The long waited 50,000 won bill has finally made its debut in Korea. The new 50,000 banknotes went into circulation on Tuesday 23th June, making the first new issuance of paper currency in 36 years since 1973, when the 10,000 won note was introduced. The new 50,000 note will be 6mm bigger than the 10,000 note.

Photo: Yonhap News

The Bank of Korea said the new banknote was made available to the public from 9am through bank tellers and selected automated teller machines (ATM) nationwide. However, people are likely to experience some inconvenience for the time being, as it will take time for banks to replace or upgrade their existing ATMs and bill paying machines to handle the new 50,000 won bills at all branches.

The new yellow toned note features Shin Saimdang 신사임당 (1504-1551) of the Joseon Dynasty (1391-1910) who was a reowned woman writer, artist and calligrapher. She was also famous as the mother of Confucian scholar Yi I, or Yulgok (1536-1584) who appears on the 5,000 won note. Shin has now become the first woman to appear on a Korean bill.

The choice of this particular woman has also been controversial. Bank of Korea officials affirm that she was selected for her talent as she embodies the cultural ideals of being dutiful to her parents, devoted to her husband, and dedicated to educate her children.

Critics have indicated that someone not as representative of the traditional roles of ‘good wife and wise mother’ would have been more appropriated to modern Korean society. The banknote itself is equipped with the latest anti-forgery measures, including holograms and optical variable ink.

For your information:

10,000 won note – King Sejong (1418-1450)

The King who have created the Korean alphabet known as Hangeul. 5,000 won note – Yi Yul Gok (1536-1584)

A prodigy who Known as a genius who passed the official kingdom’s exam in the age of 13 years old.

1,000 won note – Yi Hwang (1501-1570)

A great philosopher and Confucian scholar in the Yi Dynasty era.

More details on the history of the currency:

  • Click here for 50,000 won
  • Click here for 1,000 to 10,000 won

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