"Aegukka" (Chosŏn'gŭl: 애국가; lit.'Patriotism Song'), officially translated as the "Patriotic Song",[2] is the national anthem of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more commonly known outside the country as North Korea. It was composed in 1945 as a patriotic song celebrating independence from Japanese occupation and was adopted as the state anthem in 1947.

English: The Patriotic Song
Anthem of North Korea sheet music.svg
Sheet music atop North Korean state emblem

National anthem of  North Korea
Also known as(English: Song of a Devotion to a Country)
LyricsPak Se-yong, 1946[1]
MusicKim Won-gyun, 1945[1]
Revised RomanizationAegukga
Vocal version of Aegukka


"Aegukka" is a Romanized transliteration of "The Patriotic Song"; the song is also known by its incipit Ach'imŭn pinnara or "Let Morning Shine"[1][3] or alternatively as the "Song of a Devotion to a Country".

The Encyclopedia of Korean Culture defines "Aegukka" as "the song to wake up the mind to love the country". "Aegukka" in itself is differentiated from a national anthem. While a national anthem or gukka (lit.'country song') is an official symbol of the state, aegukka refers to any song, official or unofficial, that contains patriotic fervor towards its country, such as Hungary's "Szózat" or the U.S. "The Stars and Stripes Forever". However, the nationally designated "Aegukka" plays the role of symbolizing the country.[4][5] In general shorthand, the term aegukka refers to the national anthem of North Korea.[6][4]


Originally, the Korean exile government (1919–1945) in Shanghai, China adopted as their national anthem "Aegukga" (which has the same name with a different Romanization) to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne". After World War II, South Korea kept the words, put to a new tune (changed from "Auld Lang Syne"), while North Korea adopted this newly written piece in 1947.[3] The words were written by Pak Se-yong and the music was composed by Kim Won-gyun.[1]

In the early 1980s, Kim Jong-il sought to reduce the song's importance to the benefit of "Song of General Kim Il-sung".[7]

The complete version of "Aegukka" consists two verses. On official occasions, when only the first verse is performed, it is customary to repeat the last four bars. However, if both verses are performed, it is the last four bars of the second verse that are repeated instead.[8][9]

"Song of General Kim Il-sung" and "Song of General Kim Jong-il" have since taken the place of de facto national anthems domestically, and "Aegukka" is reserved for representing North Korea internationally: when foreign dignitaries visit the country or North Korean athletes compete at international sporting competitions.[10] Compared to other nations, the North Korean national anthem is not often performed inside the country (except for radio and television sign-off) and thus many North Koreans do not know the lyrics.[10]

"Aegukka" is almost unique among most North Korean patriotic songs, as it praises neither the Workers' Party of Korea, nor the Kim dynasty, but rather the whole of Korea itself.

"Aegukka" is played at the start of each of Korean Central Television's broadcast days.[11][12]



아침은 빛나라 이 강산
은금에 자원도 가득한
삼천리 아름다운 내 조국
반만년 오랜 력사에
찬란한 문화로 자라난
슬기론 인민의 이 영광
몸과 맘 다 바쳐 이 조선
길이 받드세
백두산 기상을 다 안고
근로의 정신은 깃들어
진리로 뭉쳐진 억센 뜻
온 세계 앞서 나가리
솟는 힘 노도도 내밀어
인민의 뜻으로 선 나라
한없이 부강하는 이 조선
길이 빛내세


Achim-eun binnara i gangsan
Eun-geume jawondo gadeukhan
Samcheolli areumdaun nae joguk
Banmannyeon oraen ryeoksa-e
Challanhan munhwaro jaranan
Seulgiron inminui i yeonggwang
Momgwa mam da bachyeo i Choson
Giri batdeuse
Baekdusan gisang-eul da an-go
Geulloui jeongsineun gitdeureo
Jilliro mungchyeojin eoksen tteut
On segye apseo nagari
Sonneun him nododo naemireo
Inminui tteuseuro seon nara
Haneopsi buganghaneun i Choson
Giri binnaese[13]

Poetic English translation from Kim Il-Sung UniversityEdit

Shine bright, you dawn, on this land so fair,
The country of three thousand ri,
So rich in silver and in gold you are,
Five thousand years your history.
Our people ever were renowned and sage,
And rich in cultural heritage,
And as with heart and soul we strive,
Korea shall forever thrive!
And in the spirit of Mount Paektu,
With love of toil that shall never die,
With will of iron fostered by the truth,
We'll lead the whole world by and by.
We have the might to foil the angry sea,
Our land more prosperous still shall be,
As by the people's will we strive,
Korea shall forever thrive![14]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d Hoare, James E. (2012-07-13). Historical Dictionary of Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Scarecrow Press. p. 273. ISBN 9780810879874. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. ^ "National Anthem of the DPRK". DPRK Today. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b Agency, Central Intelligence (2015-01-01). "KOREA, NORTH". The World Factbook. Masterlab. ISBN 9788379912131.
  4. ^ a b "애국가". Academy of Korean Studies. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "애국가[愛國歌]". Doosan Coroporation. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "애국-가愛國歌". NAVER Corp. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  7. ^ Eddie Burdick (May 26, 2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. McFarland. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-7864-5653-6. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  8. ^ BlueMarbleNations (27 October 2011). "North Korean National Anthem - "Aegukka" (KO/EN)" – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Military Parade Music (4 September 2015). "Military Music - North Korean National Anthem - "Aegukka"" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ a b Lankov, Andrei (April 24, 2007). North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea. McFarland. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7864-5141-8. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
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