Ko (Korean surname)

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PronunciationGo, Goh, Koh
Region of originKorean peninsula
Other names
Variant(s)Gao, Cao
Revised RomanizationGo

Ko (Hanja: 髙|高), also variously romanized Go, Goh, or Koh, is a common Korean family name. As of the 2000 South Korean census, there were 435,000 Kos in South Korea, accounting for just under 1% of the population. Liaoyang (Hanja: 遼陽) based Go (Hanja: 高) family is The Royal of Goguryeo, Northern Yan ruler Gao Yun (Hanja: 高雲), Tang Dynasty general Gao Xianzhi (Hanja: 高仙芝) has Goguryeo origin. In South Korea, Hoengseong Go clan is also descended from the Royal dynasty of Goguryeo and the clan's geneaology book specifies Dongmyeong of Goguryeo as the direct ancestor [1]. Japan's Koma (高麗) clan is also descendant of royal dynasty of Goguryeo. Chinese character 高麗 (Koma) originates from Goguryeo's abbreviated name (Ko'gu'ryo -> Koryo), but in japan, 'ryo' is pronounced as 'ma'. Koryo is also the name of 10 century Korea name unified and founded by Wang dynasty, a noble family originating from Goguryeo (Koguryo), and presently known name of the country, Korea (English pronunciation of Koryo). These Go clans in three countries are called Goguryeo Go (koguryo Ko) in common. Thus, it can be said the part 'Ko' from 'Korea' originates from the surname 'Ko', Ko(gu)ryo Dynasty surname.


According to the Samguk Sagi, the Goguryeo royal family claimed descent from the mythical god Gao Yang, who was the grandson of the Yellow Emperor of Chinese mythology, and thus took the surname of "Go" (高);[2][3][4][5][6][7] however, this legend was discredited in the commentaries (논찬; 論贊) by Kim Busik, the compiler of the Samguk Sagi, who concluded that both Baekje and Goguryeo originated from Buyeo.[8]

Go or Goh[edit]

Ko or Koh[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "고구려 고씨". 강원일보. 29 January 2004.
  2. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第二十八 百濟本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
  3. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第十八 髙句麗本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
  4. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 의자왕 義慈王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  5. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 광개토왕 廣開土王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  6. ^ 金光林 (2014). A Comparison of the Korean and Japanese Approaches to Foreign Family Names (PDF). Journal of Cultural Interaction in East Asia Vol.5 Society for Cultural Interaction in East Asia.p30
  7. ^ Samguk Sagi volume 28
    Classical Chinese
    :髙句麗亦以髙辛氏之後, 姓髙氏 見晉書載記。
    — 三國史記 卷二十八 百濟本紀 第六
  8. ^ Breuker, Remco E. (2010). Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea, 918-1170: History, Ideology and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty. BRILL. p. 94. ISBN 9789004183254. Retrieved 15 February 2019.