Korean - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The rule of descent in Korea was and still is patrilineal in principle, although a bilateral trend has begun to emerge. The origin of patrilineal rule may be prehistoric, but it first gained strength through Chinese influence beginning in the first half of the first century B.C. The patrilineal rule of descent gave rise to a number of elaborate kin groups, lineages, and clans. Most lineages and clans maintain written genealogical records following the patrilineal rule. There are over 1,000 clans in Korea, each of which includes scores of lineages. Some genealogies published recently tend to list female members who were already married to members of other clans.

Kinship Terminology. The influence of Chinese Confucianism has altered the original kinship terminology, especially in kinship nomenclature for reference terms among those of yangban origin. As far as the terms of address for cousins are concerned, Korean kinship can be classified as a modified Hawaiian type, although male paternal parallel cousins are favored over other cousins.


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