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Baby-naming in Korea: What are the most popular names? Updated: 2014-01-02 21:52:43 KST

 Baby-naming in Korea: What are the most popular names?
Korean names may sound similar as many people choose certain letters for the two-syllable first name.
The traditional naming process involves 'five elements' - of water, fire, metal, earth and wood -- indicated at the moment of birth -- the date, time and year based on the Chinese zodiac.
Traditional namers then pick certain Chinese letters with positive meanings that can counter weaknesses in the baby's fate.

"It was mostly the grandfather's job to name a newborn baby and it's customary for siblings to share a same letter or a syllable according to the family's tradition. Is it still the case? Or is the trend changing?"

According to a survey by babycenter.com, six out of 10 Koreans still go to professional namers for their newborns but more and more parents are less inclined to think a baby's name affects its fate.

"I don't necessarily think we should name the baby according to the time of birth, because if that was the case, all babies born at the same time would have the same fate."

These types of parents are not bound to family commitments or Chinese letters, so they tend to seek out more unique names based on Korean words.

"My first child was a daughter, so we did not have to go with the family's shared letter mandated to sons.
So we named her 'Siam' meaning 'fountain' in Korean, and our newborn daughter is named 'Ara' meaning sea."

Some children are named after celebrities' kids or toddler stars from reality shows here in Korea.
Over the past five years, Min-jun has been the most popular name for boys and Seo-yeon for girls.
Compared to the past, syllables that sound more unisex, like 'ji' or 'bin' have been gaining in popularity.
More people are also choosing names that can be pronounced easily overseas.

"More and more Koreans are going for names that are easier to pronounce.
They try to avoid complex syllables that are difficult to express in English, like 'Eun' or 'Eo'."

And with numerous websites around, the process of finding that perfect name is just one click away.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
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