▲ Korean addresses were made simpler in 2014 with the mandatory use of road names and building numbers. Photo by Yun Seong Un
Supposedly simpler and clearer, the new address system based on street names and house numbers was made compulsory from January 2014. It had been used alongside the old system since 2011.
The biggest change was the removal of “beonji,” the city block number. This was replaced by the street name and house number, reflecting systems interna-tionally.
The village name (“dong”) can be added first in parenthesis, as can the apartment name, but both of these are optional. Adding them can help locate your prop-erty for non-mail personnel.
If you do add the apartment name, you should include the room and block num-bers outside of the parethensis.
Irrespective of phonetic changes, all Korean streets ending “ro” are spelled that way, despite official romanization rules.
Old system: Samyang 2-dong, 2140-11, Jeju City
New system: (Samyang 2-dong) 1, Wondang-ro, Jeju-si
Old system: Jeju City, Yeondong, 266-beonji
New system: 29, Yeondong 4-gil, Jeju-si
According to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, the Japanese colonial authorities carried out a nation-wide survey of land ownership in 1918 and assigned all land a number. As part of the institutional colonization of Korea, Koreans were forced to use the address system on their family registers.
The system was confusing. The numbers given to land related to the order in which it was surveyed, rather than location. The new street name and house number system should be easier for residents.
There are worries that in this reclas-sification of the complicated layouts of towns and villages, traditional names could be lost. Many streets in Korea are currently small and nameless, leading to further confusion. The government states that in such instances, communities can make formal name-change requests.
Real estate registry. When people sign real estate or housing lease contracts, the old address must be used alongside the new one.
Visit the Public Administration Min-istry’s website to find out your address: juso.go.kr/openIndexPage.do
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