Spirit of Pine
The Korean people love the tree not merely because their history of using it is so long and its value is great. The tree grows well in any place including dry soil, field, sandy soil and beach, and is so full of vitality as to strike root even on the rock.
Even in a terrible winter when most kinds of trees are bereft of their leaves, it remains green.
The Korean people regarded the evergreen tree as a symbol of invariable constancy and obligation, and loved it as a symbol of the mettle of the nation.
There is a village with an old name of Solla in Kangdong, Pyongyang, where Tangun, father of the Korean nation and founder of Korea, was born. Solla village means pine village.
In Kangdong thick with pines Tangun not only honed martial arts but also cultivated his personality as staunch and firm as the tree, thus founding Ancient Joson, the first state in the history of Korea.
Wang Kon, founder of Koryo, the first unified state in Korea, had close relations with the tree.
Originally Mt Songak in Kaesong had a different name. After establishing Koguryo, Korean ancestors, who were determined to unite other countries of the same blood into a state, planted lots of pines on the mountain, and named it Mt Songak. There goes a story that Wang Kon was born when the mountain had become thick with pines and improved in state.
And the old name of Kaesong, capital city of Koryo, was Songdo. There is the Korean phrase Kongnyongchongsong which means that the capital city of Koryo is as green as the tree. Choe Chi Won, a famous poet of Later Silla, wrote the phrase, encouraging King Wang Kon who cherished the will to unify the whole territory of Korea.
Not a few literary works sing of the spirit and mettle of the nation by referring to the tree.
The strong mettle of the tree is reflected in Taekwon-Do, the orthodox martial art of the nation. Taekwon-Do practitioners attach importance to training in a snow-covered pine forest. The back of Taekwon-Do uniform is printed with the word Taekwon-Do in the shape of an evergreen pine.
Pine was designated as the national tree of the DPRK in April Juche 104 (2015) in recognition of the people's cherished national sentiment for it, the relevant heritage, and its socioeconomic significance.