I'm used to seeing that Korean names written in Hangul are counterparts of Chinese character forms - e.g. 권지용 could be represented 权志龙, 박근혜 as 朴槿惠, and so on. Note that here when I say Chinese characters, I mean it in a general sense.

However, there are many 'native' Korean words that don't have Chinese representations. So I was wondering - are there any Korean names that are pure Korean, without a Chinese representation? If so, what are some common ones?

  • Discussion here about the nuances of meaning of 'Hanja'. I've reworded this question in a way that hopefully removes any distracting mistakes I've made! Dec 7, 2016 at 22:15
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    I just want to say that my husband has a native Korean name - 햇살 (Hatsal) which means sunshine.
    – Seoma
    Sep 22, 2021 at 17:42
  • Just for reference, 权 is not the correct Han character to use for Korean usage of 권 since 权 is Simplified Chinese. 權 would be the appropriate form to use here.
    – 率龜_
    May 11, 2023 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


Of course!

Recently(since about 2000's), making name with original Korean words is a trend among young parents. Their family name is from Hanja, but the names are native Korean words.

ex) 이하늬(Actress), 김사랑(Actress), 산다라 박(Singer, 2NE1), 강하늘(Actor), 임슬옹(Singer, 2AM), 구하라(Singer, KARA), ...

I found the list of them though it's written in Korean.


I think you are asking if Koreans named their child based on the hanja meaning or the original word meaning. 강하늘 is an example of name not based on hanja meaning.

There are such a trend recently, however there are still some rules when naming which makes all these words convertible to hanja, which is, by now you hardly see a name with (d/t) as the final consonant or any double or compound consonant ending but only ㅁ,ㄴ,ㅇ,ㅂ,ㄹ and ㄱ.

Example: 달 may be named based on the word "moon". However it is also the hangul of hanja like 達. Chinese translation is still working, and Korean stars especially are known by their translated name in Chinese-speaking countries.

  • Interesting. I see that the distinction is not quite as clear as I thought! Thanks. Dec 6, 2016 at 23:54

There are only a small amount of 'pure korean' names nowadays. (Such as 'Baram' which means wind, 'Ari' which means beautiful, etc) However, the family names are 100% chinese character origin. You might wonder why Japan keeps the kanji's meaning as a way of reading it while Korea only preserves the 'sound'. It's because Korean is way more longer and harder to combine than Japanese, which made the usage of pure korean names become lower by the years. In example, the mythical first Silla dynasty king's name was 'Paraka Nuri' which means 'bright world' in pure korean. Also, a famous military dictator in the goguryeo dynasty's name was 'Iri Kasumi' which means 'Lake Gold'. Pure Korean names were common for both nobles and the people until the 8th century, when a King made a 'sinicization' policy that kinda got rid of most nobles' pure korean names. However, pure korean names were still common among the ordinary people, until the late joseon dynasty in the 18th century, when people were forced to choose a sinitic family name. After that, there were no pure korean names until recent times (1990s) when a spark of nationlism occured and people started to bring back pure korean names although they are still not a large amount.

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