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English: Patriotic Song
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]
Audio sample
Instrumental recording

"Aegukka" (Chosŏn'gŭl: 애국가; lit.'Song of Patriotism'), officially translated as "Patriotic Song",[2] is the national anthem of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more commonly known 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.

Similar to "Auferstanden aus Ruinen", the former national anthem of the former German Democratic Republic, more commonly known as the former East Germany, being banned in the Federal Republic of Germany, particularly having been banned in the former West Germany and still being banned in the reunified Germany, performance of this anthem is strictly prohibited in the Republic of Korea, more commonly known as South Korea, under the National Security Act.


"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 in its Korean name 아침은 빛나라 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]


Revised RomanizationAegukga

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] "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]


Chosŏn'gŭl[13] Hanja McCune–Reischauer romanization English translation from Kim Il-Sung University[14] Literal translation from Korean

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 𝄇

아침은 빛나라 이 江山
銀金에 資源도 가득한
三千里 아름다운 내 祖國
半萬年 오랜 歷史에
𝄆 燦爛漢 文化로 자라난
슬기론 人民의 이 榮光
몸과 맘 다 바쳐 이 朝鮮
길이 받드세 𝄇

白頭山 氣象을 다 안고
勤勞의 精神은 깃들어
眞理로 뭉쳐진 억센 뜻
온 世界 앞서 나가리
𝄆 솟는 힘 怒濤도 내밀어
人民의 뜻으로 선 나라
限없이 富强하는 이 朝鮮
길이 빛내세 𝄇

Ach'imŭn pinnara i kangsan
Ŭn'gŭme chawŏndo kadŭkhan
Samch'ŏlli arŭmdaun nae choguk
Panmannyŏn oraen ryŏksaë
𝄆 Ch'allanhan munhwaro charanan
Sŭlgiron inminŭi i yŏnggwang
Momgwa mam ta pach'yŏ i Chosŏn
Kiri pattŭse 𝄇

Paektusan kisangŭl ta anko
Kŭlloŭi chŏngsinŭn kittŭrŏ
Chilliro mungch'yŏjin ŏksen ttŭt
On segye apsŏ nagari
𝄆 Sonnŭn him nododo naemirŏ
Inminŭi ttŭsŭro sŏn nara
Hanŏpsi puganghanŭn i Chosŏn
Kiri pinnaese 𝄇

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 of 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 the love of toil that shall never die,
With a 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! 𝄇


In the morning, shine, this river and mountain

Full of silver and gold

Three thousand ri, my beautiful homeland

In a long history of five thousand years

𝄆 Growing up with a brilliant culture

With the people's wisdom and glory

I sacrifice my body and mind to Korea

The road is strong 𝄇


With all the spirit of Mt. Paektu

The spirit of work lives on

A strong meaning united by truth

I'll go ahead of the whole world

𝄆 Show your surging strength and anger

A country founded on the will of the people

Korea is infinitely prosperous

The road shines 𝄇

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d Hoare, James E. (13 July 2012). 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 (1 January 2015). "KOREA, NORTH". The World Factbook. Masterlab. ISBN 9788379912131.
  4. ^ a b "애국가". Academy of Korean Studies. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ "애국가[愛國歌]". Doosan Corporation. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  6. ^ "애국-가愛國歌". NAVER Corp. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  7. ^ Eddie Burdick (26 May 2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. McFarland. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-7864-5653-6. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  8. ^ BlueMarbleNations (27 October 2011). "North Korean National Anthem – "Aegukka" (KO/EN)". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Military Parade Music (4 September 2015). "Military Music – North Korean National Anthem – "Aegukka"". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Lankov, Andrei (24 April 2007). North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea. McFarland. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7864-5141-8. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "National Anthem of North Korea – Hymne National de la Corée du Nord [New HD Broadcast – Dec. 2017]". YouTube.
  12. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "KCTV startup 23-04-2020". YouTube.
  13. ^ "조선민주주의인민공화국의 상징". 조선의 오늘. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  14. ^ "Kim Il Sung University". Archived from the original on 7 December 2020.

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