Top 300 Korean Surnames

Top 300 Korean Surnames – Many adoptees want to learn more about their birth heritage. If your child was adopted from Korea, his or her birth family name can give you some insight into his or her past.

There is a popular joke in Korea that goes something like this: “If you throw a stone from a hill in Seoul, there is a 50% chance it will hit Kim, Lee, or Park.” That’s because these three surnames are so common in Korea that almost half of the population of 51.3 million have one of them!

Every 15 years, the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS) conducts a population and housing census, which reveals the country’s most common surnames. The latest census was conducted in 2015 and discovered 286 surnames in Korea. Kim, Lee, and Park were once again the top three.

You can also see our articles on Argentinian Last Names or Russian Surnames, for more inspiration.

Top 300 Korean Surnames
Top 300 Korean Surnames

Korean surnames, such as Kim, Lee, and Park, have traditionally been the most common.

Typically, Korean family names are one syllable long, with a few exceptions. It is traditional for a child to take their father’s surname, but Korean women do not take their husband’s surname after marriage. Commoners in antiquity did not necessarily have family names determined by their lineage, but rather by the clan or region in which they were born. Commoners were granted surnames as a mark of favor by kings. Thus, having the same family name does not necessarily mean that two people are related.

Based on the 2015 KOSIS census, here are the 200 most common Korean family names with their Hangul (Korean) characters. Several of them can be traced back to ancient Korea and can be traced back to royalty.

Most common 50 Korean surnames meaning and history

I’m (or Lim) (임)

Rounding out the top 10 is the surname Im or Lim, a variation of the name. There were roughly 823,000 Ims (or Lims) in Korea in 2015. The name translates into “forest,” “woods” or “trees.”

Jang (장)

About 992,000 Koreans had this family name in 2015. Jang translates as “archer.”

Yun (or Yoon) (윤)

The surname Yun (or Yoon) means “governor.” About 1.02 million people reported having this name in 2015.

Cho (or Jo) (조)

Cho is a royal family name held by roughly 1.05 million Koreans in 2015. It translates as “second,” “beginning” or “candle.” Jo derives from the words “dynasty” or “imperial court.”

Kang (강)

Kang derives from the word “ginger.” In 2015, more than 1.1 million Koreans had this family name.

Jung (or Jeong) (정)

Some 2.1 million Koreans surveyed were named Jung (or Jeong), making it the fifth most common surname in the census. The Jung surname means “young,” and was often used to distinguish the younger of two men with the same name, such as a son from a father or the younger of two cousins.

Choi (최)

The surname Choi translates as “mountain,” “pinnacle” or “top.” In 2015, there were about 2.3 million Chinese in Korea.

Park (pronounced Pock) (박)

Some 4.1 million Koreans — or 8.4% of the population — were named Park in 2015. The name can be traced to King Hyeokgeose Park, who lived from 57 B.C. to 4 A.D. Park is believed to come from the Korean word “bak,” meaning “gourd.”

Lee (or Yi) (이)

The name Lee means “plum” or “plum tree.” In 2015, 7.3 million Koreans — or 14.7% of the population — had this surname.

Kim (김)

More than 10.6 million Koreans — or 21.5% of the population — had this surname in 2015, making it once again the nation’s most popular. The Kim family name has royal origins, going as far back as the Silla dynasty (57 B.C.– 935 A.D.) and the Gaya confederacy (42 A.D.– 562 A.D.). When these two kingdoms united, the resulting merger led to Kim becoming one of the most common family names in Korea. During the Joseon dynasty (1392 A.D. – 1910 A.D.), many commoners adopted family names for social and economic advantages. Many chose the name of the biggest clan at the time, which was the Kims. In English, the name Kim translates into “gold.”

