Meeting Kim Jeong-Eun

I met Kim Jeong-Eun today. For obvious reasons I can’t tell you exactly where or how, but I will tell you that she seemed perfectly  nice.

Oh, I see your confusion. No, no, not that one, or even this one. Kim is, of course, Korea’s most common surname, and Jeong-Eun is, by itself, a perfectly reasonable given name.

Three issues arise: the spelling of names in English, in hangeul and in hanja. Kim Jong-un (the NK leader), Kim Jung-eun (the SK actress) and the one I met have the same name in hangeul: 김정은. (Those are the transliterations Wikipedia uses.) But the NK leader’s and the SK actress’s name in hanja are 金正恩 and 金諪恩 respectively. I don’t know whether that makes them ‘the same name’ (per the spelling in hangeul) or ‘different names’ (per the hanja). I also don’t know how the one I met spells her name in English or in hanja.

Use of the name 정은 by anyone else in NK is now prohibited by law, and I suspect that not a lot of SK parents are deciding to call their children that, especially if their surname is .

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