Addresses in South Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Addresses in South Korea are used to identify specific locations within the country. The Republic of Korea currently uses two addressing systems. The current official system, the Road Name Address system rolled out on July 29, 2011,[1] uses street names and house numbers, and is similar to the systems used by the United States, Canada, and Europe. The previous system was the East Asian system, which is also used in Japan and North Korea (but not within the Chinese-speaking world), but although still commonly used, is no longer officially recognized since December 31, 2013.[2]

Since many Korean streets are small and nameless, however, and since the Road Name Address system is still relatively new, the most common addressing system in use in South Korea is the East Asian system. Due to the confusion that Korean addresses may present to foreigners, therefore, the postal code (nnn-nnn), if available, should always be included for clarity.

Road Name Address system[edit]

The current system used in South Korea is similar to that used by most countries around the world. [3]

Some Korean streets have names, typically ending in -gil (길) for smaller streets and -ro/-no/-lo (로, 路) for larger thoroughfares. (The pronunciation of "로" in Korean, and therefore its rendering in the Latin alphabet, depends on the sound preceding it, according to the transcription rules of Revised Romanization.) Streets may be named after a feature in the area (such as 청소년길 ("Adolescent Street") near a primary school), or after the neighborhood (dong) in which they lie. Street names may be unique, or, in a convention which may seem confusing to foreigners, the same name can be re-used for several streets in the same area, with each street having a unique number. The streets need not run parallel to each other or be numbered in order; one street may be a continuation of another, and two such streets may intersect. For example, in the Jangwi 3 neighborhood of Seoul's Seongbuk-gu, the following streets exist: Chambit-gil, Chambit 1-gil, Chambit 3-gil, and Chambit 4-gil (참빛길, 참빛1길, 참빛3길, 참빛4길). These streets do not all run in the same direction; one street intersects another while a third street is a continuation of yet another. These four streets have the same name due only to their location in the same area.

Long streets, typically the larger ro (로), may be divided into sections (ga, 가, 街) along their length. The longer the street is, the more sections it generally has. For example, Namdaemun-no (남대문로) in central Seoul has 5 sections, Namdaemun-no 1-ga (남대문로1가) through Namdaemun-no 5-ga (남대문로5가).

Houses are numbered along a street with even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other, as in most European countries. Hyphenated house numbers indicate that the house or building is on a street or alley that is too small or too short to receive a name of its own. Instead, all houses on this street or alley (or network of small alleys) share the same house number, followed by a hyphen, followed by a unique number afterwards. For example, if a network of small alleys branched off from Gongwon-gil between 21 Gongwon-gil and 25 Gongwon-gil, then the houses in that network of alleys would have addresses such as 23-1 Gongwon-gil, 23-2 Gongwon-gil, etc. Note that although many houses do have house numbers along a named street, the most popular convention today is the East Asian system, due to its long-standing history within Korea.

An address written using this Road Name Address system is similar to the previous system when written in Korean in that the largest entity is written first, while the recipient is written last. The ward (gu) is generally included before the street name, while the neighborhood, city block, and house number (within the city block) are not included.

Korean example Format Revised Romanization Translation
100-813 서울특별시
중구 태평로 1가 24-2번지
하나 아파트 104동 915호
박민호 선생님
(Special) City
Ward, street name, house number (beonji)
Building Name, Building Number Room Number
Name of recipient
Postal Code
Seoul
Jung-gu Taepyeong-no 1-ga 24-2 beonji
Hana Apateu 104-dong 915-ho
Bak Minho Seonsaeng-nim
100-813
Seoul Special City
Jung Ward, Taepyeong Street Section 1, Building 24-2
Hana Apartments, 104th building 9th floor 15th room
Mr. Minho Park
100-813

Note that the word "번지" (beonji, 番地) does not refer to a city block here, as it does in the East Asian system. Instead, it refers to the house number. This word can be omitted altogether, as in the previous system. Also, when written in Korean, the space between "Taepyeong-no" and "1-ga" is optional (i.e. 태평로 1가 or 태평로1가).

