Open main menu

Bon-gwan is the concept of clan in Korea, which is used to distinguish clans that happen to share a same family name (clan name). Since Korea has been traditionally a Confucian country, this clan system is similar to ancient Chinese distinction of clan names or xing (姓) and lineage names or shi (氏).

Bon-gwan
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationBon-gwan
McCune–ReischauerPon'gwan

A Korean clan is a group of people that share the same paternal ancestor and is indicated by the combination of a bon-gwan and a family name (clan name). However, a bon-gwan isn't treated as a part of a Korean person's name.[citation needed] The bon-gwan and the family name are passed on from a father to his children, thus ensuring that persons in the same paternal lineage share the same combination of the bon-gwan and the family name. A bon-gwan does not change by marriage or adoption.

Bon-gwan are used to distinguish different lineages that bear the same family name. For example, the Gyeongju Kim and the Gimhae Kim are considered different clans, even though they happen to share the same family name Kim. In this case, Gyeongju and Gimhae are the respective bon-gwan of these clans.

Different family names sharing the same bon-gwan sometimes trace their origin to a common paternal ancestor, e.g. the Gimhae Kim clan and the Gimhae Heo clan share Suro of Geumgwan Gaya as their common paternal ancestor, though such case is exceptional.

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.[1]

Contents

Restriction on marriage and adoptionEdit

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 that of a wife. Until 1997, this was also the law, but this was ruled unconstitutional - and now DNA tests have superseded bon-gwan as an indication of one's lineage.

When adopting a child, the adoptive father and the adoptive child must share the same combination of the bon-gwan and the family name.[2] However, exceptionally, adoptive parents can change an adopted child’s family name for the adopted child's welfare.[2] In this case, the adoptive parents must visit a family court to request permission to change the family name.[2]

ListEdit

Hangul Hanja 2015 South Korean population
김해 김씨[Note 1] 金海 金氏
4,456,700
밀양 박씨[Note 2] 密陽 朴氏
3,103,942
전주 이씨[Note 3] 全州 李氏
2,631,643
경주 김씨[Note 4] 慶州 金氏
1,800,853
경주 이씨 慶州 李氏
1,391,867
진주 강씨 晉州 姜氏
968,109
경주 최씨 慶州 崔氏
945,005
광산 김씨 光山 金氏
926,316
파평 윤씨 坡平尹氏
770,932
청주 한씨 淸州 韓氏
752,689
안동 권씨 安東 權氏
696,317
인동 장씨 仁同 張氏
666,652
평산 신씨 平山申氏
563,375
순흥 안씨 順興 安氏
520,384
안동 김씨 安東 金氏
519,719
남양 홍씨 南陽 洪氏
487,488
동래 정씨 東萊 鄭氏
474,506
해주 오씨 海州 吳氏
462,704
전주 최씨 全州 崔氏
458,191
남평 문씨 南平 文氏
445,946
달성 서씨 達城 徐氏
407,431
창녕 조씨 昌寧 曺氏
366,798
수원 백씨 水原 白氏
354,428
경주 정씨 慶州 鄭氏
350,587
한양 조씨 漢陽 趙氏
332,580

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Descended from Suro of Gaya. After the fall of Gaya in 562, many Gaya aristocrats were incorporated into Silla.
  2. ^ Descended from Hyeokgeose of Silla (BC 57~936). All the Park clans in Korea trace their ancestry back to Hyeokgeose of Silla.
  3. ^ Descended from Yi Han of Silla.
  4. ^ Descended from Gim Alji of Silla

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2000 인구주택총조사 성씨 및 본관 집계결과". 통계청 (in Korean). Statistics Korea. Retrieved 20 October 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Law Agency. "The law of Family name and Bon-gwan(adoptive child)". easylaw.go.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-04-14.

External linksEdit

List of Korean clans (in Korean)