Korean names consist of a family name followed by a given name. Most
Korean given names are comprised of two syllables, though some only have
The three most common family names in Korea are 김 (Kim), 이 (Yi, often
written Lee), and 박 (Park). Together, these three names account for around
45% of the population.
Family name groups are divided by patrilineal decent into branches or clans.
(There are about 280 such branches of Kim). Until recently, it was illegal
for people of the same branch to marry, no matter how distantly related.
Branches are usually identified by a place name where the clan is said to
have originated, such as ‘Kyeongju Kim’.
Common Korean family names:
김 이 박 최 정 조 장
Kim Yi Pak Choe Cheong Cho Chang
윤 신 한 홍 유 강 송
Yun Sin Han Hong Yu Kang Song
Korean given names are typically comprised of Sino-Korean characters,
한자 (hanja), traditionally chosen with the help of a fortune-teller. Some
parents now give their children names that can only be written in the Korean
alphabet, 한글 (hangeul).
UNIT 1 안녕하세요? 15
Below are the top five baby names for boys and girls in 2006, often used in
민준 민재 지훈 현우 준서
Minjun Minjae Jihun Hyeonu Junseo
서연 민서 수빈 서현 민지
Seoyeon Minseo Subin Seohyeon Minji
The following are common names in 1975 and 1945 respectively. Note the
female names from 1945 end with ‘ja’, equivalent to the ‘ko’ common in
Japanese female names. This reflects the Japanese colonial period, which
ended in that year:
1975 남자 (Male) 정훈 성호 성훈
Jeonghun Seongho Seonghun
여자 (Female) 미영 은정 은주
Miyeong Eunjeong Eunju
1945 남자 (Male) 영수 영호 영식
Yeongsu Yeongho Yeongsik
여자 (Female) 영자 정자 순자
Yeongja Jeongja Sunj