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Park or Bak () is the third most frequent Korean name,[1] traditionally traced back to King Hyeokgeose Park (박혁거세) and theoretically inclusive of all of his descendants. The name "Park" or Bak is usually assumed to come from the Korean noun Bak (), which means "gourd".[2]

Revised RomanizationBak
Percentage of family names in South Korea


Founding legendEdit

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]


Bak with fellow students at Changchun Military Academy
Presidents of South Korea Park Chung-Hee (1963–1979) and his daughter, Park Geun-hye (2013–2017) (pictured) are from the Goryeong clan of the Baks.[4]
Bak with the Dodgers in 2008. Bak Chan ho is from the Chungju clan of the Baks.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon scheduled a meeting with Psy in the belief that music has great power to overcome intolerance. PSY(Bak Jae Sang) is from the Miryang clan of the Baks. [5]
Bak with Sun Yang of China, in 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Bak Tae Hwan is from the Miryang clan of the Baks.
Bak Ji-sung is from the Miryang Clan of the Baks.

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]

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 progenitor Percentage (%)
Miryang[8] Grand Prince Eon-chim of Milseong 77.8*
Bannam (Naju) Lord Hojang 3.6
Juksan (Andong) Grand Prince Eunnip of Juksan 1.4
Goryeong Park Eun-seong, Grand Prince of Goyang 1.0
Yeonghae (Yeongdeok) Park Je-sang 0.7
Chungju Park Sang 0.6
Myeoncheon (Dangjin) Park Sul-hui 0.1
Pyeongsan King Hyeokgeose, founder of Silla 0.01

* Further divided into 12 families called "Pa(파)".

Marriage within a clanEdit

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 – and now DNA tests have superseded bon-gwan as an indication of one's lineage.

Position in societyEdit

House of Park
Parent houseItself
Founded57 BC
FounderKing Hyeokgeose
Final rulerKing 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. Sometime in the fourth century, the Kingship remained in the Gim clan, but the Gim clan has been recorded as having paid tribute to the founding father, Bak Hyeokgeose as their ancestral shrine. For instance, 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 descendants of the Seok clan, but according to the Samguk sagi Silla bongi, they paid tribute to the Bak Hyeokgeose as their ancestral shrine. 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 21th king Soji of Silla, the 22th king Jijeung of Silla, the 40th king Aejang of Silla, the 41st king Heondeok of Silla and the 42nd king Heungdeok of Silla are all descendants of Gim Al-ji, but according to the Samguk sagi Silla bongi, all of them paid tribute to the Bak Hyeokgeose as their ancestral shrine. This can be seen as the lineage of Seoak Tal-hae and Gim Al-ji perceiving themselves as a member of Bak's royal family. In other words, all three lineages of Bak, Seok, and Gim served Bak Hyeokgeose together as their founding father. Even when Gim monopolized the throne for more than 500 years, the worship of the founder Bak Hyuk-geose continued, and this sanctity of the founder Bak Hyeokgeose may have been the foundation for the Bak dynasty to be briefly revived in later generations. During the last century of the dynasty, the Bak family regained the position of the ruling house in 728 years. However, the reign of the Bak clan lasted only 15 years. The Bak dynasty was cut off again when Gyeongae of Silla was forced to commit suicide by Gyeon Hwon of the Hubaekje Kingdom. Although Gim Bu became king again, he soon surrendered to the royal family of Goryeo, and Silla finally collpased after 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. The bone rank system persists to this day via the common Korean saying, "bbyeodae itneun jiban" (family with bones) to refer to families of deep noble heritage.

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 Sartaq.

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, many 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. With the social turbulence caused by the Korean War of 1950, many former peasants carry on as original members of the Park clan today. True family members maintain their ancient genealogy passed down through the families, as well as by the convention of naming their children according to strict Confucian system.

According to Kojiki (古事記), Nihonshoki (日本書紀) and Harimanokunifudoki (播磨国風土記), one of Bak Princes, recorded in various names such 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, founding the Itoi (糸井) clan, Miyake (三宅) clan, Tachibanamori (橘守) clan and Tajima (但馬) clan in 27 BC. [9]

Notable peopleEdit


Kings of Silla in order of their reign:

