Coined at 1527 as 基役 in Hunmongjahoe (訓蒙字會, Introductions of the Letters for Youth), written by the court interpreter Choe Sejin. Each hanja is used only for showing Korean pronunciation (similar to Japanese ateji, as Sino-Korean 基 has the initial ㄱ in its pronunciation, and 役 has the final ㄱ.
기역 • (giyeok)
In contemporary Korean, when ㄱ (g) is placed on the side, it curves as in the examples of 김 (gim), 안경 (an-gyeong), 경찰 (gyeongchal), 건강 (geon-gang), 건물 (geonmul), 게임 (geim), 개 (gae), etc. However, when ㄱ (g) is placed on top or bottom, it retains its original look, as in the examples of 고려 (goryeo), 관심 (gwansim), 공부 (gongbu), 구상 (gusang), 권력 (gwollyeok), 박다 (bakda), 먹다 (meokda), 죽다 (jukda), etc. This was done in the modern era to make the character look more balanced. This rule is also applied to ㅋ (k).