A country’s national anthem is a song that every citizen knows. Often it’s sung proudly by athletes before a sporting event, and the FIFA World Cup is no exception. I imagine the anthem is especially meaningful when you are representing your country in some way. So today’s Culture post focuses on the Republic of Korea’s national anthem, 애국가 (Aegukga).
Translated “The Song of Love for the Country” or “The Patriotic Song,” “Aegukga” is believed to have been written in the late 1800’s by either a politician or a pro-independence leader and educator and original it was sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.”
Not many years after, Japan occupied Korea and all things Korean were outlawed (flag, national flag, songs, etc.). But “Aegukga” continued on as the anthem for the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, which was located in Shanghai, China, from 1919 to 1945.
Finally on Aug. 15, 1948, three years after Korea was liberated from Japan, “Aegukga” was played at the founding ceremony of the new Republic of Korea. But now the Scottish tune was replaced with the “Finale of Korea Fantasia,” which had been composed in 1935. Later that year “Aegukga” with its new tune was adopted as the official national anthem by Presidential Degree.
You can purchase the Korean national anthem from iTunes. The versions I’ve found are instrumental. However, Wikipedia has the song’s lyrics in hangul, romanized, and translated to English. You find that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegukga.
And, if you’d like to hear the anthem sung, here are a couple of YouTube links for you. The first one is the anthem being sung at a baseball game. The second is just vocals while seeing an image fo the Taegukki.