The North Korean Flag - Breaking it Down

The North Korean flag we see today was first adopted after the country gained Liberation from Japan and split from the South in 1948. This was the year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was created.

The flag consists of two large blue bars on the top and bottom. Two white lines above and below, a large central red block with a white disc and red 5 point star.

Constitutionally enshrined

The North Korean flag is laid out in the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK in Chapter VII;

“The national flag of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea consists of a central red panel, bordered both above and below by a narrow white stripe and a broad blue stripe. The central red panel bears a five-pointed red star within a white circle near the hoist. The ratio of the width to the length is 1:2

What does it actually mean?

Like all national flags, the North Korean flag is steeped in symbolism. It was introduced by President Kim Il Sung on September 9th, 1948. He stated:

The red colour of the flag symbolises the anti-Japanese fervour, the red blood shed by the Korean patriots and the invincible might of our people firmly united to support the Republic. The white colour symbolises the one bloodline, one land, one language, one culture of our mono-ethnic country, which lived in purity. And blue stands for the gallant visage of our people, symbolising the spirit of the Korean people fighting for world peace and progress.

The red star was the international symbol for communism at the time. However, officially it has deeper meaning;

The five-pointed red star shows the lofty spirit of the Korean people who vigorously advance, inheriting the traditions of anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle and the prospect of the DPRK.

The flag can be displayed both horizontally and vertically. When held vertically the blue symbolizes the East and West Seas with the whole peninsula bathed in red from the socialist star.

Workers Party of Korea flag

Other North Korean Flags in use

When traveling in North Korea you will usually see the North Korean flag flying side by side with another. This red flag with the yellow symbol of the hammer, sickle and brush is the Worker’s Party of Korea flag. The hammer represents the worker, the sickle represents the peasant and the calligraphy brush the intellectual.

unified flag of Korea

Another recognized flag is the one of national reunification. It is used in both North and South Korea. When both Korea’s are working in unison it can be seen on display. Most prominatley at sporting events when they field a joined team – like at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyongchang or the 2000 Summer games in Sydney.

The flag simply features a bue Korean peninsula on white background.

flag of the korean peoples army supreme standard

The personal standard of the Korean People’s Army Supreme Commander. The KPA Supreme Commander is essentially the flag of the North Korean leader. Currently is has come to symbolise Marshal Kim Jong Un. For this reason it carries even more reverence in North Korea then the national flag.

Join one of our North Korea Tours and see the flags for yourself!

Rocky road travel founder Shane Horan at the DMZ


When Shane is not endlessly writing content for Rocky Road, he’s usually kayaking to and from work along Berlin’s River Spree.