Hongan (birthplace) (本貫)
Hongan (also called Ubusuna) refers to the registered address on the family register under the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the Ritsuryo code) in China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan. This was extended to indicate the birthplace of the family name or the clan.
In Japan, samurai families called their 'place of the surname' 'hongan' or 'honganchi (place of hongan).'
Outside of Japan, hongan is known to be used as an expression for the birthplace of the clan's originator, which is still being put in use in the Korean Peninsula. In China, it is used as the place where the family register is registered, or in ways (such as the birthplace of the originator) that derived from the use already described.
Hongan under the Ritsuryo system
In Japan, the Hongan system was introduced with the establishment of the Taiho Ritsuryo. People were placed on the family register and the tax register of their honganchi, and leaving the honganchi without permission was considered as vagrancy and was prohibited. Three years after a family's escape, and six years after the escape of a member of the family, they were removed from the family and tax register, and became 絶貫 (a person without a birthplace). Later, when those that fled were found, measures either 'tosho henpu' that made them admitted to the family register that they had fled to, or 'hongan kanpu' that had them deported back to their original honganchi, was taken (however, for people with hongan in Mutsu Province and Dewa Province, 'hongan kanpu' was taken). Also, the measure to exempt the returnees from a year of labor was taken to encourage voluntary return ('sokan') of those that fled. Furthermore, there were stipulations such as when a student withdrew from Daigaku-ryo (Bureau of Education under the Ritsuryo system) notification must be made to hongan (Gaku-ryo [law on scholarship]); when a commandeered laborer died before his return, notification must be made to hongan (Fueki-ryo [law on tax]); chonai and shijin (lower rank officers) whose master died must be returned to hongan (Senjo-ryo [law on recruitment and promotion of government officials]); and sakimori (soldiers deployed for boarder defenses) who fell sick must be returned to hongan (Gunbo-ryo [law on military defense]).
Hongan of samurai families
Later, the samurai class that suddenly rose to power after the late Heian Period began using their territory land (myoden) as their surname (myoji).
With this, the ''land of the surname' was called 'hongan' or 'honganchi.'
For example, honganchi of the Mori clan was Mori-no-sho in Sagami Province, and that of the Amago clan was Amago-go, Kora-no-sho in Omi Province.
Deities of hongan
Since the deity enshrined in honganchi was called 'Ubusunagami' (guardian deity of one's birthplace), Hongan was also called Ubusuna, and gradually became a synonym of 'Ujigami' (guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion).
Hongan in the Korean Peninsula
Although the family name, which describes the origin of the same clan, is the same, it was considered a different clan when the hongan was different. On the contrary, there were a few cases where it was considered as the same hongan even if the family names were different. Since there are only about 250 family names in Korea and family names such as Kim, Ri, Bag, Choe, and Jeong (the five major names) hold a majority, people have identified each other by connecting hongan and the family names. For instance, in the case of the family name of Kim, hongan was an effective measure in distinguishing clans, since there was the royal family of Gimhae Gaya (in Gaya) and the royal family of Silla, which were clans with completely different lineage.
In South Korea, the greatest figure among one's ancestor was referred to as Shiso (founder), and the place where he or his descendants settled down or were appointed were regarded as hongan. In addition, there are also cases where the founder of restoration is referred to as Chushiso. There are many cases where the number of generation is counted from his or her Shiso when hongan is used to describe a person. However, there are hongan with multiple Shiso. They are distinguished by using the name of a school such as XX school when the originators or Chushiso are different. Also, even with the same hongan, if its difference is obvious, there are cases where it is treated as another hongan or making changes to the hongan. For example, in the case of the Gimhae Kim clan, there was the hongan having the royal family of Gimgwan Gaya as its founder, the Jeung Gimhae Kim clan having Sayaka as its founder, and the Kim clan (they later changed their name to the Gimnyeong Kim clan) claimed themselves as the descendants of the royal family of Silla and having Gimhae as its hongan. In addition, the Andong Kim clan also includes the Kim clan (the old Andong Kim clan) claiming themselves as the descendants of the royal family of Silla, and the new Andong Kim clan having a meritorious retainer for establishment of Goryeo as its founder. When the hongan is the same, one is named by the use of Koretsuji (generational character) and so on, and in most cases, the same Chinese character is used to name those who are of the same generation.
Hongan is managed by creating zokufu (record of family lines). It is said that this custom was introduced from China. Zokufu held such an important position that during the period of Yi Dynasty Korea (1392-1910), that the first thing to save in case of fire was zokufu. The first zokufu made in the Korean Peninsula is said to be the zokufu of the Suwon Paik clan made in 1403. However, only its preface is handed down. Although zokufu has been created since the 15th century, it is said to be after the 16th century when zokufu was officially created.
One of the roles of hongan or zokufu in Korea is for Yangban (traditional ruling class or nobles of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty) to prove the legitimacy and quality of their family lines.
Due to this attribute, the common hongan in South Korea consist mostly of the royal families of Silla, the royal families of Gaya (their Chushiso were the meritorious retainers who contributed to Tongilsilla), local ruling families and nobles of Silla, meritorious retainers of Goryeo, and immigrants such as famous Chinese scholars and military commanders (However, Wang families or Son families among Chinese immigrants have no hongan with the ancestry of the immigrants or small hongan with unclear origin.)
On the other hand, the Baekje line is extremely limited having families of the Jeongseon Jeon clan and the Cheonan Jeon clan, and the Goguryeo line has mainly the Jinju Gang clan. As of the Bohai line, it only had the Milyang Dae clan. Also, there rarely are clans that have hongan in China (such as the Gogbu Gong clan).
