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Published on May 20, 2010
Aegukga is the national anthem of South Korea. The title literally means "The Song of Love for the Country," or "The Patriotic Song."
It is believed that the lyrics were written for the cornerstone-laying ceremony of the Independence Gate in Seoul in 1896 by Yun Chiho, a politician, or by An Chang-ho, a pro-independence leader and educator. Initially, Aegukga was sung to the tune of the Scottish folk song "Auld Lang Syne", introduced to Korea by Western missionaries. The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (1919-1945) in Shanghai, China adopted it as their national anthem. At a ceremony celebrating the founding of South Korea on 15 August 1948, exactly three years after liberation from Japanese rule, the Scottish tune was finally replaced by the Finale of Korea Fantasia that Ahn Eak-tae had composed in 1935. The new "Aegukga" was later adopted by the Presidential Decree of 1948 by then-President Syngman Rhee (or Lee Seungman).