Hanja (Hangul한자; Hanja: 漢字; Korean pronunciation: [ha(ː)nt͈ɕa]) is the Korean name for Chinese characters (Chinese: 漢字; pinyin: hànzì).[1] More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation. Hanja-mal or Hanja-eo (the latter is more used) refers to words that can be written with Hanja, and hanmun (한문, 漢文) refers to Classical Chinese writing, although "Hanja" is sometimes used loosely to encompass these other concepts. Because Hanja never underwent major reform, they are almost entirely identical to traditional Chinese and kyūjitai characters, though the stroke orders for some characters are slightly different. For example, the characters and are written as and .[2] Only a small number of Hanja characters are modified or unique to Korean. By contrast, many of the Chinese characters currently in use in Japan and Mainland China have been simplified, and contain fewer strokes than the corresponding Hanja characters.

Although a phonetic Korean alphabet, now known as Chosŏn'gŭl or Hangul, had been created by Sejong the Great,[3] it did not come into widespread official use until the late 19th and early 20th century.[4] Thus, until that time it was necessary to be fluent in reading and writing Hanja in order to be literate in Korean, as the vast majority of Korean literature and most other Korean documents were written in Literary Chinese, using Hanja as its primary script. Today, a good working knowledge of Chinese characters is still important for anyone who wishes to study older texts (up to about the 1990s), or anyone who wishes to read scholarly texts in the humanities. Learning a certain number of Hanja is very helpful for understanding the etymology of Sino-Korean words, and for enlarging one's Korean vocabulary. Today, Hanja are not used to write native Korean words, which are always rendered in Hangul, and even words of Chinese origin—Hanja-eo (한자어, 漢字語)—are written with the Hangul alphabet most of the time, with the corresponding Chinese character often written next to it in order to prevent confusion with other characters or words with the same phonetics.

Time period
4th century-present
Parent systems
Sister systems
Kanji, Bopomofo, Traditional Chinese, chữ nôm, Khitan script, Jurchen script, Tangut script
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHanja


A major motivation for the introduction of Chinese characters into Korea was the spread of Buddhism. The major Chinese text that introduced Hanja to Koreans, however, was not a religious text but the Chinese text Cheonjamun (천자문; 千字文; Thousand Character Classic).

Although Koreans had to learn Classical Chinese to be properly literate for the most part, some additional systems were developed which used simplified forms of Chinese characters that phonetically transcribe Korean, including hyangchal (향찰; 鄕札), gugyeol (구결; 口訣), and idu (이두; 吏讀).

One way of adapting Hanja to write Korean in such systems (such as Gugyeol) was to represent native Korean grammatical particles and other words solely according to their pronunciation. For example, Gugyeol uses the characters 爲尼 to transcribe the Korean word "hăni", which in modern Korean means "does, and so". In Chinese, however, the same characters are read as the expression "wéi ní", meaning "becoming a nun". This is a typical example of Gugyeol words where the radical () is read in Korean for its meaning (hă—"to do"), whereas the suffix , ni (meaning "nun"), is used phonetically.

Hanja were the sole means of writing Korean until King Sejong the Great promoted the invention of Hangul in the 15th century. Even after the invention of Hangul, however, most Korean scholars continued to write in hanmun.

Hangul effectively replaced Hanja only in the 20th century. Since June 1949, Hanja have not officially been used in North Korea, and, in addition, all texts are now written horizontally instead of vertically. Many words borrowed from Chinese have also been replaced in the North with native Korean words. Nevertheless, a large number of Chinese-borrowed words are still widely used in the North (although written in Hangul), and Hanja still appear in special contexts, such as recent North Korean dictionaries.[5] The replacement has been less total in South Korea where, although usage has declined over time, some Hanja remain in common usage in some contexts.

Character formation

Each Hanja is composed of one of 214 radicals plus in most cases one or more additional elements. The vast majority of Hanja use the additional elements to indicate the sound of the character, but a few Hanja are purely pictographic, and some were formed in other ways.


