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Encyclopedia > Subdivisions of South Korea
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Administrative divisions of South Korea


South Korea is divided into 1 Special City (Teukbyeolsi), 6 Metropolitan Cities (Gwangyeoksi), and 9 Provinces (Do). These are further subdivided into a variety of smaller entities, including cities (Si), counties (Gun), wards (Gu), towns (Eup), districts (Myeon), neighbourhoods (Dong) and villages (Ri), as explained below.


(Note on translation: although the terms "Special City," "Metropolitan City," "Province," and "City" are commonly used on English-language government websites, the other translations ("county," "town," "ward," etc.) are not official translations, and are only intended to serve as useful illustrations of each entity's meaning.)

Contents


Teukbyeolsi ("Special City"; 특별시; 特別市)

A "Teukbyeolsi" is one of the primary divisions of the country, along with Gwangyeoksi and Do. South Korea has only one special city: Seoul. Seoul is divided into wards ("Gu"). Jump to: navigation, search Seoul (서울, listen ▶(?)) is the capital of South Korea and is one of the most populous cities in the world, located in the northwestern part of the country on the Han River. ...


Gwangyeoksi ("Metropolitan City"; 광역시; 廣域市)

A "Gwangyeoksi" is one of the primary divisions of the country, along with "Teukbyeolsi" and "Do." South Korea has 6 metropolitan cities: Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, and Ulsan. Gwangju and Daejeon are divided into wards ("Gu"); the rest are divided into both wards ("Gu") and outlying counties ("Gun"). Busan tower by night Haeundae beach at dawn, February 2005 Busan Metropolitan City, also commonly referred to as Pusan, is the largest harbor city in Korea, with a population of about 4 million, Busan is South Koreas second largest metropolis next to Seoul. ... Daegu is the 4th largest metropolitan area in South Korea, and is officially called Daegu Metropolitan City. ... Jump to: navigation, search Incheon Metropolitan City is a metropolitan city and major seaport on the west coast of South Korea, near Seoul. ... This article is about Gwangju Metropolitan City in South Korea. ... Daejeon Metropolitan City is a metropolitan city in the centre of South Korea, and the capital of South Chungcheong Province. ... Ulsan, a metropolitan city in the south-east of South Korea, lies on the Sea of Japan (East Sea), 70 kilometres north of Busan at the geographical location 35°33′ N 129°19′ E. In the past the city operated as a major center of Korean whaling, which led to...


Do ("Province"; 도; 道)

A "Do" is one of the primary divisions of the country, along with "Teukbyeolsi" and "Gwangyeoksi." South Korea has 9 provinces: North and South Chungcheong, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, North and South Gyeongsang, Jeju, and North and South Jeolla. Each province is subdivided into cities ("Si") and counties ("Gun"). North Chungcheong is a province in the centre of South Korea. ... South Chungcheong is a province in the west of South Korea. ... Gangwon (Gangwon-do) is a province of South Korea, with its capital at Chuncheon. ... Gyeonggi is the most populous province in South Korea. ... North Gyeongsang is a province in eastern South Korea. ... South Gyeongsang is a province in the southeast of South Korea. ... Jeju is the smallest province of South Korea, situated on its largest island. ... North Jeolla is a province in the southwest of South Korea. ... South Jeolla is a province in the southwest of South Korea. ...


Si ("City"; 시; 市)

A "Si" is one of the divisions of a province, along with "Gun." Cities have a population of at least 150,000; once a county ("Gun") attains that population, it becomes a city. Cities with a population of over 500,000 (namely, Suwon, Cheongju, and Jeonju) are divided into wards ("Gu"); smaller cities are divided into neighbourhoods ("Dong"). Jump to: navigation, search Suwon (Suwon-si) is the largest city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. ... Cheongju is a city in North Chungcheong Province, South Korea, and the capital of North Chungcheong. ... Jump to: navigation, search Jeonju (Jeonju-si) is a city in and the capital of North Jeolla Province, South Korea. ...


