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Irish Couple At Odds After Wife Wants To Name Son In Honor Of Her Favorite Korean Boy Band Member

Photo by Omar Lopez/Unsplash

What is in a name?

According to many people… everything!!

Our names are our calling cards, so parents, beware.

Think it through… together.

It can be a mess if you don’t.

Case in point…

Redditor hocewian wanted to discuss his story for some feedback. So naturally he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for not wanting to name my (33M) son Jong-hyun?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My wife (32 F[emale]) and I are expecting our first bundle of joy. We’re absolutely thrilled.”

“I personally can’t wait to be a dad. The due date is April 21st. We’re from Ireland.”

“My wife has been a huge fan of the South Korean boy band Shinee since 2008.”

“Their music apparently got her through a lot of tough times.”

“Jong-hyun was a member of this group; he unfortunately passed away in 2017.”

“From what I’ve read online about him he seems to have been an amazing guy.”

“My wife was devastated when she found out about his death and told me that when we’ll have a kid and if it’s a boy she’s going to name him Jong-hyun in his honor.”

“At the time I didn’t really take her seriously.”

“The time has come though and she’s VERY serious about it. She wasn’t joking.”

“She even picked out the meaning ’cause it actually depends on the Chinese (Hanja) characters you use: 宗 (jong) – lineage, ancestry; ancestor, clan & 賢 (hyeon) – virtuous, worthy, good; able. She speaks Korean, I don’t.”

“I love how the name sounds, the nickname Jjong and the meaning.”

“But the issue is we’re both 100% White (I’m literally blond with green eyes and she’s ginger with blue eyes + fair skin… legit as White as they come).”

“I told her that I don’t think this is appropriate because we have no Korean blood in us and she said that’s not a problem since it’s cultural appreciation and not appropriation.”

“She told me she doesn’t wanna compromise when it comes to the first name and I can just pick whatever middle name I want and she’s going to be okay with it.”

“She said that this name means too much for her to give up on it (her favorite singer/artist, born in the same year as her, our son is gonna be born in the same month as him, etc.).”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole. 

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. I think maybe your wife needs to stop thinking about what she wants, and start thinking about how having a traditionally Korean name will impact your unborn child as they progress through life.”

“You son would get crap for that from the first day of school.” ~ seriousrikk

“Absolutely this. Your child is not a tool for fan-girling.”

“It’s a terrible idea to give your Irish child a Korean name because she likes the band.”

“Suggests she has put very little thought into actually being a mum.”

“But even if it was an Irish name you still both have to like it – naming your child is always a 2 yeses 1 no deal. NTA.”  ~ Proud_World_6241

“My dad actually proposed calling me Gandalf after reading the Lord of The Rings books in the 80’s.”

“My mom thankfully stopped that; they managed to settle for a ‘sounds-like-gandalf-but-totally-different-name’ as my middle name instead.”

“I’m saved, and got a awkward-but-funny story about my name in return.”

“So definitely NTA.”

“Don’t impose your fandom on your kids, and if you really have to, do it as their middle name.”

“Also don’t go “‘official name is son-jonghyun, we he goes by John.'”

“Often enough only your official name is on record, and that includes name lists at school.”

“Kids will find out, and the kid will be bullied as either the ‘wannabe chinese kid’ or the “cultural appropriator.”

“Later in life, it will also impair his ability to register for anything, or even buy alcohol.”

“Who’s going to believe that the white-as-snow blue-eyed guy is named Son-Jonghyun?”

“Surely that ID is fake, better refuse service/entry or call the cops.”  ~ DutchTinCan

“Yeah, she really does seem to not have thought very far ahead as a mom if she’s trying to attach the root of her child’s entire identity to her love of an artist.”

“She can get a tattoo of something that represents Jong-Hyun if it means that much to her.”

“Only compromise I’d advise OP to give, is a white name that carries the same meaning as what his wife intended the Korean name to carry.”  ~ Simple_Board_4952

“Allow me to butt in with personal input.”

I’m a white gay male, my husband is Chinese.”

“We don’t have kids yet, but we’ve had many conversations around what will happen when the time comes.”

“As the idealist little white guy i’ve always been, my instinct was to have a mixed baby.”

“It’s always been important to me there be a blood connection, he wants his lineage to end with him – complex topic for another day.”

“After lots of conversations and debate, we made the decision that the genetic material would come from me, and a white (white-passing in this case as our donor is of Polish/Moroccan descent) woman.”

“Why? Very simply because the world we live in is not yet the one we would like it to be.”

“It will be complex enough for our kid having to grow up and navigate having two daddies, to impose a dual ethnicity to them on top of that.”

“Being a parent starts before the birth of the child.”

“In being able to put aside your personal wants and hopes, and trying to do what’s best for them not for you, or what you think is best at a specific point in time vs. the lifetime of your soon-to-be son.”

“I understand where your wife comes from in wanting to honour an artist whose work helped her get through tough times.”

“But this is not about her or a deceased K-Pop star no matter how much of a great person he was.”

“This is about a kid who will sooner than later have to navigate the complexities of life.”

“Don’t make him start with an unnecessary disadvantage. NTA.”  ~ WallHoppingFish

“You make great points, but something I wanted to perhaps suggest as an alternative point of view.”

“Maybe being the same ethnicity as you and your spouse would give your future child a connection to both of you to be proud of.”

“The kid is going to be mixed in culture, from you and your spouse, and sometimes navigating that disconnect (being culturally Asian/white but only being ethnically white) could present different issues.”

“I personally see dual ethnicity as a positive, since it makes you more of a world citizen and able to fit in in many areas (this has been more my experience).”  ~ AmazingSocks

“This whole thing is a million layers of awful.”

“The mum is already being a bulldozer, that poor kid will likly not have any opportunity to develop into a well rounded individual.”

“She’s already utterly dismissive of genuine concerns, again doesn’t bode well for the kid as he grows up.”

“He’ll be picked on, either for just the name, or they’ll make fun of his mum.”

“His life will be full of people asking him why he has a Korean name, and then will have to explain that he has no Korean ancestry but his mum is a massive a88hole who used him as some kind of fangirl fantasy.”

“If, or more likely when, he changes his name, how will she react?”

“Because I doubt she’s going to take that one lying down.”

“Is she really willing to destroy her relationship with her son before he is even born?!”

“OP, get your wife a cat let her name that w/e the hell she wants. Die on this hill.”

“Also, the only Korean name every one knows is a certain dictator, whose name is… close to this. That is where people’s brains will go, not k-pop.”  ~ FantasticMootastic

“NTA perhaps suggest an Anglicised version of the name that sounds similar? John Young or something?”  ~ senortippet

Thankfully OP sent us an update…

“EDIT: So, I’ve had a long discussion today with my wife and I explained her in depth why the name Jong-hyun just won’t work for us.”

“I also showed her the MANY replies (thank you, btw) to this thread and she thankfully came around!!!”

“We looked through a bunch of names online for a few hours and we found the perfect match: Lucien – meaning light and shining: Shinee. + Tadhg – Irish name meaning poet, philosopher, storyteller; pronounced as tiger without the ‘er’ ending: Jong-hyun’s last album is called Poet | Artist.”

“+ our last name which goes well with these names! I love this combo and my wife adores the meanings – it’s a win-win situation!” 

It’s not often we learn of a happy ending.

And Redditors should be thrilled y’all played a part in making this a positive outcome.

Welcome to the world baby!!