Korean names usually seem to be in the format [single character family name] - [two character given name] -e.g. 김민정, 권지용, 박근혜.

Are there any names that are not in this format? e.g. are there any family names of more than one character, or any given names of less or more than two characters?

  • 3
    Just anecdotally, I knew a woman named 양순 (Family name 양, given name 순) as well as a man named 권혁 (Family name 권, given name 혁). When I have a moment I will type out a more complete answer. There are examples of two character surnames as well.
    – Vladhagen
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 22:02

3 Answers 3


Here is a wiki page of all family names in Korea.

The common family names among them that be seen these days are '선우', '제갈', '남궁', '황보'.


As Kayla Kwon has indicated, there are several family names that are two characters.

In my comment above, I gave two examples of people that I knew that only had a single character given name. I knew a woman named 양순 (Family name 양, given name 순) as well as a man named 권혁 (Family name 권, given name 혁). While somewhat rare, names of a single character are out there.

A single character given name was actually somewhat common among historical scholars. Men like 이이 and 이황 come to mind. They also had pen names (율곡 and 퇴계) that were only two characters.

I have also seen people with THREE characters in their given name. One person I knew had the name 최진주성 (Family name of 최, given name of 진주성). Although not true in this case I have given, I believe that it is more common to see a "long" given name if the name is pure Korean (and not Sino-Korean).

As I understand it, the South Korean government limits a name to a total of five characters. (The link is in Korean. The final paragraph speaks of the limit of five characters).


I think it has become more popular to diverge from the traditional 3 syllable names (1 family name 2 first name).

I know people with fewer than 3 and more than 3. Names like 홍솔 or 최아름나라

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