Latin alphabet example (Apartment) Format
Mr. Minho PARK
104-915(or "104-dong, 915-ho"), Hana Apartments
24-2 Taepyeong-no 1-ga, Jung-gu
Seoul
100-813
SOUTH KOREA(or "Republic of Korea", "Rep. of Korea")
Name of recipient
"Building Number"(if there are several buildings in one complex)-"Room Number", Name of Apartment Complex
House number, street name and section number, ward
(Special) City
Postal Code
South Korea

Just as in the East Asian system, different administrative divisions may be listed before the street name to make the location clear (for example, the province and city). If problems may arise with the Road Name Address system due to its relative newness, the traditional address may be included in parentheses afterwards. For example, Korea Post gives its address as 서울특별시 종로구 종로 6 (서린동 154-1) (Seoul Special City, Jongno-gu, Jong-no 6 (Seorin-dong 154-1)).

East Asian system[edit]

A typical building in South Korea is described by the administrative divisions in which it lies. If the address is written in Korean, the largest division will be written first, followed by the smaller divisions, and finally the building and the recipient. If the recipient is in a multi-unit building, the floor and apartment or suite number may follow.

A typical building in Seoul, for example, belongs to Seoul Metropolitan City, a particular ward (gu, 구, 區), and a neighborhood (dong, 동, 洞) within that ward. (Neighborhood names that include numbers, such as Seocho 2-dong (서초2동) in the example below, indicate that the neighborhood was once part of a larger neighborhood that was divided for administrative purposes, possibly because the original neighborhood's population grew too large for a single neighborhood.) Each neighborhood is divided into city blocks (beonji, 번지, 番地), which can range from several dozen to several thousand per neighborhood. The building itself is given a house number (ho, 호, 戶) within the city block. (Usually, the words "번지" and "호" are not included in the written address; instead, only their numbers, separated by a hyphen, are written.) If the building has a name, then the city block and house numbers may in some cases be omitted, or the name may follow these numbers. After the building name or number, the floor (cheung, 층, 層) may be written, followed by the apartment or suite number (ho, 호, 號) and, finally, the recipient.

Below is a fictitious example of an address in Seoul. Note that the neighborhood, Seocho 2-dong, includes a number and was probably split from Seocho-dong. Also, the words "번지" and "호" are omitted, and only their numbers are written, separated by a hyphen. There is no line convention for addresses written in Korean, and the entire address may be written in one line on the envelope.

Korean example Format Revised Romanization Translation
서울특별시
용산구 서초2동 1308-25
하나아파트 104동 915호
박민호 선생님
135-283
City
Ward, Neighborhood, beonji-ho
Building name, Building Number, Room Number
Name of recipient
Postal Code
Seoul
Yongsan-gu Seocho 2-dong 1308-25
HanaAPT 104-dong 915-ho (or just "104-915")
Bak Minho Seonsaeng-nim
135-283
Seoul Metropolitan City
Yongsan Ward, Seocho Neighborhood #2, 1308-25
Hana Apartments, 104th(or 4th) building of the complex, 9th floor 15th room
Mr. Minho Park
135-283

Other administrative divisions found in South Korean addresses are provinces, metropolitan cities, cities, counties, towns, townships, and villages. A Korean address written using the East Asian system uses between two and four of the aforementioned administrative divisions, in addition to the city block and house numbers, to describe the building's location (the example above uses three: special city, ward, and neighborhood).

When written in the Latin alphabet, the order is reversed so that the recipient is first and the city is last. Note that "gu" and "dong" are written in lower-case and connected with a hyphen, and that they are not translated into English. Also, SOUTH KOREA is added afterwards (always in English) for international mail. The recipient's family name may be capitalized to avoid ambiguity. It should also be noted that there is no official convention for South Korean addresses written in the Latin alphabet, and addresses are written in many ways. Mail carriers, however, are trained to interpret various formats, and should have little trouble delivering mail, especially if the postal code is included. The following is a simple compromise of the various Westernization schemes.

Latin alphabet example (Apartment) Format
Mr. Minho PARK
104-915(or "104-dong, 915-ho"), Hana Apartments(or "Hana APT"),
(1308-25), Seocho 2-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul
135-283
SOUTH KOREA(or "Republic of Korea", "Rep. of Korea")
Name of recipient
"Building Number"(if there are several buildings in one complex)-"Room Number", Name of Apartment Complex
Beonji-ho, Neighborhood, Ward
(Special) City
Postal Code
South Korea

References[edit]

See also[edit]