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origin of korean last name lee

There are three Chinese characters for the surname Yi, but two of the three are quite rare, and one of these is not found outside North Korea. Lee is the anglicized spelling of a very common Korean surname. Lee is a surname with many possible meanings and origins: The surname LEA, including the common alternate spelling LEE, was originally given to a person who lived in or near a laye, from the Middle English meaning "clearing in the woods." Sung-Yoon Lee explains that since most Korean names have only three syllables (some have just two, a surname and a first name), addressing one by his/her full name and his/her title is not nearly as cumbersome as saying "President Barack Obama," for example. The Chinese surname, Lee/Li, means 'plum' or 'plum tree' and share the same character. “Once a Korean woman is married, and especially after she gives birth, she would be known by both men and women as 'Mrs. “One of Korea’s early kingdoms, Shilla (9 B.C. 1992: Seo Taiji & Boys The history of Korean pop since the 90s is largely the story of … Current family names have their origin in the lineage system used in previous historical periods. There are multiple entries for this name… LEE (1) English. This Korean last name originated during AD 918–1392 and was the family name of the members of Kyongsang South Province’s Kochang County. The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: Lee. Most popular Korean last names on FamilyEducation: Lee, Kim, Choi. T The English Lee family is descended from the Norman Lee family. Why I'm Glad My Last Name Isn't Kim, Lee or Park 12/09/2014 04:29 pm ET Updated Feb 08, 2015 I recently watched a documentary titled The Grace Lee Project, where a Korean-American filmmaker named Grace Lee from Missouri investigated why people assume that most Grace Lees are 'reserved, dutiful, piano-playing overachievers.' Her predecessor in that office was named Lee Myung-bak; before him, for most of the 1990s, South Korea was ruled by men named Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam. Park, Associate Professor of History and Director of the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies at University of Pennsylvania, told IB Times that by 1392 (the start of Chosun dynasty), roughly 70 percent of Koreans were using surnames -- meaning everyone but slaves. Her predecessor in that office was named Lee Myung-bak; before him, for most of the 1990s, South Korea … The surname Lee is a variant of Lea. Of these, Kim, Lee, and Park are the most common. Korean language, language spoken by more than 75 million people, of whom 48 million live in South Korea and 24 million in North Korea.There are more than 2 million speakers in China, approximately 1 million in the United States, and about 500,000 in Japan.Korean is the official language of both South Korea (Republic of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). in . This is a list of Korean names, in Hangul alphabetical order. Lee. The origin of the Li last name was quite complicated, having to do with the official title and tree name. Korean: the second most common surname in Korea, comprising about 16 percent of the total population. “So, presumptions of prestige still resonate in contemporary Korea,” Sung-Yoon Lee commented. Lee is the typical romanization of the common South Korean surname I (이), North Korean surname Ri (리). Indeed, for some of these Kims and Parks, “their surnames still carry the prestige of the purported upper-class bloodlines.". Further complicating things, Korean women are not compelled to take their husband’s surnames upon marriage, although any children produced do automatically inherit the father’s name. Sir Henry Lee (1530 - 1610) was master of the ordnance and personal champion to Queen Elizabeth from 1559 to 1590, when his son took over the position. To those not familiar with Korean history and culture, it’d be easy to assume that all Koreans have the last name Kim, Lee, Park or Choi. Still, intriguingly, Korean laws long banned men and women with the same surname from marrying each other – though this prohibition no longer exists. In 1891 there were 8,536 Lee families living in Yorkshire. Korea's paucity of surnames and the heavy concentration of a handful of those names are linked to the peninsula's long feudal history and its complex relationships with aggressive neighbors China and Japan. But "Kim" remains the champ by a wide margin, with government statistics suggesting that more than one-fifth of all Koreans have this surname, some 10 million of them in South Korea alone. Sung-Yoon Lee, assistant professor of Korean Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston, told IBTimes that during the late Silla period of Korean history (coinciding with the ninth and 10th centuries of the Christian era), the practice of adopting Chinese-character surnames among the Korean nobility became popular. The name is written identically to the Chinese name Li 李 in Hanja characters. However, most holders of a particular name are not closely related. Lee: Korean last name which means "Plum or Judge". Korean Last Names Sung-Yoon Lee posits, however, that this does not imply Korean women enjoy greater rights than their counterparts in the West, where wives typically adopt their husbands' surnames. The Lees of Shropshire, were notable as the forebears of the colonial American Lee family which produced Richard Henry Lee, Robert Edward Lee, and Zachary Taylor. In the United States during the year 2000 census, "Lee" was the 22nd-most-common surname.