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Top 20 Korean surnames

Here are the top 20 most common Korean surnames, along with their meanings and associated zodiac signs:

  1. Kim (김) – “gold” or “metal” – associated with the Rat zodiac sign.
  2. Lee/Li (이) – “plum” or “chestnut” – associated with the Rooster zodiac sign.
  3. Park (박) – “gourd” or “bottle” – associated with the Snake zodiac sign.
  4. Choi (최) – “best” or “most” – associated with the Horse zodiac sign.
  5. Jung/Jeong (정) – “upright” or “proper” – associated with the Tiger zodiac sign.
  6. Kang (강) – “river” or “strong” – associated with the Rabbit zodiac sign.
  7. Han (한) – “one” or “big” – associated with the Snake zodiac sign.
  8. Shin (신) – “belief” or “trust” – associated with the Dog zodiac sign.
  9. Hong (홍) – “great” or “vast” – associated with the Sheep zodiac sign.
  10. Lim/Rim (임) – “forest” or “grove” – associated with the Ox zodiac sign.
  11. Jang (장) – “marketplace” or “flourish” – associated with the Sheep zodiac sign.
  12. Son (손) – “hand” or “descendant” – associated with the Ox zodiac sign.
  13. Yoo/Yu (유) – “abundant” or “leisure” – associated with the Monkey zodiac sign.
  14. Choi (최) – “best” or “most” – associated with the Horse zodiac sign.
  15. Ahn/An (안) – “peace” or “quiet” – associated with the Rooster zodiac sign.
  16. Seo/Suh (서) – “auspicious” or “felicitous” – associated with the Rat zodiac sign.
  17. Yoon/Yun (윤) – “shining” or “bright” – associated with the Rabbit zodiac sign.
  18. Moon/Mun (문) – “door” or “gate” – associated with the Rooster zodiac sign.
  19. Oh (오) – “five” or “king” – associated with the Monkey zodiac sign.
  20. Kwak/Kwok (곽) – “high” or “tall” – associated with the Rat zodiac sign.

Note: The zodiac signs listed here are based on the Chinese zodiac, which is widely used in Korea and other East Asian countries. The signs are based on a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by a different animal.

Best Korean surnames for girl

Here are some popular Korean surnames for girls, along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Kim (김) – This is one of the most common surnames in Korea, and it means “gold” or “metal.” Those born under the sign of Aries, Cancer, and Leo are said to have a higher chance of success if they have this surname.
  • Lee (이) – Another very common surname in Korea, Lee means “plum tree.” People with this surname are thought to be intelligent and successful. The zodiac signs associated with Lee are Gemini and Virgo.
  • Park (박) – Park means “an enclosed area” or “a garden,” and those with this surname are said to be artistic and creative. People born under the signs of Taurus and Libra are thought to have a natural affinity for this surname.
  • Jung (정) – Jung means “upright” or “righteous,” and people with this surname are thought to be honest and trustworthy. Those born under the signs of Scorpio and Capricorn are said to have a greater affinity for this name.
  • Choi (최) – Choi means “best” or “supreme,” and those with this surname are thought to be competitive and driven. The zodiac signs associated with Choi are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Yoon (윤) – Yoon means “allow” or “forgive,” and people with this surname are thought to be compassionate and kind. Those born under the signs of Pisces and Aries are said to have a natural affinity for this name.
  • Han (한) – Han means “great” or “large,” and those with this surname are thought to have a strong and powerful presence. The zodiac signs associated with Han are Aries and Leo.
  • Jang (장) – Jang means “chapter” or “unit,” and people with this surname are thought to be intelligent and analytical. The zodiac signs associated with Jang are Gemini and Virgo.
  • Kwon (권) – Kwon means “power” or “authority,” and those with this surname are thought to be ambitious and determined. The zodiac signs associated with Kwon are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Shin (신) – Shin means “belief” or “trust,” and people with this surname are thought to be honest and reliable. The zodiac signs associated with Shin are Cancer and Pisces.
  • Yang (양) – Yang means “sheep” or “ram,” and those with this surname are thought to be gentle and kind-hearted. The zodiac signs associated with Yang are Taurus and Libra.
  • Hwang (황) – Hwang means “yellow” or “gold,” and people with this surname are thought to be intellectual and talented. The zodiac signs associated with Hwang are Sagittarius and Aquarius.