In addition, there are cases where a branch family is established and separate into a new hongan each time families prospered. For example, in the line of the Gyeongju Kim clan of the royal family of Silla, the descendants of the third and fourth sons of the 56th King Gyeongsun (the last king of Silla) is the Gyeongju Kim clan. The blood line of the first son died out, and the line was divided by the second son becoming the Raju Kim clan, the fifth son becoming 義城金氏, the sixth son becoming the Hongju Kim clan, the seventh son becoming Eonyang Kim clan, the eighth son becoming the Samcheog Kim clan, and the ninth son becoming the Ulsan Kim clan. The blood line of the fourth son is separated further into smaller groups, and has big families including the Andong Kim clan and the Gimnyeong Kim clan. Moreover, the descendants of the 54th King Gyeongmyeong are also separated into more than ten hongan including his first son's Milyang bag clan.
However, government posts and zokufu were sold from the late to the end of Yi Dynasty Korea period, which confused the hongan as blood line.
In Republic of Korea, until the Civil Code Article 809 Section 1 was declared void at the Constitutional Court in 1997 (Marriage ban of the same family name and hongan), marriage between those having the same family name and the same hongan was prohibited. After this ruling, de facto marriage couples with the same family names and hongan surfaced, and had come to be provided with the benefit of lawful marriage (Today marriage within eighth degree relatives is not legally permitted in South Korea).
(The Gimhae Kim clan, the Gimhae Heo clan, and the Incheon Ri clan have different family names, but they share the originator as King Suro-wang in Gimgwan Gaya, and were treated as the same hongan, which prevented them from getting married.)
In Democratic People's Republic of Korea, hongan has been abolished.
Major hongan in Korea
The Gimhae Kim clan
A clan having roots in the royal family of Gimgwan Gaya (in Gaya). They claim themselves as the descendants of King Suro-wang, the first king of Gaya.
Within the hongan with the same name, there is one that regards Sayaka (Kim Chung-seon) who was a Japanese general who surrendered at the Bunroku campaign as the originator, but it is treated as another hongan. When making a distinction, there are cases where the former is referred to as Gaya, and the latter as Uroku.
The Gimhae Heo clan is considered to be the descendants of King Suro-wang of Gimgwan Gaya, and treated equally with the hongan of the Gimhae Kim clan. This stems from the fact that King Suro-wang and his wife from the Heo clan had ten sons, two of which were given the family name of Heo.
The Milyang Bag clan
A clan having roots in Eonchim BAG, the first son of King Gyeongmyeong of Silla. They claim Hyeokgeose Geoseogan, the first king of Silla, as their originator.
The Jeonju Ri clan
They claim Han RI, a high official in Silla, as their originator. Seong-gye YI, the founder of Yi Dynasty Korea, is said to have originated from this clan.
The Gyeongju Kim clan
A clan having roots in the royal family of Silla. They claim Alji KIM, the first king of Silla with the family name of Kim, as their originator.
The Gyeongju Ri clan
It has roots in a local ruling family in the early period of Silla. They claim Alpyeong as their first ancestor, and they served as the village mayor of Keupryang, one of the six villages at the time of establishment of Silla (Silla-Yukbu).
The Gyeongju Choe clan
Just as the Gyeongju Ri clan, they claim 蘇伐都利 (Yeonweon CHOE), the village mayor of 沙梁部, one of the Silla-Yukbu at the time of establishment of Silla, as their originator.
The Gyeongju Jeong clan
They claim Pae ho JI, the village mayor of 本彼部, one of the Silla Yukbu at the time of establishment of Silla, as their originator. It is said that they were bestowed the family name of Jeong at the time of Yuri Isageum. Their Chushiso is jinhu JEONG, the 42nd descendant, and their hongan is the Gyeongju Jeong clan. It is the head family of the Jeong clan having Pae ho JI as its ancestor.
The Yeonil Jeong clan
They are the descendants of Pae ho JI, and their originator was Jungeun JEONG, a Jianyi Daifu (high steward who argues the politics and remonstrates the emperor) in Silla. They are also called the Yeongil Jeong clan or the Ocheon Jeong clan. They are separated into Chisoji koha group, Kanmu koha group and Ryoshuku koha group.
The Dongrae Jeong clan
They are the descendants of Pae ho JI, and their originator was 鄭檜文, the 安逸戸長 (chieftain for comfort) in Silla.
The Hadong Jeong clan
Although with the same hongan, there are groups having Dojeong JEONG, a descendant of Pae ho JI, as the originator, a group having Sonwi JEONG as the originator, and a group having Eung JEONG as the originator.
The Gyeongju Son clan
They claim Ryema GU who was the village mayor of 漸梁部, one of the Silla-Yukbu at the time of establishment of Silla, as their originator.
The Gyeongju Pe clan
They claim Ta GI who was the village mayor of 韓岐部, one of the Silla-Yukbu at the time of establishment of Silla, as their originator.
Hongan in China
It originally indicated the place where the family register was put.
It was meant to be the home ground for shitaifu (Scholar-bureaucrats), which nearly indicated their hometown. After the upheavals in the West Jin period, hogan was detached from its use as an indication one's birthplace, to a genealogical meaning that indicates the origin of the first ancestor. It also indicated within the aristocratic society that one belonged to the same family clan.
The Yeonam Weon clan
The Langye Wang clan
The Yeongcheon Jin clan
The Hongnong Yang clan
The Taeweon Wang clan
The Jingun Sa clan
Among the Chinese residents and Chinese descents that are living abroad, the word hongan is used to indicate the hometown of ancestors in China (for both the registered address and the original domicile).