In “Asian Name Structure Part I” the traditional Asian naming structure (i.e.: Surname, given name) was introduced and the cultural priority issue that was behind the naming structure.
This article, “Asian Name Structure Part II” will introduce the meanings behind the names and the rules to changing family names after marriage.
Just like how most Western names have meaningful story behind their names, Asian names also have meanings but in a more complicated way. Some people base it off of the dream that the mother had before giving birth to the child. Some give descriptive names hoping that the child will grow up following their names (ex. “Hee-mang” is a common name in Korean that means “hope”), some give names based on the lunar birthday fortune. For example, my name literally means gold and water, because the lunar birthday fortune said that I will lack money during my lifetime, therefore my grandfather gave me gold and water symbols in my name, hoping that gold will flow like water into my life.
Some people base it off of the dream that the mother had before giving birth to the child, some give descriptive names hoping that the child will grow up following their names.
Changing one’s surname/family name is something that needs to be pondered before making the decision and in an Asian culture, changing one’s surname/family name is considered very disrespectful. In China and Korea, women do not change their surname/family name when they are married, but children take their father’s surname. In Japan on the other hand, one person in each marriage must take the husbands or the wife’s name. Most of the time the wife takes the husband’s surname/family name but there are cases when the husband takes the wife’s surname/family name, this is when the wife’s side of the family has no male heir to continue on the family line.
Now that you know about Asian name structures and the deep meaning that is within the names, let us not forget to call or refer to our Asian friends the proper way.