To aid in understanding the meaning of a character, or to describe it orally to distinguish it from other characters with the same pronunciation, character dictionaries and school textbooks refer to each character with a combination of its sound and a word indicating its meaning. This dual meaning-sound reading of a character is called eumhun (음훈; 音訓; from "sound" + "meaning," "teaching").

The word or words used to denote the meaning are often—though hardly always—words of native Korean (i.e., non-Chinese) origin, and are sometimes archaic words no longer commonly used.



South Korean primary schools abandoned the teaching of Hanja in 1971, although they are still taught as part of the mandatory curriculum in 6th grade. They are taught in separate courses in South Korean high schools, separately from the normal Korean-language curriculum. Formal Hanja education begins in grade 7 (junior high school) and continues until graduation from senior high school in grade 12. A total of 1,800 Hanja are taught: 900 for junior high, and 900 for senior high (starting in grade 10).[6] Post-secondary Hanja education continues in some liberal-arts universities.[7] The 1972 promulgation of basic Hanja for educational purposes changed on December 31, 2000, to replace 44 Hanja with 44 others.[8]

Debate flared again in 2013 after a move by South Korean authorities to encourage primary and secondary schools to offer Hanja classes. Officials said that learning Chinese characters could enhance students' Korean-language proficiency; protesters called the program "old-fashioned and unnecessary".[9]


Though North Korea rapidly abandoned the general use of Hanja soon after independence,[10] the number of Hanja taught in primary and secondary schools is actually greater than the 1,800 taught in South Korea.[11] Kim Il-sung had earlier called for a gradual elimination of the use of Hanja,[12] but by the 1960s, he had reversed his stance; he was quoted as saying in 1966, "While we should use as few Sinitic terms as possible, students must be exposed to the necessary Chinese characters and taught how to write them."[13] As a result, a Chinese-character textbook was designed for North Korean schools for use in grades 5–9, teaching 1,500 characters, with another 500 for high school students.[14] College students are exposed to another 1,000, bringing the total to 3,000.[15]


Because many different Hanja—and thus, many different words written using Hanja—often share the same sounds, two distinct Hanja words (Hanjaeo) may be spelled identically in the phonetic Hangul alphabet. Hanja's language of origin, Chinese, has many homophones, and Hanja words became even more homophonic when they came into Korean, since Korean lacks a tonal system, which is how Chinese distinguishes many words that would otherwise be homophonic. For example, while 道, 刀, and 島 are all phonetically distinct in Mandarin (pronounced dào, dāo, and dǎo respectively), they are all pronounced do (도) in Korean. For this reason, Hanja are often used to clarify meaning, either on their own without the equivalent Hangul spelling or in parentheses after the Hangul spelling as a kind of gloss. Hanja are often also used as a form of shorthand in newspaper headlines, advertisements, and on signs, for example the banner at the funeral for the sailors lost in the sinking of ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772).[16]

Print media

In South Korea, Hanja are used most frequently in ancient literature, legal documents, and scholarly monographs, where they often appear without the equivalent Hangul spelling. Usually, only those words with a specialized or ambiguous meaning are printed in Hanja. In mass-circulation books and magazines, Hanja are generally used rarely, and only to gloss words already spelled in Hangul when the meaning is ambiguous. Hanja are also often used in newspaper headlines as abbreviations or to eliminate ambiguity.[17] In formal publications, personal names are also usually glossed in Hanja in parentheses next to the Hangul. In contrast, North Korea eliminated the use of Hanja even in academic publications by 1949, a situation that has since remained unchanged.[13] Hanja are often used for advertising or decorative purposes, and appear frequently in athletic events and cultural parades, dictionaries and atlases. For example, the Hanja (sin or shin, meaning sour or hot) appears prominently on packages of Shin Ramyun noodles.


In modern Korean dictionaries, all entry words of Sino-Korean origin are printed in Hangul and listed in Hangul order, with the Hanja given in parentheses immediately following the entry word.

This practice helps to eliminate ambiguity, and it also serves as a sort of shorthand etymology, since the meaning of the Hanja and the fact that the word is composed of Hanja often help to illustrate the word's origin.

