Korean won

This article is about the history of the currency prior to 1945. For the later South and North Korean currencies, see South Korean won and North Korean won. For the former online gaming service, see World Opponent Network.

The won (/wɒn/; 원, 圓) was the currency of Korea between 1902 and 1910. It was subdivided into 100 chon (/ɒn/; 전, 錢).

Korean won
Hangul 원, 전
Hanja 圓, 錢
Revised Romanization won, jeon
McCune–Reischauer wŏn, chŏn


Won is a cognate of the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen.


The won was introduced in 1902, replacing the yang at a rate of 1 won = 5 yang. In 1909, the Bank of Korea (한국은행; 韓國銀行) was founded in Seoul as a central bank and began issuing currency of a modern type. The won was equivalent to the Japanese yen and was replaced by the Korean yen in 1910 during the Colonial Era. In 1910, the Bank of Korea was renamed the Bank of Joseon (조선은행; 朝鮮銀行), which issued notes denominated in yen and sen.


Korea 1907 20 gold Won

Coins were minted in the denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 chon, ½, 5, 10 and 20 won. The coins all carried the title of the "state", Daehan (대한; 大韓), and the Korean era name, Gwangmu (광무; 光武) and then Yunghui (융희;隆熙), whilst the specifications were equivalent to the coins of the Japanese yen.

Korean Won Coins
Obverse Reverse Denomination Composition
½ chon Bronze
1 chon
5 chon Cupronickel
10 chon 800‰ silver
20 chon
½ won
5 won 900‰ gold
10 won
20 won


No banknotes were issued denominated in won. However, Korean yen notes were issued by Dai Ichi Ginko (First National Bank (of Japan), 주식회사제일은행, 株式會社第一銀行).

See also


Preceded by:
Korean yang
Reason: heavier influence by Japan
Ratio: 1 won = 5 yang
Currency of Korea
1902 1910
Concurrent with: Korean yen
Succeeded by:
Korean yen
Reason: complete annexation by Japan
Ratio: at par
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