It’s worth noting that while surnames do have traditional meanings and associations, these are not necessarily definitive or applicable to everyone with a particular surname. Also, zodiac sign associations with surnames are not widely recognized or practiced in Korea.

Best Korean surnames for girl

Here are some more Korean surnames for girls, along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Oh (오) – Oh means “five” or “royalty,” and those with this surname are thought to be creative and artistic. The zodiac signs associated with Oh are Gemini and Virgo.
  • Yoo (유) – Yoo means “friend” or “gentle,” and people with this surname are thought to be kind and sociable. The zodiac signs associated with Yoo are Taurus and Libra.
  • Seo (서) – Seo means “west,” and those with this surname are thought to be intelligent and logical. The zodiac signs associated with Seo are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Hwangbo (황보) – Hwangbo means “yellow treasure,” and people with this surname are thought to be confident and ambitious. The zodiac signs associated with Hwangbo are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Jeon (전) – Jeon means “wide” or “broad,” and those with this surname are thought to be generous and compassionate. The zodiac signs associated with Jeon are Cancer and Pisces.
  • Baek (백) – Baek means “white” or “pure,” and people with this surname are thought to be trustworthy and sincere. The zodiac signs associated with Baek are Aries and Leo.
  • Kwon (권) – Kwon means “power” or “authority,” and those with this surname are thought to be ambitious and determined. The zodiac signs associated with Kwon are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Jang (장) – Jang means “chapter” or “unit,” and people with this surname are thought to be intelligent and analytical. The zodiac signs associated with Jang are Gemini and Virgo.
  • Han (한) – Han means “great” or “large,” and those with this surname are thought to have a strong and powerful presence. The zodiac signs associated with Han are Aries and Leo.
  • Jung (정) – Jung means “upright” or “righteous,” and people with this surname are thought to be honest and trustworthy. The zodiac signs associated with Jung are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Kim (김) – Kim is one of the most common Korean surnames, and it means “gold” or “metal.” Those with this surname are thought to be determined and successful. The zodiac signs associated with Kim are Aries, Cancer, and Leo.
  • Lee (이) – Lee is another common Korean surname, and it means “plum tree.” Those with this surname are thought to be intelligent and successful. The zodiac signs associated with Lee are Gemini and Virgo.

Once again, it’s worth noting that while there may be traditional meanings and associations with Korean surnames, these are not definitive or applicable to everyone with a particular surname. Additionally, the idea of zodiac sign associations with surnames is not widely recognized or practiced in Korea.

Rare Korean surnames

Here are some rare Korean surnames, along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Go (고) – Go means “high” or “tall,” and those with this surname are thought to be ambitious and successful. The zodiac signs associated with Go are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Joo (주) – Joo means “chief” or “lord,” and people with this surname are thought to be confident and assertive. The zodiac signs associated with Joo are Leo and Sagittarius.
  • Pyeon (편) – Pyeon means “slice” or “piece,” and those with this surname are thought to be resourceful and creative. The zodiac signs associated with Pyeon are Gemini and Virgo.
  • Yeon (연) – Yeon means “lotus,” and people with this surname are thought to be gentle and kind-hearted. The zodiac signs associated with Yeon are Taurus and Libra.
  • Cha (차) – Cha means “tea,” and those with this surname are thought to be calm and introspective. The zodiac signs associated with Cha are Cancer and Pisces.
  • Na (나) – Na means “bear,” and people with this surname are thought to be brave and resilient. The zodiac signs associated with Na are Aries and Leo.
  • Yang (양) – Yang means “sun” or “positive,” and those with this surname are thought to be optimistic and energetic. The zodiac signs associated with Yang are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Shin (신) – Shin means “belief” or “trust,” and people with this surname are thought to be honest and reliable. The zodiac signs associated with Shin are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Hwang (황) – Hwang means “yellow” or “emperor,” and those with this surname are thought to be confident and ambitious. The zodiac signs associated with Hwang are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Han (한) – Han means “Korean” or “great,” and people with this surname are thought to be strong-willed and determined. The zodiac signs associated with Han are Aries and Leo.
  • Jeong (정) – Jeong means “upright” or “honest,” and those with this surname are thought to be virtuous and trustworthy. The zodiac signs associated with Jeong are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Kwak (곽) – Kwak means “wall” or “fortress,” and people with this surname are thought to be strong and reliable. The zodiac signs associated with Kwak are Taurus and Libra.