As an example of how Hanja can help to clear up ambiguity, many homophones are written in Hangul as 수도 (sudo), including:[18]

  1. 修道: spiritual discipline
  2. 囚徒: prisoner
  3. 水都: "city of water" (e.g. Venice or Suzhou)
  4. 水稻: paddy rice
  5. 水道: drain, rivers, path of surface water
  6. 隧道: tunnel
  7. 首都: capital (city)
  8. 手刀: hand knife

Hanja dictionaries (Jajeon (자전, 字典) or Okpyeon (옥편, 玉篇)) are organized by radical (the traditional Chinese method of classifying characters).

Personal names

Korean personal names are generally based on Hanja, although some exceptions exist. On business cards, the use of Hanja is slowly fading away, with most older people displaying their names in Hanja while most of the younger generation uses Hangul. Korean personal names usually consist of a one-character family name (seong, 성, 姓) followed by a two-character given name (ireum, 이름). There are a few two-character family names (e.g. 남궁, 南宮, Namgung), and the holders of such names—but not only them—tend to have one-syllable given names. Traditionally, the given name in turn consists of one character unique to the individual and one character shared by all people in a family of the same sex and generation (see Generation name). During the Japanese administration of Korea (1910–1945), Koreans were encouraged to adopt Japanese-style names, including polysyllabic readings of the Hanja, but this practice was reversed by post-independence governments in Korea. Since the 1970s, some parents have given their children given names that break the Chinese generation style, and are simply native Korean words. Popular ones include Haneul—meaning "sky"—and Iseul—meaning "morning dew". Nevertheless, on official documents, people's names are still recorded in both Hangul and in Hanja (if the name is composed of Hanja).


Due to standardization efforts during Goryeo and Joseon eras, native Korean placenames were converted to Hanja, and most names used today are Hanja-based. The most notable exception is the name of the capital, Seoul, a native Korean word meaning "capital" with no direct Hanja conversion; the Hanja gyeong (경, 京, "capital") is sometimes used as a back-rendering. For example, disyllabic names of railway lines, freeways, and provinces are often formed by taking one character from each of the two locales' names; thus,

  • The Gyeongbu (경부, 京釜) corridor connects Seoul (gyeong, ) and Busan (bu, );
  • The Gyeongin (경인, 京仁) corridor connects Seoul and Incheon (in, );
  • The former Jeolla (전라, 全羅) Province took its name from the first characters in the city names Jeonju (전주, 全州) and Naju (나주, 羅州) ("Naju" is originally "Raju," but the initial "r/l" sound in South Korean is simplified to "n").

Most atlases of Korea today are published in two versions: one in Hangul (sometimes with some English as well), and one in Hanja. Subway and railway station signs give the station's name in Hangul, Hanja, and English, both to assist visitors (including Chinese or Japanese who may rely on the Hanja spellings) and to disambiguate the name.


Hanja are still required for certain disciplines in academia, such as Oriental Studies and other disciplines studying Chinese, Japanese or historic Korean literature and culture, since the vast majority of primary source text material are written in Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja, etc.

Popular usage

8239th AU leaflet 2508
This Korean War propaganda leaflet created by the US Army as part of Operation Moolah uses Hangul–Hanja mixed script.

Opinion surveys in South Korea regarding the issue of Hanja use have had mixed responses in the past. Hanja terms are also expressed through Hangul, the standard script in the Korean language. Hanja use within general Korean literature has declined significantly since the 1980s because formal Hanja education in South Korea does not begin until the seventh year of schooling, due to changes in government policy during the time. In 1956, one study found mixed-script Korean text (in which Sino-Korean nouns are written using Hanja, and other words using Hangul) were read faster than texts written purely in Hangul; however, by 1977, the situation had reversed.[19] In 1988, 80% of one sample of people without a college education "evinced no reading comprehension of any but the simplest, most common hanja" when reading mixed-script passages.[20]


A small number of characters were invented by Koreans themselves. These characters are called gukja (국자, 國字, literally "national characters"). Most of them are for proper names (place-names and people's names) but some refer to Korean-specific concepts and materials. They include (; dap; "paddyfield"), (; jang, "wardrobe"), (; Dol, a character only used in given names), (; So, a rare surname from Seongju), and (; Gi, an old name referring to Kumgangsan).