Gun ("County"; 군; 郡)

A "Gun" is one of the divisions of a province (along with "Si"), and of the metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon and Ulsan (along with "Gu"). A "Gun" has a population less than 150,000 (which would make it a city or "Si"), and is less densely populated than a "Gu," and is more rural in character than either of the other 2 divisions. Counties are divided into towns ("Eup") and districts ("Myeon"). Busan tower by night Haeundae beach at dawn, February 2005 Busan Metropolitan City, also commonly referred to as Pusan, is the largest harbor city in Korea, with a population of about 4 million, Busan is South Koreas second largest metropolis next to Seoul. ... Daegu is the 4th largest metropolitan area in South Korea, and is officially called Daegu Metropolitan City. ... Jump to: navigation, search Incheon Metropolitan City is a metropolitan city and major seaport on the west coast of South Korea, near Seoul. ... Ulsan, a metropolitan city in the south-east of South Korea, lies on the Sea of Japan (East Sea), 70 kilometres north of Busan at the geographical location 35°33′ N 129°19′ E. In the past the city operated as a major center of Korean whaling, which led to...


Gu ("Ward"; 구; 區)

A "Gu" is the only division of Seoul, the metropolitan cities of Gwangju and Daejeon, and the cities of Suwon, Cheongju, and Jeonju; and one of the divisions of the metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon, and Ulsan. A "Gu" is similar to a borough in London or New York, and its government handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. "Gu"s in Suwon, Cheongju, and Jeonju have fewer powers than those of Seoul and the metropolitan cities. "Gu"s are divided into neighbourhoods ("Dong"). London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... Jump to: navigation, search State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land...


Eup ("Town"; 읍; 邑)

An "Eup" is one of the divisions—along with "Myeon"—of a county ("Gun") and some cities ("Si") of less than 500,000 population. The main town or towns in a county—or the secondary town or towns within a city's territory—are designated as "Eup." Towns are subdivided into villages ("Ri").In order to form an eup, the minimum population required is 20,000.


Myeon ("District"; 면; 面)

A "Myeon" is one of the divisions—along with "Eup"—of a county ("Gun") and some cities ("Si") of less than 500,000 population. "Myeon"s have smaller populations than "Eup"s and represent the rural areas of a county or city. Myeons are subdivided into villages ("Ri"). The minimum population limit is 6,000.


Dong ("Neighbourhood"; 동; 洞)

A "Dong" is the only division of wards ("Gu") and cities ("Si") that are not divided into wards. The "dong" is the smallest level of urban government to have its own office and staff, and typically encompasses only a few city blocks. Some populous "dong"s are subdivided into "Ga"s (가; 可), which are not a separate level of government, but only exist for use in addresses. (Many major thoroughfares in Seoul, Suwon, and other cities are also subdivided into "Ga"s.)


Ri ("Village"; 리; 里)

A "Ri" is the only division of towns ("Eup") and districts ("Myeon"). The "ri" is the smallest level of rural government to contain any significant number of people.


Transliteration

  • Teukbyeolsi
    • Gu
      • Dong
  • Gwangyeoksi
    • Gu
      • Dong
    • Gun
      • Eup
        • Ri
      • Myeon
        • Ri
  • Do
    • Si (with more than 500,000)
      • Gu
        • Dong
    • Si (with less than 500,000)
      • Dong
    • Gun
      • Eup
        • Ri
      • Myeon
        • Ri

Translation

  • Special City
    • Ward
      • Neighborhood
  • Metropolitan City
    • Ward
      • Neighborhood
    • County
      • Town
        • Village
      • District
        • Village
  • Province
    • City (with more than 500,000)
      • Ward
        • Neighborhood
    • City (with less than 500,000)
      • Neighborhood
    • County
      • Town
        • Village
      • District
        • Village

History

Although the details of local administration have changed dramatically over time, the basic outline of the current three-tiered system was implemented under the reign of Gojong in 1895. A similar system also remains in use in North Korea. Gojong (1852–1919) was the 26th king and 1st emperor of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. ... 1895 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Future changes

In late April 2005, the governing Uri and leading opposition Hannara parties agreed to a sweeping change in the country's local administration. This reform, tentatively slated to take place in 2010, would replace the current three-tier system with a two-tier system. The existing provinces (do) and metropolitan cities (gwangyeoksi) would be eliminated. The current gu, si, and gun units would be reorganized into about 60 "metropolitan cities" with a population of roughly 1 million each. Beyond this, the details of the reform have not been decided. Opposition is likely from politicians and constituent groups who will be disadvantaged by the changes. (Sources: Korea Times [1], Korea Herald [2]). Jump to: navigation, search 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Uri Party is a political party in South Korea. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Grand National Party (Hannaradang) is a conservative, right-wing political party in South Korea. ... Jump to: navigation, search 2010 is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


See also


 
 

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