Korean surnames rare

Here are some Korean surnames rare, along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Sohn (손) – Sohn means “descendant” or “heir,” and those with this surname are thought to be loyal and responsible. The zodiac signs associated with Sohn are Taurus and Libra.
  • Eom (엄) – Eom means “strict” or “precise,” and those with this surname are thought to be disciplined and detail-oriented. The zodiac signs associated with Eom are Virgo and Gemini.
  • Bae (배) – Bae means “inspiration” or “prosperity,” and people with this surname are thought to be creative and successful. The zodiac signs associated with Bae are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Jin (진) – Jin means “real” or “genuine,” and those with this surname are thought to be honest and trustworthy. The zodiac signs associated with Jin are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Gong (공) – Gong means “respect” or “tribute,” and those with this surname are thought to be humble and respectful. The zodiac signs associated with Gong are Virgo and Gemini.
  • Lim (임) – Lim means “forest” or “grove,” and people with this surname are thought to be independent and self-reliant. The zodiac signs associated with Lim are Taurus and Libra.
  • Cho (조) – Cho means “bird” or “phoenix,” and those with this surname are thought to be free-spirited and creative. The zodiac signs associated with Cho are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Kang (강) – Kang means “river” or “strong,” and people with this surname are thought to be resilient and determined. The zodiac signs associated with Kang are Sagittarius and Aquarius.

Remember that these meanings and zodiac sign associations are not definitive, and individuals with these surnames may have different characteristics or zodiac signs that align better with their personalities. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that while Korean surnames may have traditional meanings, they do not necessarily reflect the individual characteristics or abilities of those who carry the surname.

Unique Korean surnames

Here are some unique Korean surnames, along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Seo (서) – Seo means “west,” and people with this surname are thought to be adventurous and independent. The zodiac signs associated with Seo are Taurus and Libra.
  • Hyeon (현) – Hyeon means “virtuous” or “wise,” and those with this surname are thought to be intelligent and thoughtful. The zodiac signs associated with Hyeon are Virgo and Gemini.
  • Pyo (표) – Pyo means “sign” or “mark,” and people with this surname are thought to be decisive and clear-minded. The zodiac signs associated with Pyo are Aries and Leo.
  • Go (고) – Go means “high” or “tall,” and those with this surname are thought to be ambitious and confident. The zodiac signs associated with Go are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Mun (문) – Mun means “door” or “gate,” and people with this surname are thought to be open-minded and welcoming. The zodiac signs associated with Mun are Pisces and Cancer.
  • Hong (홍) – Hong means “red,” and those with this surname are thought to be passionate and enthusiastic. The zodiac signs associated with Hong are Leo and Aries.
  • Jin (진) – Jin means “real” or “genuine,” and people with this surname are thought to be sincere and authentic. The zodiac signs associated with Jin are Scorpio and Capricorn.
  • Su (수) – Su means “water,” and those with this surname are thought to be adaptable and versatile. The zodiac signs associated with Su are Pisces and Cancer.
  • Hyuk (혁) – Hyuk means “revolution” or “innovation,” and people with this surname are thought to be creative and inventive. The zodiac signs associated with Hyuk are Aquarius and Sagittarius.
  • Rim (림) – Rim means “forest” or “grove,” and those with this surname are thought to be calm and grounded. The zodiac signs associated with Rim are Taurus and Libra.
  • Eun (은) – Eun means “silver,” and people with this surname are thought to be gentle and kind-hearted. The zodiac signs associated with Eun are Virgo and Gemini.

