Some of the ambassadors in Korea have a Korean name or a Hanja (Chinese-character) name. They almost invariably have a strong interest in Korean culture and history as well as in the promotion of relations between Korea and their countries. Most Koreans who know them call them Chin-Han-Pa (meaning ‘Ambassadors Very Friendly with Korea’).
Normally, the Hanja characters are the same but are pronounced different among the three countries using the Hanja characters, such as Korea, China and Japan.
For instance, Ambassador Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay has a Korean name, Park Dae-Su (박대수 in Hangeul and 朴大秀 in Hanja [Chinese characters]). Park is a common Korean family name meaning ‘a hackberry tree or purity), Dae means ‘greatness’ and Su ‘excellence.’
Park Dae-Su, however, is pronounced different in Chinese and Japanese. In Chinese it is pronounced ‘Piao Dai-Xiu’ and in Japanese it is pronounced ‘Boku Dai-Shu.’ In all three countries the meaning is the same.
Ambassador Konstantin Vnukov of the Russian Federation in Seoul also has a Chinese-character name from ‘Vnukov’ and it is spelled 伍康寧 and pronounced in Korean Oh Kang-Nyeong, Wu Kang-Ning in Chinese and Go Ko-Nei in Japanese. Oh means ‘five persons’ or ‘company,’ Kang ‘good health’ and Nyeong ‘happiness.’
If a Korean scholar in Chinese classics is asked to present a full name of Ambassador Vnukov, one would offer 崑壽緞珍 富努高褒 or 康斯坦丁 富努高褒. China already has a name of Konstantin and it is 康斯坦丁as in the case of 康斯坦丁 沃肖洛夫, a Chinese name already in use by Konstantin Novoselov, a noted Russian physicist born in 1974.
In Hangeul (Korean alphabet) the first name Bu-No-Go-Bo means ‘Wealth, Diligence, Loftiness and Prize.’ The given name Gon-Su-Dan-Jin means ‘Mountain, Longevity, Silk and Rareness.’
Recently, Ambassador Ngovi Kitau of the Republic of Kenya in Seoul was presented with Hanja (Chinese-character) Korean equivalent of his name which reads 殷古飛 起多友 in Hanja and 은고비 기다우 in Hangeul.
A noted Korean scholar Hyunbo Sang-ik Lee (a friend of Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post), who specializes in Hanmun (Chinese classics) and calligraphy, presented his calligraphic work of the Chinese-character name of Ambassador Kitau at the Kenyan Embassy in Seoul.
The Chinese classic of the Ambassador’s name means 'Soaring High into the Skies' and 'Making Many Good Friends.'
Well-established Koreans have a number of such calligraphic works in frames and scrolls and hang them on the walls of their rooms for good luck and longevity as well as for display and aesthetic reasons.
Present at the presentation meeting of the calligraphic work were U.S.-educated Dr. Sang-ki Hahn (an agricultural specialist who stayed in Kenya and other parts of Africa for 25 years), former Director Choi Chi-pyong of Korean Educational Institute of the Korean Consulate in Sao Paulo in Brazil and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
Ambassador Kitau presented each Korean guest with a Korean-Kenyan National Flag badge and a bag of Kenyan coffee whose outstanding quality and aroma were explained by the Korean agricultural specialist, Dr. Hahn.
Dr. Hahn also reminisced how convenient it had now become to travel to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and other parts of Africa, for that matter, now that the Incheon International Airport has a direct flight to its Kenyan counterpart airport in Nairobi.
Hahn said that in the past it took him five full days to reach Nairobi from Seoul and that it included an involuntary over-night stay at the airport waiting for flight connections.
Ambassador Kitau said that the number of visitors between Korea and Kenya has increased substantially thanks to the direct flight between the two countries.