Historical peopleEdit

  • General Park Seo (Defeated the Mongol Army of Sartak at Battle of Kusong 1231)
  • Park Soon ko:박순 (고려) (?-1402). Military subordinate to Taejo of Joseon. Accompanied Taejo in all military campaigns from the anti-Japanese pirate campaigns in the south to Liaodong invasion of 1388. Personally delivered the message of Redeployment from Wihwado to King Ui of Goryeo in behalf of Taejo. Was appointed the high commander of Joseon Army following the founding of the dynasty. Killed during the Northeastern Rebellion of 1398 ko:조사의의 난
  • Pak Paeng-nyeon (1417–1456) was a scholar-official of the early Joseon Dynasty, and is known as one of the six martyred ministers. He was born to a yangban family of the Suncheon Pak lineage, and was the son of high minister Pak Jeongrim. He joined in a plot to overthrow Sejo and restore Danjong in 1456, but the plot was uncovered through the betrayal of fellow plotter Kim Jil. Sejo admired Pak's abilities and offered to pardon him if he were to deny his involvement and acknowledge Sejo as his king. Park died in prison from torture. Revered as a model of Confucian Loyalty. Alone among the six martyred ministers to have a surviving male descendant. One of his female servant passed off his youngest son as her own, thereby ensuring the family name. All other family and relatives were executed.
  • Park Joong Seon ko:박중선 (1435–1481) Passed the National Military Service Exam with the highest score in 1460 at the age of 35. Held in high esteem by the new King Sejo for his excellent riding and archery skills, frequently accompanying the king as his personal body guard on hunts. Married off his daughter to the Crown Prince in 1366, becoming an in-law of the King. In 1367, appointed a Provincial General to put down the Northeastern Rebellion, earning further accolades becoming the youngest Minister of Defense in Joseon history.
  • Park Jin (1560–1597) Served in the military intelligence following his passing of the national military service exam. Transferred to Infantry 4 years before the Japanese Invasion of 1592. Defeated by the Japanese at the Battle of Miryang (Clan home), before regaining his honor in follow on victories, including the battle of Yeongcheon and the Second Battle of Gyeongju. Was instrumental in convincing Sayaga, the highest ranking Samurai General of the invasion force to surrender. In 1597, near the end of the war, a Ming Chinese General 누승선(婁承先) accused him falsely of disobeying official order, tortured him, resulting in his death. Korean investigators confirmed broken ribs and sternum on his body.
  • Park Yeon (박연) (1595– after 1666). Jan Janse de Weltevree, after his 1627 shipwreck, was drowned to Jeju Island and was not allowed to leave Korea. Thus he adopted a Korean name.
  • Pak Jega (1750–1815) was a Korean Scholar of Practical Learning Silhak who advocated modern commercial reformation for Joseon dynasty after visiting China on official capacity. A strong critic of the Confucian scholars first mentality, he was banished to the provinces in 1805.
  • Park Gyu-su 박규수 (1807–1877). He passed the national service exam in 1848, and as an inspector, put down the 1862 Peasant Rebellion in Jinju, reducing the tax burden and punishing the corrupt official of the city. As the Inspector General of Pyeong An Province in 1866, when USS General Sherman General Sherman Incident made its expedition into Pyeong Yang, ordered the attack on the ship when the sailors began attacking and looting the populace, resulting in the burning and sinking of the ship. Also a geographer, cartographer, and poet in the classical style. Became a notable member of the modernization movement in late Joseon until his death in 1877.
  • Park Jeong Yang ko:박정양 (1842–1905) was the First Ambassador of Joseon to the United States in 1887, and a member of Kim Hong Jip cabinet.


  • Militia Leader Park KiSeo (Organized a militia to resist the Donghak rebels in Jeolla Province in 1895. Liberated several town in ChungCheong Province before dying in battle.)
  • General Park Jong Heon (Chief of Staff, Republic of Korea Air Force 2010–2012 AD)






Literary figuresEdit



Voice actorsEdit


Fictional charactersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Korean Family Names". KOSIS. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  2. ^ a b The National Folk Museum of Korea (2014). Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Literature: Encyclopedia of Korean Folklore and Traditional Culture Vol. III. 길잡이미디어. pp. 29–30. ISBN 9788928900848.
  3. ^ "Pak Hyeokgeose: the founder of the Silla kingdom was respected and courageous". 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  4. ^ "정복규의 한국 성씨를 찾아서 -박근혜 후보와 고령박씨". Shina Ilbo. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  5. ^ Nichols, Michelle (October 23, 2012). "U.N. chief to meet South Korean pop star, Austrian skydiver". Reuters. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "박" (in Korean). Doopedia. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  7. ^ a b "박씨" (in Korean). Korea Economic Daily. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-07-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "日本書紀巻第六". 720. Retrieved 2019-05-17.