Park (Korean surname)

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Park or Bak (, Korean pronunciation:  [pak̚] ), is the third-most-common surname in Korea, [1] traditionally traced back to 1st century King Hyeokgeose Park (박혁거세) and theoretically inclusive of all of his descendants. Park or Bak is usually assumed to come from the Korean noun Bak (), meaning "gourd". [2] As of the South Korean census of 2015, there were 4,192,074 people with the name in South Korea, or roughly 8.4% of the population. [1]


Founding legend

All the Park clans in Korea trace their ancestry back to the first king of Silla, Hyeokgeose. According to a legend, the leaders of the six clans of the Jinhan confederacy were gathering on a hilltop to choose a king, when they looked down and saw lightning strike at the foot of the Yangsan mountain and a white horse bow at the same place. When they went there to check, they found a red egg, which hatched a baby boy. They bathed the boy in the nearby stream and he was emitting bright light and the sun and the moon rose at the same time, indicating the divine birth of the child. Thus the child was named Hyeokgeose, meaning "ruling with a bright light" and his clan name became Bak or "gourd" after the round shape of the egg he hatched from. At age 13 he was given the title geoseogan (거서간), the equivalent of "king" at the time. The birth legends of early Korean kings were necessary to validate the "divine" nature of their rule. [2] [3]

According to Yang ju-dong(梁柱東)’s research, both '赫' and '朴' in '朴赫居世’ are repeatedly written with the meaning of 'ᄇᆞᆰ' (Korean: 밝다, English: Bright) [4]

According to Samguk Sagi, the Jin people called gourd as "park", and the first large egg looked similar to the shape of the gourd, so his last name become Park(朴).


Park Chung-hee, 3rd President of South Korea. He is from the Goryeong clan of the Baks. Park Chung-hee.jpg
Park Chung-hee, 3rd President of South Korea. He is from the Goryeong clan of the Baks.
Bak Chan Ho is a former baseball player. He is from the Chungju clan of the Baks. OB-Chan-Ho-Park20110924.jpg
Bak Chan Ho is a former baseball player. He is from the Chungju clan of the Baks.
Park Jae Sang is a singer. He is from the Miryang clan of the Baks. PSY EMTV logo 27 (8198008711).jpg
Park Jae Sang is a singer. He is from the Miryang clan of the Baks.
Bak Tae-hwan is a South Korean swimmer. He is from the Miryang clan of the Baks. Incheon AsianGames Swimming 25.jpg
Bak Tae-hwan is a South Korean swimmer. He is from the Miryang clan of the Baks.
Bak Ji-sung, a former Manchester United South Korean football player. He is from the Miryang Clan of the Baks. Park Ji-sung G20 Seoul Summit Ambassador.jpg
Bak Ji-sung, a former Manchester United South Korean football player. He is from the Miryang Clan of the Baks.
Bak Junghwan, South Korean Baduk player (ceongjuMBCnyuseu) ceongnamdae badugjeonjaeng bagjeonghwan 9dan usda.jpg
Bak Junghwan, South Korean Baduk player

As with other Korean surnames, different lineages, known as bon-gwan or clans, are inherited from a father by his children. These designate the region of Korea or paternal ancestor, from which they claim to originate. Out of the kings of Silla, ten had the Park surname. During the rule of King Pasa (80–112), the Park clans became divided and during the reign of King Gyeongmyeong (917–924) they became even more fractured, creating several lineages. This is when the nine Park clans named after the nine sons of Gyeongmyeong came into existence. [6]

70–80% of the current bearers of the surname belong to the Miryang Bak clan. In 2015, there were 314 Bak clans in South Korea, with about 4.19 million people altogether. [7]

Family seal of the Miryang Park clan Miryang Park clan family seal.svg
Family seal of the Miryang Park clan

The clans which produced the most number of notable people in Korean history are collectively called the "8 Parks", these are: the Miryang Park clan (밀양박씨), the Bannam Park clan (반남박씨), the Goryeong Park clan (고령박씨), the Hamyang Park clan (함양박씨), the Juksan Park clan (죽산박씨), the Suncheon Park clan (순천박씨), the Muan Park clan (무안박씨) and the Chungju Park clan (충주박씨). [6] [7]

Clan name (Region)Clan progenitorPercentage (%)
Miryang [1] Grand Prince Eon-chim of Milseong, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 74.04
HamyangGrand Prince Bak Eon-shin, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 3.9
OthersUltimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 3.8
Bannam (Naju)Lord Hojang, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 3.8
SuncheonBak Yeong Kyu, Gyeon Hwon's son-in-law, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 3.8
Juksan (Andong)Grand Prince Eunnip of Juksan, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 1.5
Goryeong Park Eun-seong, Grand Prince of Goyang, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 1.0
Yeonghae (Yeongdeok)Park Je-sang, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 0.7
Chungju Park Sang, ultimately from Hyeokgeose of Silla 0.8

Marriage within a clan

Traditionally, a man and a woman in the same clan could not marry, so the combination of the bon-gwan and the family name of a husband had to differ from those of his wife. Until 1997, this was also the law, but this was ruled unconstitutional.

