Top 10 Greatest South Korean Inventions Ranked


On May 19th, South Korea celebrated its 52nd  “Inventors’ Day.” The date of May 19th is when King Sejong the Great is said to have invented the world’s first rain gauge in 1441.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) hosted an online event on its official Facebook page asking for people to vote for what they thought was the best Korean invention. Around 1,200 people participated in the event that was held for 16 days from May 2 to May 17.

Hunminjeongeum, the document that established the Korean hangeul script, ranked number one. Personally invented by King Sejong, hangeul’s simple yet elegant design allows it to be learned quickly by common people, at a time when more than 75% of Koreans were illiterate; it has stood the test of time, and continues to be used today in Korea. For its historical and cultural importance, the Hunminjeongeum is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage document.


The turtle ship, also known as the Geobukseon, took second place. It is a type of large Korean warship designed by Admiral Yi Sun-Shin during the Joseon dynasty.

Jikji, the world’s oldest book printed by movable type, came in third place, and ondol, a traditional Korean underfloor heating system, came in fourth place.

Instant coffee mix made it to fifth place.

The Italy towel, kimchi refrigerator, Chunjin hangeul keyboard, Cheomseongdae (an observatory), and geojunggi (construction crane) took sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth places, respectively.


Original article by Jae Sung Bae

Translated by Juna Moon