Further examples include ( bu), ( tal), ( pyeon), and ( ppun), ( myeong).

Compare to the parallel development in Japan of kokuji (国字), of which there are hundreds, many rarely used—these were often developed for native Japanese plants and animals.


Eopseul mu yakja
Yakja (약자, 略字) simplification of

Some Hanja characters have simplified forms (약자, 略字, yakja) that can be seen in casual use. An example is Eopseul mu yakja.png, which is a cursive form of (meaning "nothing").


Each Hanja character is pronounced as a single syllable, corresponding to a single composite character in Hangul. The pronunciation of Hanja in Korean is by no means identical to the way they are pronounced in modern Chinese, particularly Mandarin, although some Chinese dialects and Korean share similar pronunciations for some characters. For example, 印刷 "print" is yìnshuā in Mandarin Chinese and inswae (인쇄) in Korean, but it is pronounced insue in Shanghainese (a Wu Chinese dialect). One obvious difference is the complete loss of tone from Korean while most Chinese dialects retain tone. In other aspects, the pronunciation of Hanja is more conservative than most northern and central Chinese dialects, for example in the retention of labial consonant codas in characters with labial consonant onsets, such as the characters ( beop) and ( beom); labial codas existed in Middle Chinese but do not survive intact in most northern and central Chinese varieties today, and even in many southern Chinese varieties that still retain labial codas, including Cantonese and Hokkien, labial codas in characters with labial onsets are replaced by their dental counterparts.

Due to divergence in pronunciation since the time of borrowing, sometimes the pronunciation of a Hanja and its corresponding hanzi may differ considerably. For example, ("woman") is in Mandarin Chinese and nyeo () in Korean. However, in most modern Korean dialects (especially South Korean ones), is pronounced as yeo () when used in an initial position, due to a systematic elision of initial n when followed by y or i.

Additionally, sometimes a Hanja-derived word will have altered pronunciation of a character to reflect Korean pronunciation shifts, for example mogwa 모과 木瓜 "quince" from mokgwa 목과, and moran 모란 牡丹 "Paeonia suffruticosa" from mokdan 목단.

There are some pronunciation correspondence between the onset, rhyme, and coda between Cantonese and Korean.[21]

When learning how to write Hanja, students are taught to memorize the native Korean pronunciation for the Hanja's meaning and the Sino-Korean pronunciations (the pronunciation based on the Chinese pronunciation of the characters) for each Hanja respectively so that students know what the syllable and meaning is for a particular Hanja. For example, the name for the Hanja is 물 수 (mul-su) in which (mul) is the native Korean pronunciation for "water", while (su) is the Sino-Korean pronunciation of the character. The naming of Hanja is similar to if "water" were named "water-aqua", "horse-equus", or "gold-aurum" based on a hybridization of both the English and the Latin names. Other examples include 사람 인 (saram-in) for "person/people", 클 대 (keul-dae) for "big/large//great", 작을 소 (jakeul-so) for "small/little", 아래 하 (arae-ha) for "underneath/below/low", 아비 부 (abi-bu) for "father", and 나라이름 한 (naraireum-han) for "Han/Korea".

