I just ran across the 한자 伊(저 이) used in a headline to mean "Italy". It's the first time I'd seen it, so I was wondering if there are other characters actively used to represent countries in headlines and newspaper articles. The ones I know are:

  • 韓 South Korea
  • 北 North Korea
  • 中 China
  • 日 Japan
  • 美 USA
  • 英 UK
  • 伊 Italy
  • 佛 France (not sure if still used in headlines?)

Are there any others that may be used?

  • By France, I think you mean 法,and 意 for Italy
    – user237
    Oct 31, 2016 at 8:08
  • @SuperCoolHandsomeGelBoy 불어 (French language) is 佛語 in the dictionary, and 伊 is used in the article I linked to.
    – gaeguri
    Oct 31, 2016 at 8:37
  • @SuperCoolHandsomeGelBoy Actually, 法 and 意 seem to be used I Chinese, but Korean appears to use different characters for these countries.
    – gaeguri
    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:32
  • 3
    法,and 意 had been used to express France and Italy, but they are very old fashioned, used in more than 50 years ago. In these days, examples in this question are used.
    – jungyh0218
    Oct 31, 2016 at 14:18

5 Answers 5


Other examples not posted here:

  • 俄/露 -> Russia
  • 蒙 -> Mongolia
  • 濠洲 -> Australia
  • 葡 -> Portugal
  • 3
    俄 is sometimes used but 露[ro] is more broadly used. Others are used in headlines frequently. Especially, 濠洲(호주) is used much more frequently than its original name, Australia.
    – jungyh0218
    Oct 31, 2016 at 14:23

Some online resources I was able to find:

Blog: Country names in Hanja

Blog: Country/City names in Hanja

Blog: Continent/Countyr/Place names in Hanja

The most comprehensive list is in the Korean Wikipedia:

List of Hanja characters for country names

For Italy specifically, it seems to the Hanja used in the transliteration of Italy into Chinese (it looks like there is more than one character, may be the one mentioned in the question is the most common one?):

이탈리아 : 伊太利(이태리), 伊太利亞(이태리아), 以太利(이태리), 意大利(의대리)

This is the list of Hanja abbreviations for country names (on quick skimming of the article it looks like most of the abbreviations are just the first Hanja character for the country name given in the list in the article above)

Hanja abbreviation for country names

이탈리아: 이태리(일본어: 伊太利 イタリー, 일본어: 伊太利亜 イタリア)의 첫글자를 딴 伊(이)

Another list that might be useful:

이태리(伊太利) - 이탈리아


That characters can be interst for someone, recent 10 years no more used except S/N korea, japan, china, USA, UK. sometime, France was writed as 佛, but many of cases write 프(korean character). Russia also used as 露 in some news, kinda old-fashion-company. other 한자s was never used now.

I am 19 korean and honestly first saw in this article how can wrtie italy, mongol, austrailia, portugal in 한자. I never saw when I was growing up in school.

In the first place, that reason write country as 한자, old people got not used to english and western world, so they tranlslate its pronunciation, write fit in korean.

For example, they said russia as 'no-seo-a' that very koreantic pronuciation. But these day all of young korean say it 'russia'. In news nowdays russia write '러' don't use 한자. If someone question to teenager, twenties korean, do you know what is 'no-seo-a'?, 80% would say no. Do you know what means 露?, 10% would say yes. It's very old way.


獨(독) for Germany as well. However, it's worth noting that 露(로) is not used much any more, and you will likely see 러 as an abbreviation for Russia.

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