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The Korean won (/wʌn/;[1] Korean: 원(圓), Korean pronunciation: [wʌn]) was the official currency of the Korean Empire between 1902 and 1910. It was subdivided into 100 jeon (/ʌn/;[2] Korean: 전(錢), Korean pronunciation: [tɕʌn]).

Korean won
원, 전
圓, 錢
Revised Romanizationwon, jeon
McCune–Reischauerwŏn, chŏn




The won was introduced in 1902, replacing the yang at a rate of 1 won = 5 yang. Units: 1 won = 100 chon/銭, 1 chon = 5 poon/分(fun ec. yesteryear spellings) of the preceding currency. In 1909, the Bank of Korea (한국은행; 韓國銀行) was founded in Seoul as a central bank and began issuing currency of a modern type. The won was equivalent to the Japanese yen and was replaced by the Korean yen in 1910 during the Colonial Era. In 1910, the Bank of Korea was renamed the Bank of Joseon (Korean: 조선은행; 朝鮮銀行), which issued notes denominated in yen and sen.


Korea 1907 20 gold Won

Coins were minted in the denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 chon, ½, 5, 10 and 20 won. The coins all carried the title of the "state", Daehan (대한; 大韓), and the Korean era name, Gwangmu (광무; 光武) and then Yunghui (융희;隆熙), whilst the specifications were equivalent to the coins of the Japanese yen.

Korean Won Coins
Obverse Reverse Denomination Composition
    ½ chon Bronze
    1 chon
    5 chon Cupronickel
    10 chon 800‰ silver
    20 chon
  ½ won
    5 won 900‰ gold
    10 won
  20 won


No banknotes were issued denominated in won. However, Korean yen notes were issued by Dai Ichi Ginko (First National Bank (of Japan), 주식회사제일은행, 株式會社第一銀行).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "won". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ "jeon". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 8 January 2017.

Further readingEdit

Preceded by:
Korean yang
Reason: heavier influence by Japan
Ratio: 1 won = 5 yang
Currency of Korea
1902 – 1910
Concurrent with: Korean yen
Succeeded by:
Korean yen
Reason: complete annexation by Japan
Ratio: at par