See also



  1. ^ Coulmas, Florian (1991). The writing systems of the world. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-631-18028-9.
  2. ^ "Korean Hanja Characters » SayJack". www.sayjack.com. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  3. ^ "알고 싶은 한글". 국립국어원. National Institute of Korean Language. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  4. ^ Fischer, Stephen Roger (2004-04-04). A History of Writing. Globalities. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 189–194. ISBN 1-86189-101-6. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  5. ^ "New Korean-English Dictionary published". Korean Central News Agency. 2003-05-28. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12.
  6. ^ Hannas 1997: 71. "A balance was struck in August 1976, when the Ministry of Education agreed to keep Chinese characters out of the elementary schools and teach the 1,800 characters in special courses, not as part of Korean language or any other substantive curricula. This is where things stand at present"
  7. ^ Hannas 1997: 68-69
  8. ^ 한문 교육용 기초 한자 (2000), page 15 (추가자: characters added, 제외자: characters removed)
  9. ^ "Hangeul advocates oppose Hanja classes", The Korea Herald, 2013-07-03.
  10. ^ Hannas 1997: 67. "By the end of 1946 and the beginning of 1947, the major newspaper Nodong sinmun, mass circulation magazine Kulloja, and similar publications began appearing in all-hangul. School textbooks and literary materials converted to all-hangul at the same time or possibly earlier (So 1989:31)."
  11. ^ Hannas 1997: 68. "Although North Korea has removed Chinese characters from its written materials, it has, paradoxically, ended up with an educational program that teachers more characters than either South Korea or Japan, as Table 2 shows."
  12. ^ Hannas 1997: 67. "According to Ko Yong-kun, Kim went on record as early as February 1949, when Chinese characters had already been removed from most DPRK publications, as advocating their gradual abandonment (1989:25)."
  13. ^ a b Hannas 1997: 67
  14. ^ Hannas 1997: 67. "Between 1968 and 1969, a four-volume textbook appeared for use in grades 5 through 9 designed to teach 1,500 characters, confirming the applicability of the new policy to the general student population. Another five hundred were added for grades 10 through 12 (Yi Yun-p'yo 1989: 372)."
  15. ^ Hannas 2003: 188-189
  16. ^ Yang, Lina (2010-04-29). "S. Korea bids farewell to warship victims". Xinhua. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  17. ^ Brown 1990: 120
  18. ^ (in Korean) Naver Hanja Dictionary query of sudo
  19. ^ Taylor and Taylor 1983: 90
  20. ^ Brown 1990: 119
  21. ^ Patrick Chun Kau Chu. (2008). Onset, Rhyme and Coda Corresponding Rules of the Sino-Korean Characters between Cantonese and Korean. Paper presented at the 5th Postgraduate Research Forum on Linguistics (PRFL), Hong Kong, China, March 15–16.


  • Brown, R. A. (1990). "Korean Sociolinguistic Attitudes in Japanese Comparative Perspective". Journal of Asia Pacific Communication. 1: 117–134.
  • DeFrancis, John (1990). The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1068-6.
  • Hannas, William C. (1997). Asia's Orthographic Dilemma. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1842-3.
  • Hannas, William C. (2003). The Writing on the Wall: How Asian Orthography Curbs Creativity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3711-0.
  • Taylor, Insup; Taylor, Martin M. (1983). The psychology of reading. New York: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-684080-6.

Apgujeong-dong (Korean pronunciation: [apk͈udʑʌŋdoŋ]; Hangul: 압구정동; Hanja: 狎鷗亭洞) is a ward of Gangnam-gu in Seoul, South Korea. It is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in South Korea, where one square meter costs up to $20,000. The dong originates from a pavilion with the same name founded by Han Myung-hoi, a high-ranking government official during the Joseon dynasty. It is an upmarket residential, fashion, shopping, and educational area. The Hanja name translates into "Seagull Pavilion," a reference to his nickname, which itself was a reference and a mark of peace when viewing a group of seagulls flying.One of the main shopping area is Apgujeong Rodeo Street, along with Cheongdam-dong Fashion Street in Cheongdam-dong and Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong, which are connected by the main avenue Apgujeong-ro. It is seen as a fashionable and trendsetting destination.


Daehangno (Hangul:대학로 Hanja:大學路, lit. "college street") is a neighborhood in Seoul north of the Han River within Jongno-gu and Seodaemun-gu.

Formerly known as Sunggyobang (Hangul:숭교방 Hanja:崇敎坊), meaning "high respect for teaching", its current name was designated when the 1.1 km six-lane road from Hyehwa-dong (혜화동) rotary to Ihwadong (이화동 梨花洞) crossroad was designated as a "street of culture" on May 5, 1985.

