AP Style Korean Names

How to Write Korean Names

The style and spelling of names in North Korea and South Korea follow each government’s standard policy for transliterations unless the subject had a personal preference.

North Korean names are written as three separate words, each starting with a capital letter. For example,

  • Kim Jong Il.

Use Kim on second reference.

South Korea names are written as two names, with the given name hyphenated and a lowercase letter after the hyphen. For example,

  • Lee Myung-bak

Use Lee on second reference.

For South Korea place names, use the revised Romanized spellings introduced by the South Korean government in 2000. For example,

  • Incheon (formerly Inchon).
  • Busan (formerly Pusan).

In both Koreas, the family name comes first.

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