Sin clan of Pyongsan

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Sin clan of Pyongsan
Hangul 평산 신씨
Hanja 平山 申氏
Revised Romanization Pyeongsan Sin
McCune–Reischauer Pyeongsan Sin

The Pyeongsan Shin clan of Korea (Korean: 평산 신씨) is one of the great aristocratic houses which originates from Korea. The clan was key in helping the foundation of the Goryeo Kingdom in the 10th century. Although the clan gained its initial power during Goryeo Dynasty, it became less prominent during the Joseon era.

Not all Koreans with the family name Shin today belong to the Pyeongsan Shin clan. Only about 600,000 Shins, or about 70% of all Shins hail from this clan. Others belong to other unrelated clans, such as the Goryeong Shin clan, who produced such 19th and 20th century notables as Shin Chae-ho.

Painting of Sa An-Do : Shin Sung-Gyeom hitting a goose with an arrow above Pyeongsan, Korea

Clan history during the Goryeo period (918-1392)[edit]

The Pyeongsan Shin clan is a Korean yangban (aristocratic) family, which takes its root during the 10th century Goryeo dynasty. At the beginning of the Goryeo period, the country was divided in several kingdoms fighting for supremacy over the Korean peninsula.

The founder of the clan is generally accepted to be General Shin Sung-gyeom, who helped King Wang Geon found the Goryeo Kingdom by dethroning the tyrant Gung Ye, alongside Hyeon Gyeong, Hong Yu and Bok Ji-geom in 918.[1]

As described on an official description plate at his memorial shrine in the province of Gangwon-do,[2] Shin Sung-gyeom died around 927 in a battle in modern-day Daegu, fighting bravely in the king's clothes to save King Wang Geon (also referred to as King Taejo), who formally founded the Goryeo Kingdom in the same year. After his death, the King bestowed upon Shin's son and Shin's brother the high aristocratic title of Jangjolgong.

According to the legend, the clan name of Pyeongsan Shin was given to Shin Sung-gyeom before his death, during a hunting trip with King Wang Geon. A skillful archer, Shin successfully hit "the left wing of the third goose among the flying geese over there."[3] Wang Geon was impressed and bestowed Shin with the land area, Pyeongsan, where the geese were flying over, and that is how the family line of Shin of Pyeongsan originated.[4] The land of Pyeongsan is currently situated in the North Korean province of Hwanghae.

Clan history during the Joseon period (1392-1910)[edit]

During the Joseon Dynasty, the Pyeongsan Shin family developed into one of many yangban families. As other yangbans of the time, members of the Pyeongsan Shin clan successfully passed the gwageo, or national civil service examinations. There was no hereditary aristocracy in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, as the bureaucracy was filled by tested and certified professionals. Having peaked during Goryeo Dynasty, Pyeongsan Shin clan produced fewer individuals of national prominence during Joseon Dynasty.


  1. ^ Korean Architecture: Shin Sung-kyom shrine, Daegu
  2. ^
  3. ^ “Warriors Who Changed the National History”, Hwang Won-gap, Indie Book, 655 pages, 2002
  4. ^ 평산신씨 평산닷컴

Further reading[edit]

Lee, Ki-baik (1984). A New History of Korea.