Dongmyeong of Goguryeo

King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo (58 BCE – 19 BCE, r. 37 BCE – 19 BCE) or Dongmyeongseongwang (Hangul: 동명성왕; Hanja: 東明聖王), which literally means Holy King of the East, also known by his birth name Jumong (Hangul: 주몽; Hanja: 朱蒙), was the founding monarch of the kingdom of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. In the Gwanggaeto Stele, he is called Chumo-wang (King Chumo). In the Samguk Sagi and the Samgungnyusa, he is recorded as Jumong with the surname Go (Hanja: 高). The Samguk Sagi states that he was also known as Chumo or Sanghae (Hangul: 상해; Hanja: 象解). The name is also transcribed in other records as Chumong (Hangul: 추몽; Hanja: 鄒蒙), Jungmo (Hangul: 중모; Hanja: 中牟 or hanja: 仲牟), or Domo (Hangul: 도모; Hanja: 都牟).


Gyeongbokgung (Hangul: 경복궁; Hanja: 景福宮), also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul, South Korea. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings' households, as well as the government of Joseon.

Gyeongbokgung continued to serve as the main palace of the Joseon dynasty until the premises were destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (1592–1598) and abandoned for two centuries. However, in the 19th century, all of the palace's 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Prince Regent Heungseon during the reign of King Gojong. Some 500 buildings were restored on a site of over 40 hectares.

The architectural principles of ancient Korea were incorporated into the tradition and appearance of the Joseon royal court.

In the early 20th century, much of the palace was systematically destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex is gradually being restored to its original form. Today, the palace is arguably regarded as being the most beautiful and grandest of all five palaces. It also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premises of the complex.

Haya language

Haya (Oluhaya; Swahili: Kihaya) is a Niger–Congo language spoken by the Haya people of Tanzania, in the south and southwest coast of Lake Victoria. In 1991, the population of Haya speakers was estimated at 1,200,000 people [1].

Maho (2009) classifies JE221 Rashi as closest to Haya. It has no ISO code.

Highway system in South Korea

South Korea has seven highway systems.

National expressways (Hangul: 고속국도; Hanja: 高速國道; RR: Gosokgukdo)

General national highways (Hangul: 일반국도; Hanja: 一般國道; RR: Ilbangukdo)

Special Metropolitan City roads and Metropolitan City roads (Hangul: 특별시도·광역시도; Hanja: 特別市道·廣域市道; RR: Teukbyeolsido·Gwangyeoksido)

Local highways (Hangul: 지방도; Hanja: 地方道; RR: Jibangdo)

Si roads (Hangul: 시도; Hanja: 市道; RR: Sido)

Gun roads (Hangul: 군도; Hanja: 郡道; RR: Gundo)

Gu roads (Hangul: 구도; Hanja: 區道; RR: Gudo)


Hyundai Group (Hangul: 현대그룹; Hanja: 現代그룹, pronounced [hjə́ːndɛ]) is a South Korean business conglomerate headquartered in Seoul. It was founded by Chung Ju-yung in 1947 as a construction firm and Chung was directly in control of the company until his death in 2001.

Following the 1997 East Asian financial crisis and Chung's death, Hyundai underwent a major restructuring and break-up, which reduced the Hyundai Group's business to encompass only container shipping services, the manufacturing of lifts, and tourism. Today, most companies bearing the name Hyundai are not legally connected to Hyundai Group. They include Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai Department Store Group, Hyundai Heavy Industries Group and Hyundai Development Company. However, most of the former subsidiaries of the Hyundai conglomerate continue to be run by relatives of Chung. If these companies were considered as forming a single broad family business, then it would remain the largest company in South Korea with enormous economic and political power in the country.

Idu script

Idu (이두, hanja : 吏讀, meaning official's reading) is an archaic writing system that represents the Korean language using hanja. The term "idu" is used in two senses. It may refer to various systems of representing Korean phonology through Chinese characters called hanja, which were used from the early Three Kingdoms to Joseon periods. In this sense, it includes hyangchal and gugyeol writing, as well as the narrower sense of "idu". The narrower sense refers solely to the system developed in the Goryeo period (918–1392), and first referred to by name in the Jewang Ungi.

