March 22, 2010 12:38
Over the last 10 years, some 850,000 people or one in 60 Koreans applied to change their names. The Supreme Court on Sunday said the number of people who filed application for name change between 2000 and 2009 was 844,615, of whom 86.4 percent or 730,277 were successful.
The reason the number of applications soared was that the Supreme Court in 2005 ruled that changing names should be permitted unless the intention was to hide crimes committed or avoid punishment.
Among the 162,246 people whose application was approved by the Supreme Court last year, Min-jun was the most popular name for men with 552 people, and Seo-yeon for women with 1,401. In the past, many people wanted to change names that sounded old-fashioned or unpleasant, but now an increasing number of people do so for superstitious reasons such as choosing names believed to bring prosperity.
People who share names with brutal criminals like serial killer Kang Ho-sun are also among applicants.
According to data published by the National Court Administration, popular names have changed over time. The most popular names in 1948 were Young-su for men and Sun-ja for women. But in recent years, unisex names such as Ji-won and Hyeon-seo are being preferred.
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