Position in society

House of Park
Parent houseItself
Country Korea
Founded57 BC
Founder King Hyeokgeose
Final ruler King Gyeongae
TitlesKing of Silla
DissolutionFall of Silla in 935

King Hyeokgeose was said to have founded the Korean kingdom of Silla at the age of thirteen in 57 BC. Bak was one of three houses of the Korean kingdom of Silla. Among the houses of Bak, Gim, and Seok, princes rotated on the throne of Silla. According to historical records, all three houses have been recorded as having worshipped the founding father, Bak Hyeokgeose as their ancestral shrine. For example, the 4th king Talhae of Silla, the 9th king Beolhyu of Silla, the 10th king Naehae of Silla, the 11th king Jobun of Silla, the 12th king Cheomhae of Silla, the 14th King Yurye of Silla and the 15th king Girim of Silla were house of Seok, but according to the Samguk sagi Silla bongi, all of them worshipped Bak Hyeokgeose as their progenitor. In addition, the 13th king Michu of Silla, the 16th king Heulhae of Silla, the 17th king Naemul of Silla, the 18th king Silseong of Silla, the 19th king Nulji of Silla, the 20th king Jabi of Silla, the 21st king Soji of Silla, the 22nd king Jijeung of Silla, the 40th king Aejang of Silla, the 41st king Heondeok of Silla and the 42nd king Heungdeok of Silla are descendants of Gim Al-ji, but according to the Samguk sagi Silla bongi, all of them worshipped Bak Hyeokgeose as their progenitor. In addition, according to Samguk sagi, the Shrine Shingung(神宮) was founded in the birthplace of the progenitor Bak Hyeokgeose(朴赫居世) and every king has been recorded as paying their respects at this shrine. All of these historical records imply that the three lineages of Bak, Seok, and Gim worshipped Bak Hyeokgeose as their founding ancestor. [8]

When Seonggols have died out followed by two consecutive queens, Kim Chun-Chu from Jingol began to monopolize the throne, which lasts 258 years. However, even during this period, the Kims did not fully occupy the throne. In the later period of Silla, the Bak clan from Jingol succeed in restoring the throne. During the last century of the dynasty, the Bak clan from Jingol regained the ruling house position in 728 years. However, the Bak dynasty was cut off when Gyeongae of Silla was forced to commit suicide by Gyeon Hwon of the Hubaekje Kingdom. The reign of the Bak clan lasted only 15 years. After that, Gim Bu became the last king of Silla, but soon surrendered to the Wang Geon of Goryeo and Silla finally collapsed in 992 years.

During the Unified Silla the Miryang Bak Clan, along with Gimhae Gim clan became the most prominent of the aristocracy, based on the bone rank system. Within the bone rank system, the two clans of Gimhae Gims and Miryang Baks were considered the most Jingol, or "True Bone". As Seong gol, or Divine bones died out through intermarriage, these two clans became the dominant noble houses on the peninsula following the conquest of rival dynasties.

After the fall of Silla, it continued as a major noble house of Goryeo. During the Goryeo dynasty, many of the people who passed the highest-level state examination, which was implemented to recruit ranking officials during the Goryeo dynasty, were Parks. The first General to defeat the Mongols in world history was General Park Seo, who commanded the successful defense of the fortress of Guju in 1231 against the forces led by Mongol General Salitai  [ zh ].

During Joseon dynasty, Parks continued to thrive as one of the main Yangban households. With the Gabo Reform of 1894, when the caste system was abolished, some peasants adopted the surname of Park, bloating the population of the Park family. Simultaneously with the abolition of the Gwageo national service examination, the Yangban system came to an end. During the Japanese Occupation Period, three of the ten Korean aristocrats admitted into Japanese House of Peers were of the Park Clan.

According to Kojiki, Nihon Shoki and 播磨国風土記 [ romanization needed ], one of Bak Princes, recorded in various names as Amenohiboko (天日槍), Amenohihoko (天之日矛), Hiboko (日桙), Amenohibokonomikoto (天日槍命), Amenohibokonomikoto (天日桙命) and Amanohiboko (海檜槍) migrated to Japan in 27 BC [9] and 糸井氏 [ romanization needed ] clan, Miyake clan, 橘守氏 [ romanization needed ] clan, 但馬氏 [ romanization needed ] clan, 絲井氏 [ romanization needed ] clan and Tajimamori are recorded as descendants of Amenohiboko. [10]

Notable people of the past

The following is a list of notable people of the past with the Korean family name Park/Bak. People should only be included in this list if they have their own Wikipedia articles or if they are discussed in a non-trivial fashion in Wikipedia articles on notable groups or events with which they are associated.


