http://www.seoul-mate.com/xe/eng_tour/23123 







Do you know about Neo-Confucianism ? ㅇ_ㅇ


Neo-Confucianism is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated in the Tang Dynasty and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties.


Yes, This time I'll explain about the great names of history who are related with Neo-Confucianism.




Here is the first figure.




Aren't you familiar with this picture?


I think the money which is printed with him is one of the popular one of Korean money.


Every 1,000-won bill has an image of Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee



Representative of Confucian scholar who established the basis of Joseon's Neo-Confucianism.

Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee

1501 ~ 1570




He improved the features of learning about the exam and success, established a basis of Confucian by building Confucian Schools, trained disciples, and built up the desirable aspects of a classical scholar.


Actually, he set the base of Joseon's Neo-Confucianism.

Also, He is famous for a frugal life.



Dosan Seowon which is established by disciples of Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee after he passed away.⇨


Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee was a man with a benevolent heart and didn't avid for extra money or government position. That's why he was venerated all over the country and followed by many scholars and people.


He even refused the government post for 79 times, so he is the representative of living in great austerity who can't be found in today's society.

I think he is in reality highly imitable because of these many aspects.




⇧former 1,000 won




⇧recent 1,000 won



From now, I will introduce the second person of Neo-related.

Let's start to learn about OO!



Guess who he is!



He represents the 16th century, with the Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee.


Although there were 35-year gap between them, they were well matched as soon as they met because of the passion and common bond of Neo.

If Tweo-Kye, Hwang Lee fully understanded the Neo,

OO announced the widespread confucianism in Joseon dynasty.


Can you guess?


The answer is 4.png

                  Yi I ,Yulgok


who was a famous Confucian scholar by building Gentry of the Sacred heat.

1536(Jungjong 31)~1584(Seonjo 17)

<-Past 5000 won notes



 6.png <-These day 5000 won notes


He was famous for his claim.


That is 'Building up military forces by a hundred thousand soldiers'.

Do you know why did he insist on this?


At that time, 100 years of the civil war ended in Japan.

And Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified the nation and promoted as an aide.

After the unification, there were no enough land to distribute for feudal lords.

 Therefore, Toyotomi Hidryoshi planed to attack Korea to let out their frustrations.


Yi I had a premontion about the war so he offered to creat 100,000 army for Seonjo.




But, Can you guess why this offer couldn't be accepted?


At that time, there were rival political factions, East and West.

The West people agreed with his offer but the East didn't.

The East thought when they prepare the army, 

it can cause chaos and also they treated his opinion with complacency.

So,, Do you know why Yulgok could be like this great and smart person?

I think that's because of his good parents. isn’t it?


And now here is Yulgok’s mother.


Her name is Sinsa Imdang.


She is famous for the title of Yulgok's mother because Yulgok, as I said before, was one of the great scholar and politician.


However, she is much famous for the title of the top female artist who were really good at poetry and drawing.




Shin saimdang started to draw pictures when she was 7, without a mentor.

 She was especially good at drawing the bug and grapes. 

She also showed excellent abillity of calligraphy, cross-stitch and making cloth.

She had wide knowledge about ethics, classic, history and Neo-Confucianism.


Although she died in her early age, 48, she left a lot of nice masterpieces.

Because of the Confucian of Joseon dynasty, it was quite hard for women to success.


However, she was relatively free from these social restraint 

because of her parents and husband who wanted to develop her talents.


Here is the interesting story about her. Let's see.

One day, Sinsa Imdang was invited to a ladies' party.

However, one maid who delivered soups stumbled over a lady's skirt. So she fell soups on the lady's skirt.


‘Oh my god, Borrowed skirt got all wet...’

The poor wife had to rent the skirt from others because she didn't have that good skirt to wear for the party.

So she concerned a lot about the skirt.

Then Shin saimdang said to the wife.

“Give me your skirt wife. I'll try to rectify.”

While wife wondered how, but she got off her skirt and gave it to her.


Then amazing magic happened.

She began to draw a picture on the skirt with a brush.

Staining was changed as appetizing grapes and pretty grass.

All the people were amazed. When the picture was finished, she gave the skirt to wife and said,

“Go to the market to sell this skirt. You'll get enough money to buy a new skirt.”


After that, that lady sold the skirt and it was sold at really high prices because of a lifelike picture!



Cockscomb and cattle dung beetle




San perilla and warts



This story shows outstanding capability of her.


For these reasons, King Sejong the Great is featured on the 10,000-won notes, and Confucian scholars Yi Yi and Yi Hwang are on the 5,000-won and 1,000-won bills, respectively.

And finally, Shin saimdaing was a wise mother and good wife as well as a talented painter was selected for the 50,000-won banknote.




What do you think? Did you enjoyed my posting?


Today, This is the end of our story and our country money for now






I'll prepare more interesting topic! SEE YA :)






Choi sujin.png3e4be28ef2beaf802aff03142db67825.png