Kim (Korean surname)

Kim (occasionally romanized as Gim) is the most common surname in the Korean Peninsula, accounting for 21.5%of the total population. Kim is written as "김" gim in Korean. ("김" solely by itself has no specific meaning unless specified by its underlying hanja or derived from context.) The hanja for Kim can also be transliterated as Hangul: 금 geum "metal, iron, gold". The Kim family is also the ruling family in North Korea.

Korean calligraphy

Korean calligraphy, also known as Seoye (Hangul: 서예; Hanja: 書藝), is the Korean tradition of artistic writing. While early Korean calligraphy was written in Chinese characters, including Hanja, modern Korean calligraphy may be written using Hangul, the native Korean alphabet.

Korean language

The Korean language (South Korean: 한국어/韓國語 Hangugeo; North Korean: 조선말/朝鮮말 Chosŏnmal) is an East Asian language spoken by about 80 million people. It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each territory. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. Historical and modern linguists classify Korean as a language isolate; however, it does have a few extinct relatives, which together with Korean itself and the Jeju language (spoken in the Jeju Province and considered somewhat distinct) form the Koreanic language family. This implies that Korean is not an isolate, but a member of a micro-family. The idea that Korean belongs to the controversial Altaic language family is discredited in academic research. Korean is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax.

Korean name

A Korean name consists of a family name followed by a given name, as used by the Korean people in both South Korea and North Korea. In the Korean language, ireum or seongmyeong usually refers to the family name (seong) and given name (ireum in a narrow sense) together.

Traditional Korean family names typically consist of only one syllable. There is no middle name in the English language sense. Many Koreans have their given names made of a generational name syllable and an individually distinct syllable, though this practice is declining in the younger generations. The generational name syllable is shared by siblings in North Korea, and by all members of the same generation of an extended family in South Korea. Married men and women keep their full personal names, and children inherit the father's family name unless otherwise settled when registering the marriage.

The family names are subdivided into bon-gwan (clans), i.e. extended families which originate in the lineage system used in previous historical periods. Each clan is identified by a specific place, and traces its origin to a common patrilineal ancestor.

Early names based on the Korean language were recorded in the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE – 668 CE), but with the growing adoption of the Chinese writing system, these were gradually replaced by names based on Chinese characters (hanja). During periods of Mongol influence, the ruling class supplemented their Korean names with Mongolian names.

Because of the many changes in Korean romanization practices over the years, modern Koreans, when using languages written in Latin script, romanize their names in various ways, most often approximating the pronunciation in English orthography. Some keep the original order of names, while others reverse the names to match the usual Western pattern.

According to the population and housing census of 2000 conducted by the South Korean government, there are a total of 286 surnames and 4,179 clans.

Korean numerals

The Korean language has two regularly used sets of numerals, a native Korean system and Sino-Korean system.

Korean shamanism

Korean shamanism, also known as Shinism (Hangul 신교, Hanja 神敎; Shingyo or Shinkyo, "religion of the spirits/gods"), or Shindo (Hangul: 신토; Hanja: 神道, "way of the spirits/gods"), or Shinism or Muism is the polytheistic and animistic ethnic religion of Korea which date back to prehistory, and consist in the worship of gods (신 shin) and ancestors (조상 josang). When referring specifically to the shamanic practice (Hangul: 무속, Hanja: 巫俗; musog or musok), the term Muism (Hangul:무교, Hanja: 巫敎; Mugyo or Mukyo, "religion of the mu (shamans)") is used.The general word for "shaman" in Korean language is mu (Hangul: 무, Hanja: 巫). In contemporary terminology, they are called mudang (무당, 巫堂) if female or baksu if male, although other terms are used locally. The Korean word mu is synonymous of the Chinese word wu 巫, which defines both male and female shamans. The role of the mudang is to act as intermediary between the spirits or gods and humanity in order to solve hitches in the development of life, through the practice of gut rituals.Central to Korean shamanism is the belief in many different gods, supernatural beings and ancestor worship. The mu are described as chosen persons.Muism is related to Chinese Wuism, Japanese Shinto, and to the Siberian, Mongolian, and Manchurian shamanic traditions. According to some scholars, the Korean ancestral king and later mountain god Dangun is related to the north Asian sky god Tengri ("Heaven"). Hereditary shamans, who are typical of South Korea, are called tangol (당골) or tangur-ari, a word considered related to the Siberian word Tengri (gods or spirits). Mudang are similar to Japanese miko and Ryukyuan yuta. Korean shamanism has influenced some Korean new religions, such as Cheondoism and Jeungsanism, and some Christian churches in Korea make use of practices rooted in shamanism.