Again, please keep in mind that these meanings and zodiac sign associations are not definitive, and individuals with these surnames may have different characteristics or zodiac signs that align better with their personalities. Additionally, while Korean surnames may have traditional meanings, they do not necessarily reflect the individual characteristics or abilities of those who carry the surname.

List of Korean surnames

Here is some more list of Korean surnames along with their meanings and corresponding zodiac signs:

  • Ahn (안) – Ahn means “peace” or “safety,” and people with this surname are thought to be calm and collected. The zodiac signs associated with Ahn are Taurus and Libra.
  • Moon (문) – Moon means “gate” or “door,” and those with this surname are thought to be curious and adventurous. The zodiac signs associated with the Moon are Pisces and Cancer.
  • Ryu (류) – Ryu means “willow,” and people with this surname are thought to be flexible and adaptable. The zodiac signs associated with Ryu are Virgo and Gemini.
  • Pyo (표) – Pyo means “sign” or “symbol,” and those with this surname are thought to be expressive and creative. The zodiac signs associated with Pyo are Pisces and Cancer.
  • Koo (구) – Koo means “old” or “ancient,” and people with this surname are thought to be wise and knowledgeable. The zodiac signs associated with Koo are Sagittarius and Aquarius.
  • Baek (백) – Baek means “hundred” or “white,” and people with this surname are thought to be pure and sincere. The zodiac signs associated with Baek are Taurus and Libra.

Most popular Korean surnames

Here are the 20 most popular Korean surnames, based on the latest data available:

  1. Kim (김)
  2. Lee (이)
  3. Park (박)
  4. Choi (최)
  5. Jung (정)
  6. Kang (강)
  7. Jo (조)
  8. Yoon (윤)
  9. Jang (장)
  10. Han (한)
  11. Lim (임)
  12. Hong (홍)
  13. Shin (신)
  14. Oh (오)
  15. Song (송)
  16. Yoo (유)
  17. Seo (서)
  18. Jeong (정)
  19. Hwang (황)
  20. Kwon (권)
  1. Nam (남)
  2. Oh (오)
  3. Park (박)
  4. Ryu (류)
  5. Seo (서)
  6. Shim (심)
  7. Shin (신)
  8. So (소)
  9. Son (손)
  10. Song (송)
  11. Suh (서)
  12. Sunwoo (선우)
  13. Um (엄)
  14. Woo (우)
  15. Yang (양)
  16. Yeo (여)
  17. Yim (임)
  18. Yoon (윤)
  19. Yuh (여)
  20. Baek (백)

Most common korean surnames in united states

Here are the 50 most common Korean surnames in the United States:

