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Singular Korean surnames

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By Mark Peterson

When I came to understand that surnames in Korea were unlike those in other countries ― a high concentration of the population having one of only a few names ― it occurred to me that this was indeed a measure of what I had been looking at in other perspectives.

In fact, of my top 10 list I've been treating in the last few weeks, perhaps the surnames is one of the most interesting, if not the most convincing. Here at the end of this series, let me list the "top 10" evidences of Korea's peaceful and stable history:

1. The longest dynasties in the world
2. Smooth transitions between dynasties
3. Relatively few invasions
4. Has never invaded another country
5. The longest-unchanged border in the world
6. Royal tombs not plundered
7. Seonbi culture, not samurai culture
8. Civilian control of the court
9. Slavery, the longest, unbroken chain in the world
10. Few surnames, a symbol of long-running aristocracy

Since beginning this discussion I've found two exceptions to the surname situation. I had begun by comparing Korean surname distribution to that in Japan, China and the United States and a few other countries. Japan is at the other end of the spectrum.........

© The Korea Times