[1]. Surname Popularity Namesakes. The related surnames Legh and Leigh are usually from the Middle English form of the word, ‘legh’-though they do occasionally derive from the older source. The most common Korean last names are Kim, Lee, and Park, which collectively make up almost half of the Korean people. The name in Ireland has several diverse origins, resulting in widely dispersed clusters of the name in South Western, Western (Galway) and North Eastern Counties. That is over 14% of all people in the country. There are several distinct origins of the Lee surname. Korean names use Chinese characters, reflecting the Korean aristocracy's adoption of Confucian naming models (i.e., full names) as long ago as the fifth century. LEE is possibly a modern form of the ancient Irish name "O'Liathain." Lee is the typical romanization of the common South Korean surname I (Hangul 이), North Korean surname Ri . Note: (S) denotes South Korea. The most Lee families were found in the USA in 1880. Lee is derived from the Sino Korean word ‘Li’ and refers to ‘plum’ or ‘a plum tree’. It is found in every part of the country. Commoners on the peninsula did not have that privilege. 기 (起) : rise. One in 10 are named Lee, and nearly half the population is named Kim, Lee or Choi. ", Kim Young-un estimated that more than 130 Korean surnames were adopted from China. When the long-oppressed common people, who hitherto had no surnames, were given the "privilege" of selecting one, they chose "noble" surnames like Kim and Lee. Korea’s iconic Samsung Electronics corporation was founded by Lee Byung-chul and now headed by a man named Lee Kun-hee. [3] Other Lees have English roots and still others may have derived from the Norman "Du Lea". On the whole, according to various accounts, there are no more than about 250 surnames currently in use in Korea (in contrast, in Japan and the Netherlands there are more than 100,000 active surnames in each society). Lee means dweller at, or near a meadow or an open place in a woods. 1. “For much of Korean history, only the elite had surnames,” Baker said. Yi Name Meaning and History. The most popular Korean last names are Kim, Lee, and Park, which together make up the names of about half the Korean ethnic population. â Ne-ga(ë ¤ê° )â means â Youâ . Names. Nowadays, the new generation is also looking for uncommon Korean last names, and we have also listed those below. Surname Popularity Namesakes. Method 5: Pick A Korean Name With Special Meaning Biggest Risk From North Korea? Image: Hwaseong Fortress in Suwo, South Korea. The Korean and Vietnamese variations -- Yi, Rhee, and Ri -- may have Chinese origin. to 935 A.D.) was founded and ruled by a Kim clan,” he said. ... Another meaning of this Korean surname means ‘jade’. English-Korean dictionary. The Lee family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. It is also a variant Chinese romanization of LI (1). The most common is the Anglicization of the Gaelic names MacLaoidhigh and MacAnLeagha. LEE is possibly a modern form of the ancient Irish name “Choi came a bit later. Only about 250 Korean family names are in use. Chinese pronounce it as Li. Browse for all the origins, histories, and meanings of Lee and almost 2,000,000 other surnames. Outside of the realm of politics, some of the most famous Koreans in the world include actor/model Kim Soo-hyun, Olympic swimmer Park Tae-hwan, figure skater Kim Yu-na, and, of course, Gangnam-style singer/entertainer Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang). “In the course of nearly 1,000 years, the Kim clan multiplied as the ruling aristocracy, branching into a multitude of powerful sub-clans, like a giant tree with many roots, spreading throughout the land. “In other words, her 'identity' and even raison d'etre transition into fulfilling the traditional role of the nurturing wife or mother.” At any rate, Kims and Lees dominate the country's phone books. (Of course, the U.S. is a far more ethnically diverse nation than the essentially homogenous state of Korea). '”, Sung-Yoon Lee adds that in many ways South Korea remains a class-conscious Confucian society, in spite of the leveling effects of democracy and capitalism and the rise of internationally famous Korean athletes and entertainers. Lee is a prominent VA family name brought over in 1641 by Richard Lee (d. 1664), a VA planter and legislator. English: topographic name for someone who lived near a meadow or a patch of arable land, Middle English lee, lea, from Old English lea, dative case (used after a … (N) denotes North Korea. Incidentally, Lee (or Li) is also one of the most common surnames on the planet, with at least 100 million people answering to that name, principally in China. In a phenomenon that may be completely unique to the Korean culture – which comprise some 75 million people who live on the Korean peninsula, and another 7 million in the global diaspora -- only three surnames, Kim, Lee and Park, account for the appellations of nearly one-half of all Koreans. The traditional pronunciation of 이, I, or EE is still employed in South Korea. So, you might wonder, what happens when someone (Korean or foreigner) finds himself in a Korean corporation or government assembly? This is a place name coming from the Old English word ‘leah’, which means ‘wood, glade, clearing, field or pasture’. Each clan is associated with a specific place, such as the Gimhae Kim. “If you have a small group of people where each has a different last name and there is no ambiguity, you would omit the