According to the Ewha Centennial History book, the first emblem had two versions; one for Ewha College and one for Ewha Kindergarten Teaching School (K.T.S.). Both depicted the five leaves of a pear blossom made of pure silver, with two circles inside. Right above the circles, there was a Taegeuk, which portrays yin and yang (meaning the negative and positive forces in life), and beneath was a small pear blossom. However, two years later, the pear blossom was erased and was replaced by another Taegeuk and the original Taegeuk was replaced by a cross. To left and right of Taegeuk was written “Ewha College” in its Chinese and English on the left and 1910, when the college major was created and 1925, when the college was founded on the right. In the small circle was a painting of Namdaemun and beneath was the school motto, “Jin, Seon, Mi” (knowledge, goodness, harmony) encrypted in a triangular form (See picture 1).
“The first emblems were designed by a temporary principal Van Fleet in 1930 when she was teaching art at Ewha K.T.S. When Van Fleet finished the designs, the emblems were agreed upon teachers at Ewha College,” said a researcher at Ewha Archives.
However, the emblems had to be changed during the Japanese colonization. In order to exterminate nationalistic sentiments from the emblems, Japanese soldiers deleted Namdaemun and Taegeuk, only allowing the cross to remain. According to the Ewha Centennial History book, the substance of emblems was also changed from pure gold to lead in 1939.
The latest version of emblem, the one we use nowadays, was finalized when Ewha College became Ewha Womans University in 1945. The current emblem generally shares the same portrait as that of before, but the years 1910 and 1925 were substituted to 1886 and 1945; 1886 being the year Mary Scranton first founded the Ewha Hakdang and 1945 being the year Ewha Womans University was founded.
Two circles mean endless message from God and the cross depicts Ewha’s foundation and ultimate goal, Christian spirit. The Taegeuk is the symbol of Eastern philosophy that reflects the base for creation of creatures and is used as a symbol in the middle of Korean national flag, to show that Ewha is a Korean university. Namdaemun in the middle also portrays Korean people and spirit, along with the school motto, “Jin, Seon, Mi.”
“Jin, Seon, Mi” is a motto that shows Ewha spirit. Jin means to obtain knowledge and wisdom only through the truth, Seon means to serve the greater good for the community and Mi is the ultimate goal of Ewha education to pursue beauty of humaneness. The Ewha homepage describes the door under “Jin, Seon, Mi” as a depiction of the harsh and narrow way to achieve and obtain jin, seon and mi.
The emblem on the cover of the papers or on windows are not mere decorations but shows the spirit that Ewhains have had for 123 years. It also represents the power that allowed Ewha to grow, becoming the largest women’s university in the world, with more than 1,700,000 graduates in total. “The overall image of the pear blossom in the emblem is the name of the school and a symbol of students’ purity and righteousness who study hard,” said the staff member at Ewha Archives.