Kim Alji

by Charles La Shure

First of the Kim family of Silla. According to legend he was found in a golden chest (thus the surname Kim, which means "gold" in Korean) that was lodged in a tree, beneath which a white cock crowed. When the king heard of this, he went and opened up the chest and found a boy inside. His mystical discovery was reminiscent of Bak Hyeokgeose, so the king declared him crown prince.

When the time came for the next king to ascend the throne however, Alji yielded to Pasa. The legend does not say exactly who Pasa is, but he was evidently a member of the royal family. Alji's great-great-great-great-grandson, Mich'u, later became king of Silla.

Kim is one of the three most common surnames in Korea, along with Pak and Lee.