Kings of Silla in order of their reign:

Historical people

Notable people of the recent times






Literary figures




Voice actors


Fictional characters

See also

Related Research Articles

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Hyeokgeose of Silla, also known by his personal full name as Bak Hyeokgeose (朴赫居世), was the founding monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was the progenitor of all Bak (Park) clans in Korea.

<i>Yangban</i> Korean aristocratic caste

The yangban were part of the traditional ruling class or gentry of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The yangban were mainly composed of highly educated civil servants and military officers—landed or unlanded aristocrats who individually exemplified the Korean Confucian form of a "scholarly official". They were largely government administrators and bureaucrats who oversaw medieval and early modern Korea's traditional agrarian bureaucracy until the end of the dynasty in 1897. In a broader sense, an office holder's family and descendants, as well as country families who claimed such descent, were socially accepted as yangban.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Choi (Korean surname)</span> Korean family name (최)

Choi is a Korean family surname. As of the South Korean census of 2015, there were around 2.3 million people by this name in South Korea or roughly 4.7% of the population. In English-speaking countries, it is most often anglicized Choi, and sometimes also Chey, Choe or Chwe. Ethnic Koreans in the former USSR prefer the form Tsoi (Tsoy) especially as a transcription of the Cyrillic Цой.

Heo is a family name in Korea.

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Hwang or Whang is a Korean family name. Today, Hwangs comprise approximately 1.4% of the Korean population. The South Korean census in the year 2000 found that there were 644,294 Hwangs with over 68 Bon-gwan family clans, making it the 16th most common last name in the country. Also, it is estimated that there are over 29,410,000 individuals whose last names are the variations of Huang, including the Korean Hwang and the Vietnamese Hoang around the world. The Chinese character, or Hanja, for Hwang indicates "yellow" or “Huang Kingdom”.

Kwon also written as Gwon is a Korean family name. Some sources list as many 56 clans, but most of them were merged with the Andong Gwon clan under the Sijeung-gong faction soon after the establishment of the Goryeo Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jeong (surname)</span> Surname list

Jeong is a Latin alphabet rendition of the Korean family name "정", also often spelled Chung, Jung, Joung or Jong. As of the South Korean census of 2015, there were 2,407,601 people by this name in South Korea or 4.84% of the population. The Korean family name "정" is mainly derived from three homophonous hanja. (2,151,879), (243,803) and (11,683). The rest of the homophonous hanjas include: (139), (41), (29), (22) and (5).

Gim Alji(Kim Alti) was a historical figure in Korean history. His descendants formed the Gim royal clan of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Han is the typical romanized spelling of the Korean family name. Other alternate spellings for 한 include Hahn and Haan. In hanja, it translates to "King”, “Kingdom”, “country" and/or “Korean people”. Han is the oldest name in Korea.

Yun (윤) is a common family name in Korea, which means "governor". The name is sometimes also transliterated as Yoon, Yune, Yiun, or Youn. According to the 2000 census, 948,600 people had the surname in South Korea. It derives from the Chinese character 尹 also used for the Chinese surname Yǐn and Doãn in Vietnam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bak Yeon</span>

Bak Yeon or Park Yeon was a government official, scholar, writer, astronomer and musician in the Early Joseon Dynasty period, who was a teacher of King Sejong and created Armillary sphere Honcheonui, Water clock Borugak Jagyeongnu and sundial Yangbu Ilgu along with Jang Yeong-sil and five basic sounds(Gung, Sang, Gak, Chi, Wu), which corresponds to five consonant groups in Hunminjeongeum. He has also adapted court music to the new Confucian philosophy, particularly in the concept of yeak, a Confucian ideology that combines ritual and music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sunheung Ahn clan</span> Korean clan in Sunheung, North Gyeongsang Province

The Sunheung Ahn clan is a clan connected with the town of Sunheung, South Korea, and was well known during the Goryeo Dynasty and in the early Joseon Dynasty for its "blue-blood" status.

Ha is a Latin alphabet rendition of the Korean family name "하", also often spelled Hah or less commonly as Har. As of the South Korean census of 2000, there were 213,758 people by this name in South Korea, or roughly 0.5% of the population.

Korean clan names of foreign origin are clans that claim descent from a progenitor of foreign origin, based on genealogical records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jeonju Yi clan</span> Korean clan in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province

The Jeonju Yi clan is a Korean clan with the surname Yi. Their Bon-gwan is in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. The clan includes the former House of Yi which ruled the Joseon dynasty and the Korean Empire.


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