  1. Kim (김)
  2. Lee (이)
  3. Park (박)
  4. Choi (최)
  5. Jung (정)
  6. Yang (양)
  7. Shin (신)
  8. Park (백)
  9. Yoon (윤)
  10. Han (한)
  11. Choe (최)
  12. Chung (정)
  13. Jo (조)
  14. Kim (김)
  15. Lee (리)
  16. Lim (임)
  17. Song (송)
  18. Oh (오)
  19. Kang (강)
  20. Moon (문)
  21. Hong (홍)
  22. Yoo (유)
  23. Jang (장)
  24. Hwang (황)
  25. Kwon (권)
  26. Yu (유)
  27. Ha (하)
  28. Cho (조)
  29. Suh (서)
  30. Cho (초)
  31. Bang (방)
  32. Chae (채)
  33. Chang (창)
  34. Chon (천)
  35. Chong (총)
  36. Chu (주)
  37. Chung (정)
  38. Do (도)
  39. Ha (하)
  40. Han (한)
  41. Hwang (황)
  42. Hyun (현)
  43. Im (임)
  44. Jeon (전)
  45. Ji (지)
  46. Jo (조)
  47. Joo (주)
  48. Jun (전)
  49. Kang (강)
  50. Kim (김)
  51. Song (송)
  52. Suh (서)
  53. Sunwoo (선우)
  54. Um (엄)
  55. Won (원)
  56. Yang (양)
  57. Yeo (여)
  58. Yim (임)
  59. Yoo (유)
  60. Yoon (윤)
  61. Baik (백)
  62. Bang (방)
  63. Chae (채)
  1. Jin (진)
  2. Kim (김)
  3. Kwon (권)
  4. Na (나)
  5. Nam (남)
  6. Paek (백)
  7. Park (박)
  8. Ryu (류)
  9. Seo (서)
  10. Shin (신)
  11. Sohn (손)
  12. Son (손)
  13. Sung (성)
  14. Um (엄)
  15. Won (원)
  16. Yang (양)
  17. Yeo (여)
  18. Yim (임)
  19. Yi (이)
  20. You (유)
  21. Yune (윤)
  22. Ahn (안)
  23. Bae (배)
  24. Chang (장)
  25. Chon (천)
  26. Chong (총)
  27. Chu (주)
  28. Ha (하)
  29. Heo (허)
  30. Hong (홍)
  31. Huh (허)
  32. Im (임)
  33. Jeon (전)
  34. Jeong (정)
  35. Ji (지)
  36. Kim (김)
  37. Ko (고)
  38. Koo (구)
  39. Kwon (권)
  40. Lee (리)
  41. Lim (임)
  42. Min (민)
  43. Moon (문)
  44. Namkoong (남궁)
  45. Oh (오)
  46. Koo (구)
  47. Kwon (권)
  48. Lee (이)
  49. Maeng (맹)
  50. Mun (문)
  51. Namgoong (남궁)
  52. Oh (오)
  53. Park (박)
  54. Pyun (편)
  55. Roh (노)
  56. Ryu (류)
  57. Seo (서)
  58. Seol (설)
  59. Shim (심)
  60. Shin (신)
  61. Shon (손)
  62. Chon (천)
  63. Chong (총)
  1. Pang (방)
  2. Pyo (표)
  3. Ryu (류)
  4. Seok (석)
  5. Seong (성)
  6. Seo (서)
  7. Shim (심)
  8. Shon (손)
  9. Suh (서)
  10. Suk (석)
  11. Sun (선)
  12. Uhm (엄)
  13. Whang (황)
  14. Woo (우)
  15. Yang (양)
  16. Yeom (염)
  17. Yi (이)
  18. Yim (임)
  19. Yoo (유)
  20. Yoon (윤)
  21. Yu (유)
  22. Yun (윤)
  23. Bok (복)
  24. Cheon (천)
  25. Go (고)
  26. Ha (하)
  27. Hahn (한)
  28. Han (한)
  29. Heo (허)
  30. Hong (홍)
  31. Hwang (황)
  32. Hyun (현)
  33. Jang (장)
  34. Jeong (정)
  35. Jo (조)
  36. Jung (중)
  37. Kang (강)
  38. Kim (김)
  39. Ko (고)
  40. Koo (구)
  41. Kwon (권)
  42. Lee (이)
  43. Lim (임)
  44. Ma (마)
  45. Min (민)
  46. Kim (김)
  47. Ko (고)
  48. Do (도)
  49. Ha (하)
  50. Han (한)
  51. Hong (홍)
  52. Hwang (황)
  53. Hyun (현)
  54. Jang (장)
  55. Jeong (정)
  56. Ji (지)
  57. Jo (조)
  58. Joo (주)
  59. Jun (전)
  60. Kang (강)
  61. Kim (김)
  62. Chu (주)
  63. Chung (정)

Once again, it is important to note that the number and order of Korean surnames can vary depending on the source of data and the method of analysis.

Name Origins has lots of great name articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Korean Surnames then why not take a look at Beautiful Brazilian surnames, or for something different take a look at Rare French Surnames.

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