Koihime Musou Girls and Related Korean Clans, Part IX: Kwak (곽/郭)

Most dominant: Hyeonpung Kwak Clan (Daegu Metropole)

Kwak (곽/郭), known as Gwak in Korean Revised Romanization is a common surname which means 'the wall that surrounds a city' in Sino-Korean Language, similar to Guō in Chinese Pinyin. The different ways of spelling this surname indicate the origin of the family. For example, "Kwok" (i.e: Aaron Kwok Fu-shing [Korean: 곽부성/Kwak Boo-sung]) is Cantonese originated in Hong Kong and surrounding area while Quách is Vietnamese originated from Vietnam. It is the 18th most common family name in China and 36th most common family name in Korea.

The name Guo was noted as far back as the Xia Dynasty. There are eight legendary origins for the Guo surname. Among them, three are foreign. They are Persian (Hui), Korean, and Mongolian, as a result of sinicization. These are only minority. The majority of people bearing this surname are descended from Han Chinese.

The Guo family is one of the well known Hui clans around Quanzhou in Fujian, the other being the Ding family, they are examples of these Hui who identify as Muslim by nationality but do not practice Islam. Due to more people of these clans identifying as Hui the population of Hui as grown. All these clans needed was evidence of ancestry from Arab, Persian, or other Muslim ancestors to be recognized as Hui, and they did not need to practice Islam. 

The Communist party and its policies encouraged the definition of Hui as a nationality or ethnicity. The Chinese government's Historic Artifacts Bureau preserved tombs of Arabs and Persians whom Hui are descended from around Quanzhou. Many of these Hui worship village gods and do not have Islam as their religion; they include Buddhists, Daoists, followers of Chinese Folk Religions, secularists, and Christians. Many clans with thousands of members in numerous villages across Fujian recorded their genealogies and had Muslim ancestry. Hui clans originating in Fujian have a strong sense of unity among their members, despite being scattered across a wide area in Asia, such as Fujian, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Philippines.

In Taiwan there are also descendants of Hui who came with Koxinga who no longer observe Islam, the Taiwan branch of the Guo (romanized as Kuo in Taiwan) family is not Muslim, but still does not offer pork at ancestral shrines. The Chinese Muslim Association counts these people as Muslims. The Taiwan Guo now view their Hui identity as irrelevant and don't assert that they are Hui.

Various different accounts are given as to whom the Hui Guo clan is descended from. Several of the Guo claimed descent from Han chinese General Guo Ziyi. They were then were distressed and disturbed at the fact that their claim of descent from Guo Ziyi contradicted their being Hui, which required foreign ancestry. Encyclopædia Iranica claims the ancestor of the Guo clan in Baiqi was the Persian Ebn Tur (Daqqaq).

Back in Korea, the foundation of Kwak Clan in Korea can be traced as early as the Kim Clans during Silla Period by Kwak Sang (곽상/郭祥), a Sillan Officer under the reign of King HeonGang (875–886). The latter descendant of Kwak Sang, Kwak Won (곽원/郭元) was born at Sangdang Prefecture (present-day Cheongju Sangdang-gu, Northern Chungcheong Province), become Goryeo Military Official in 10th Century and founded Cheongju Kwak Clan (청주 곽씨/淸州郭氏). Based on 2015 Korean Republic Census which is provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT), there are 20,713 people who originated from Cheongju Kwak Clan.

Another major Kwak Clan, Hyeonpung Kwak Clan (현풍 곽씨/玄風郭氏) was founded in 1138 (16th Reigning Year of King Injong of Goryeo Dynasty) by a Goryeo Official who is known as Kwak Gyeong (곽경/郭鏡). This clan is also known as Posan Kwak Clan (포산 곽씨/苞山郭氏), where the bon-gwan (designated clan) 'Posan' was an old name for the Commune of Hyeonpung-myeon, Dalseong County, Daegu MetropoleBased on 2015 Korean Republic Census which is provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT), there are 167,774 people who originated from Hyeonpung Kwak Clan.

At the last count, there are 203,188 people who bear the surname of Kwak, based on the 2015 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea. There are five designated clans (본관/本貫) for this clan which are:
  • Bongsan Kwak Clan (봉산 곽씨/鳳山郭氏) = Originated from Bongsan County, Northern Hwanghae Province, DPRK
  • Seonsan Kwak Clan (선산 곽씨/善山郭氏) = Originated from Seonsan-eup, Gumi City, Northern Gyeongsang Province, ROK
  • Cheongju Kwak Clan (청주 곽씨/淸州郭氏) = Originated from Unified Cheongju City, Northern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • Haemi Kwak Clan (해미 곽씨/海美郭氏) = Originated from Haemi-myeon, Seosan City, Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • Hyeonpung Kwak Clan (현풍 곽씨/玄風郭氏) = Originated from Hyeonpung-myeon, Dalseong County, Daegu Metropole, ROK

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