Credit: Public domain.
March 1 Movement Day 3.1 절 used to be the high season for vendors of taegeukgi 태극기, but no more. According to a Hankook Ilbo 한국일보 report, the sale of South Korea’s national flag began dropping precipitously in the past few years, as they came to be associated with flag-waving conservative rallies, whose participants are derisively referred to as the Taegeukgi Troopers 태극기부대. Bulk orders of the flags from major corporations all but evaporated, and individuals no longer display the flag on holidays to avoid political associations.
The cancellation of public events due to the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to the decline of the flag sales as well. To add insult to injury, flag vendors say the Taegeukgi Troopers do not help with the sales: “They usually buy the KRW 500 (USD 0.4) taegeukgi that was made in China.”