- Catalina Usme (30' Pen)
- Linda Caicedo (39')
The Real Madrid forward, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 15, fired in her country's second goal of the match before racing toward Colombia's fans in celebration.
The 18-year-old Caicedo, who is an inspirational figure on and off the field, further enhanced her reputation as one of soccer's rising stars with her goal and performance as Colombia made a winning start to the tournament.
"Well, I am extremely happy, but this has to do with the collective work of everyone," Caicedo said.
"The feeling the group had going onto the pitch, we were a bit anxious, we wanted the World Cup to start, and we wanted to start off on the right foot. This was something crucial. Very happy for the goal and the victory."
Colombia took the lead from a penalty in the 30th minute after Shim Seo-Yeon handled a goal-bound effort from Manuela Vanegas in the area. Catalina Usme made no mistake from the spot, sending South Korea goalkeeper Yoon Young-Geul the wrong way while slotting the ball into the far corner.
Caicedo's goal came at the end of a darting run from midfield, where she cut in from the left before curling a shot from the edge of the box. Her effort appeared too central to trouble Yoon, but the goalkeeper got her positioning wrong and instead fumbled it into the net.
South Korea's American-born teenager Casey Phair became the youngest player to take the field in Women's World Cup history when she was subbed on in the 78th minute, just 26 days after her 16th birthday.
Colombia had a late chance to score a third, which would have seen it record its biggest-ever win at the tournament, but a miscommunication between Usme and Vanegas meant a promising break came to nothing.
The Group H fixture was the final game of the opening round of group matches and the 300th match in Women's World Cup history.
"It's a magnificent stadium. That atmosphere, it's close, it's tight to the pitch, it's what every player wants, what every fan wants, and so many people came and watched us today," South Korea's English head coach Colin Bell said.
"When you lose, it's not so nice, but I'll treasure this moment for the rest of my life, my first World Cup match. You're up, you're down, you're up, you're down -- that's football. We love it."
South Korea will take on Morocco on Sunday.
Information from AP contributed to this report
- Rebecca Welch