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The long name of South Korea in the Korean language. Literally "Republic of South Korea" (Tae Han = Korea, min gook = republic). Really, this should be Romanized as "Dae Han Min Guk," but I noded under this form, since it makes it clearer how it's pronounced.

This phrase is used as one of the standard cheers of the Red Devils, as the fans of the Korean national soccer team are called. You hold your hands above your head, fingers pointing at the sky, then shout "Tae~~ Han Min Gook!" at the top of your lungs, drawing out the first syllable, and pointing your fingers forward on "Tae" and "Min." Then you clap with this rhythm: clap-clap clap-clap clap, and repeat the whole thing. This can also be performed with plastic bottles or other things that can be banged together to make noise.

It's pretty simple as cheers go, but it's nonetheless really impressive when you're downtown in the middle of a World Cup soccer game with thousands upon thousands of Koreans (I'm talking about 10 downtown blocks packed shoulder to shoulder with fans... and that's Gwangju. Seoul would have been insane) in identical Red Devils T-Shirts, all doing this in perfect unison. I heard many people say during World Cup that the energy and enthuiasm of the fans was probably worth a goal a game for the Korean team.

See also: Pil Seung Korea and Ballo Cha

In hanja, the name looks like this:

In Mandarin Chinese, these characters are read Dahan Minguo, and in Japanese, they are read Daikan Minkoku.

Taken very literally, the four-character name means "State of the Great Han People." It is often contracted to Hanguk, "Han State," in less formal situations (and, likewise, you have Hanguo in Mandarin and Kankoku in Japanese).

Now, here's some kimchi for thought. In English, we have only one word for Korea, but there are actually several Chinese characters that can be used to refer to Korea. South Koreans use the Han character to refer to their country. North Koreans use the name 朝鮮 Joseon, which is the most common way to refer to Korea as a whole in both China (Zhaoxian) and Japan (Chôsen). In Japan, there's been a considerable amount of debate over whether to call the Korean language Kankokugo, as the South would, or Chosengo, as the North would: in fact, the parastatal broadcaster NHK usually calls the language Koriago to escape the debate entirely.

Another interesting point is that the South Korean word for "republic," minguk, uses the same characters as the Taiwanese word, míngúo. However, North Korea's word for "republic" is gonghwaguk, literally "state of cooperative peace," which uses the same characters as the Japanese term, kyôwakoku, and the PRC term, gonghuoguo.

And you wonder why there are so many damn soldiers in the DMZ.

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