Monday, December 8, 2014

Heritage: Top Ten Clan names in Korea???

For any foreigner who living in Korea, when you first arriving there have you ever encounter the situation where there are few Kim, Park or Lee in the same workplace?? Do you think they are related to each other?? Well you got it WRONG!ㅋㅋㅋ

Kim, Park, and Lee are most common surname in Korea. These names are almost half of entire Korean population who living in South Korea.ㅋㅋㅋ According to recent studies, there are 75 million Korean living in South Korea, and about 7 million live in global diaspora.

Why these three common surname hold the top record compare to 287 registered family names??O-o The history of it began almost as long as civilization in Korea peninsula itself!ㅋㅋ Some of you might know right that there are three ancient Kingdoms in Korea peninsula?? They are Goguryeo, Bakjae and Silla. During the best period of those Kingdom some of the ruler choose surname as to show their nobility.

Founder of Goguryeo Kingdom (고구려, 37BCE~668), Jumong took Go () as his family name. While founder of Gaya Confederacy (42~562) choose Kim () as his surname. According to the legend, Kim Suro was born from a golden egg (Chinese character for Kim means "gold"). During those three Kingdom period, Hangul is NOT invented yet so they were using Chinese handwriting system and this influence many of their surname.

In ancient time, technically family names only been used by nobility which most of them bestowed upon by royalty. However as times passed, people start decided to using family names as to distinguish themselves. During Joseon Dynasty, (19th century) the caste system had been demolished, so early 20th century almost all Korean have their surname. When lower class earned their right to have family name, many of them adopted the name of revered royalty, and these three names was the most chosen. Below are top ten list of family name in Korea:  

p/s: These days even some foreigner who living in Korea start choosing their Korean name and those three most common surname is their favorable! Your surname were NOT listed in the list??ㅋㅋㅋ Don't worry you can refer here for full family name registered ranking!~^^  

               My Korean Friends

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