first name and just say 'Assemblyman Kim. What does Lee mean?. 5 miles (4 km) wide that was established by the terms of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean … “In the Seoul parliament, you would address each assemblyman by his full name plus the honorific 'Assemblyman,'" he said. Kim' (after her husband, Mr. Kim) or 'so-and-so's mother,'” he said. Ben Tao was given the title of Da Li (Li which has the same pronouncement as … (In the United States, the most popular surnames are Smith, Jones and Williams, but they do not dominate the American naming landscape the way Kim, Lee and Park do in Korea. LEE means "plum tree" in Chinese. He then just chose a modern and cool-sounding first name in Korea. In addition, Korea’s iconic Samsung Electronics corporation was founded by Lee Byung-chul and now headed by a man named Lee Kun-hee. Throughout North and South Korea, the generation level and surname come before a person’s first name. “‘Kim’ and ‘Park’ were the [principal] royal names from this period,” he said. This developed variously into the surnames MacAulay, MacAlee, Lee, Lea, and Leigh. The most common Korean surname (particularly in South Korea) is Kim, followed by Lee (Rhee, Yi) (second most common) and Park (Pak) (third most common). In fact in a population of a little more than 50 million, one in five are named Kim. Koreans Romanized it as Lee but the right pronunciation is actually Yi or Rhee. Like Japanese last names, these names stem from Chinese characters converted into a different script. Korean : variant of Yi. “Those elites tended to adopt surnames that would make it plausible to claim that they had ancestors from China, then the country Koreans admired the most. Song Nai Rhee emphasized that surnames (or more appropriately, clan groups within a surname) are not taken lightly in Korea -- indeed, they play an important role in modern business and politics. “That limited the number of 'high-prestige' surnames available,” he added. One recognized root was the anglicization of the Irish surname "Ó Laoidigh" which resulted in a number of variants, such as Lee, Lea, and Leigh. Introduction; Browse Surnames; Advanced Search; Most Common ... Lee. Modern Korean names are now written in Hangul, which means ‘great script’ in Korean. There were only a few such surnames. Originating from Norway as "Lie", this surname was altered when it arrived in the Americas in the late 1800s to fit the English language's pronunciation. The 1901 Irish census[4] list 4912 entries primarily in the counties of Galway, Dublin, Cork, Antrim, Limerick and Down. Korean form of LI (1), from Sino-Korean 李 (i). Indeed, the Chinese, who have had a significant influence on Korean history and culture, are key to this discussion. [2] Discover the meaning and history behind your last name. "Under the strict social hierarchy in which only influential families were treated with respect, people of [the] lower social classes may have wanted to cover up their [modest] backgrounds by adopting noble family names," said an anthropologist named Kim Young-un in an essay collection entitled "Let's Talk About History and Future of Korea, China and Japan. Yorkshire had the highest population of Lee families in 1891. Lee or I (이) is the second most common surname, or family name, in Korea. How would the various Lees and Kims be distinguished from one another? The current president of South Korea is named Park Geun-hye (Park being her surname). There was a descendent of Shao Hao known as Ben Tao, who was an official of the Justice Department. Eugene Y. One of Korea’s most popular (and first) ballad singers, Gwang-jo Lee, managed to sell 300,000 copies of his 1985 album You’re Too Far Away to Get Close To. It is the second-most-common surname in Korea, behind only Kim . [citation needed]. However, despite the huge proliferation of Kims and Lees in Korea, people carrying this surname are not necessarily related genetically, since they are divided by hundreds of bon-gwan (regional clans) -- for example, the "Kyongju Kim" clan and the "Kimhae Kim" clan. His great-grandsons included the brothers Arthur, Francis L., Richard Henry, and William Lee, all prominent American Revolution legislators and diplomats. Your last name gives you a sense of identity and helps you discover who you are and where you come from. The history of Lee originates from a background. who in recent years have become naturalized Korean citizens, Kim, Lee, Park and Choi were the most popular names that they adopted as their own. Professor Park of Penn noted, however, that in North Korea the taboo against marrying someone with the same name and same ancestral homeland means little since the Communist regime has discourages whatever practices and customs it deems "feudal." “They have enhanced cooperation and mutual assistance among clan members through clan solidarity… A person running for a political office, for example, could count on the support of his or her clan associations.” Interestingly, according to the South Korean government, among foreign nationals (that is, people from China, Vietnam, Mongolia, the Philippines, etc.) And Lee was the [founder of the] dynasty of the Chosun Kingdom [which lasted from 1392-1910], the longest administrative dynasty in [world] history.” During late 19th century, in the wake of reforms and the abolition of the rigid class system in Korea, the official adoption of Chinese-character surnames (which were mostly monosyllabic) became common for the wider Korean population. 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