Korean exonyms

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Korean exonyms are the names of places in the Korean language that differ from the name given in the place's dominant language.

For names of non-Chinese origin, Korean exonyms tend to represent the country's Exonym and endonym or their English exonym as phonologically possible within the Korean language.

For names of Chinese origin, Korean can use either the Sino-Korean pronunciation, which are the Korean pronunciations of Chinese characters, or an approximation of the endonym or English exonym.[1]

Some names may differ somewhat between North Korean and South Korean dialects as their general lack of communication with one another since 1945, their differences regarding communication with foreign nations, and language politics have resulted in aforementioned dialects to become increasingly different from one another over the years.


Jungguk (중국)
English name Korean name Sino-Korean name Endonym Notes
Beijing Beijing (베이징) Bukgyeong (북경) Bĕijīng (北京) Mandarin
Hong Kong Hongkong (홍콩) Xiānggǎng (香港) Mandarin based on the English exonym
Hēung Góng Cantonese
Shanghai Shanghai (샹하이) Sanghae (상해) Shànghǎi (上海) Mandarin

Chinese endonyms for places in mainland China are written in simplified Chinese characters, while places in the Special administrative regions of China|special administrative regions are written in traditional Chinese characters.


, Ilbon (일본)
English name South Korean name North Korean name Sino-Korean name Endonym Notes
Name Language
Kyoto Gyoto (교토) Kyōto (京都) Japanese
Osaka Osaka (오사카) Osagga (오사까) Ōsaka (大阪) Japanese
Tokyo Dokyo (도쿄) Doggyo (도꾜) Donggyeong(동경)[2] Tōkyō (東京) Japanese

United States

Miguk (미국)
English name South Korean name North Korean name Notes
Chicago Shikago (시카고)
Los Angeles Loseu-Aenjelleseu (로스앤젤레스)
New York City Nyu-Yok (뉴욕) Nyu-Yokeu (뉴요크)


Beteunam (베트남)
English name South Korean name North Korean name Sino-Korean pronunciation Endonym Notes
Name in Vietnamese alphabet Name in Chinese characters Language
Hanoi Hanoi


Hane (하내) Hà Nội 河內 Vietnamese
Ho Chi Minh City Hojjimin-Shi


Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 城舗胡志明 Vietnamese The South Korean translation is a hybrid of the transcription of the name Ho Chi Minh (호찌민) and the Korean word for city, shi (시). Saigon is an alternative name for the city, and the two names are used interchangeably even among Vietnamese.
Hue Hue


Thành phố Huế 城舖化 Vietnamese
Saigon Saigong


Sài Gòn 柴棍 Vietnamese Since the end of the Vietnam War, the city was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City. However, both names are still used interchangeably even among Vietnamese.

Although Chinese characters are no longer used to write Vietnamese in daily life and very few Vietnamese can read Chinese characters, the names of cities in Chinese characters are still included above for reference of the Korean alphabet.


  1. "How To Say 'China' In Korean". 90 Day Korean®. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  2. Campbell, Mike. "Meaning, origin and history of the place name Donggyeong". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2020-12-07.

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