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 one.
The three most common family names in Korea are 김 (Kim), 이 (Yi, often written as 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:
Below are the top five baby names for boys and girls in 2006, often used in television dramas :
The following are common names in 1975 and 1945 respectively. Note that 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 :