If you look at a US Dollar bill you’re highly likely to know who is on the note, and same could be said for the British Pound. George Washington on the single dollar bill is a widely recognized face all around the world as with Queen Elizabeth 2nd on the British currency. However here in South Korea the figures appearing on the different banknotes are somewhat of the mystery to most non-Koreans and therefore we’ve researcher the basic background behind each.

₩1000

Firstly we have the light blue ₩1000 banknote. The rather old gentleman pictured on the front is “Yi Hwang” (이황) and he was a key Neo-Confucian literate. He lived in the 16th Century and was highly regarded by others in his field as well as Kings.

₩5000

Secondly we have a red ₩5000 banknote. The man featured on the front of this note is “Yi I” (이이). Like Mr.₩1000 Yi Hwang was a Confucian literate., he was also a respected politician and visionary in the area of national security. However, Yi I was born into a rich family and had many benefits and luxury’s which Yi Hwang sadly did not.

₩10,000

The next denomination of Korean currency is the green ₩10000 banknote. This note features maybe one of the most famous faces in Korean history “Sejong the Great” (세종대왕). The 3rd king of Joseon Dynasty has a revered history and ever present stamp on Korea today because of his support of the Hangul Alphabet, and his powerful leadership which at the time maintained Joseon rule.

₩50,000

Finally we come to the orangery yellow ₩50000 note. The only lady featured on Korean currency is “Shin Saimdang” (신사임당). She lived in the early 16th Century and was at the time and still now a popular artist and poet in addition to being the mother of Mr.₩5000 Yi I which shows her link to Confucianism a major part of South Korean history.

Finally

Thank you for giving some of your time in order to learn a tiny bit about South Korean history and culture. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let us know.

Tim
Modern Seoul
tim@modernseoul.org
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