Hanja (樸)

percentage of family names in Korea

  Kim, Gim
  Lee, Yi, Rhee
  Park, Pak
  Jung, Jeong, Chung, Cheong

Park or Pak is a common Korean family name, whose origin goes back to King Park Hyeokgeose, the founder of the Silla dynasty in 57 BCE. When written with a Chinese character (Hanja), it uses a character that means "sincere," "simple" and "unadorned." When the case is based on the surname, it means plain. It is usually transliterated as either Pak (as in Pak Se Ri, a golfer) or Park (as in Park Chung Hee, former president of Korea, Park Chan Ho, a Major League Baseball pitcher, and Park Ji-Sung, a Manchester United player). Nine percent of the Korean population share this surname.

History[edit | edit source]

According to the legend, Park Hyeokgeose was the founder of this Korean surname. He was said to be hatched from an egg and when the egg shell cracked, there were rays of light that came from it. Since the Korean verb for "to shine" or "to be bright" is spelled B-A-R-G in hangeul characters, his last name became Bak. When he turned thirteen, he became the founding king of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla in 57 BCE.

Clans[edit | edit source]

As with most other Korean family names, there are many Park clans, each of which consists of individual Park families. According to the last census in 2000[1], there are 161 Park clans in South Korea consisting in total of 1,215,918 households made up of 3,895,121 individuals.

Even within each clan, people in different families are not related to each other. These distinctions are important, since Korean law used to prohibit intermarriage in the same clan, no matter how remote the relationship; now, however, only those in a relationship of second cousins or closer may not marry.

As with other Korean family names, the Park clans are distinguished by bon-gwan, the place from which they claim to originate. Of these clans, the Miryang (Milseong) clan is the largest at 3,031,478 people (about 77% of all Parks). Other notable clans include the Goryeong clan which produced South Korean leader Park Chung Hee.

List of people with the name "Park" or "Pak"[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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