List of Korean given names

This is a list of Korean given names by type. Most Korean given names consist of two Sino-Korean morphemes each written with one hanja. There are also names with more than two syllables, often from native Korean vocabulary. Finally, there are a small number of one-syllable names. Originally, there was no legal limitation on the length of names, but since 1993, regulations in South Korea have prohibited the registration of given names longer than five syllable blocks, in response to some parents giving their children extremely long names such as the 16-syllable Haneulbyeollimgureumhaennimbodasarangseureouri (하늘별님구름햇님보다사랑스러우리).

Lists of hanja for names are illustrative, not exhaustive.

List of Korean traditional festivals

Korean Traditional Festivals (Hangul: 한국전통축제, Hanja: 韓國傳統祝祭) are the Korean national and local festivals that have been continued among Korean people throughout its long history. Korean traditional festivals are largely based on its agricultural rituals and myths. "Seollal, New Year's Day" and "Chuseok, Harvest Festival" are regarded as the biggest festivals.


Norigae (hangul: 노리개) is a typical, traditional Korean accessory that is hung from a woman's jeogori goreum (coat strings) or hanbok chima (skirt) and so on.A norigae can be divided into 4 parts: the ddidon (hangul : 띠돈; hanja: 帶金) (a hook (either a separate accessory or additional knots) to attach the norigae/s to the hanbok), the paemul (hangul : 패물) (the main ornament of the norigae), the maedeup (hangul : 매듭) (the knot/s of the norigae), and the sul (hangul : 술) (the tassels).The norigae's function is both a good-luck charm hoped to bring something such as eternal youth, wealth or many sons (depending on its shape), as well as a fashion accessory. Usually, the norigae from the parents' or in-laws' home was passed down to descendants.Norigaes have various shapes derived from nature or from everyday life. They are divided into samjaks (hangul : 삼작; hanja: 三作) and danjaks (hangul : 단작; hanja: 單作), and samjaks can then be divided again into daesamjaks and sosamjaks. Daesamjaks and sosamjaks have the same form, but each one's paemul is different.

Sino-Korean vocabulary

Sino-Korean vocabulary or Hanja-eo (Hangul: 한자어; Hanja: 漢字語) refers to Korean words of Chinese origin. Sino-Korean vocabulary includes words borrowed directly from Chinese, new Korean words created from Chinese characters, and words borrowed from Sino-Japanese vocabulary. About 60 percent of Korean words are of Chinese origin.

Yoo (Korean surname)

Yu (also spelled Yoo or You, or sometimes Ryu or Ryoo) is the English transcription of several Korean surnames written as 유 or 류 in Hangul. Some of the family names written as Yoo are derived from the Chinese surnames 劉 or 柳 (Liu) and 兪 (Yu). As of 2000, roughly a million people are surnamed Yoo in South Korea, making up approximately 2% of the population. Of those, the most common is Ryu (Hanja:柳, Hangul:류), with more than six hundred thousand holders, whereas Yu (Hanja:兪, Hangul:유) accounts for about one hundred thousand.

The family name Yoo can be represented by any of the four Hanja: 柳(류), 劉, 兪 and 庾, each with a different meaning. In Korean, only the character 柳 specifically refers to 류 (Ryu) or 유 (Yoo), whereas the characters 劉, 兪 and 庾 refers to 유 (Yu) and is spelled as such; because of its First Initial Sound Rule (두음 법칙).

Surname: Hanja: 劉 / 刘, Hangul: 유,류 Pinyin: Liú. A very common surname, as it was used by the ruling family of the Han Dynasty.

Notable 柳 (Ryu) clans include the Ryu clan of Munhwa and the Pungsan Ryoo.

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