Kim Min-jae name: Why is it Kim Min-jae and not Min-Jae?

Throughout the course of the 2022/23 season, Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae has had his name written in a few different ways. Here is the correct way, and the reasoning behind it.


It is always exciting when a player that was little known by the majority of football fans suddenly becomes a name that everyone wants to see play for their own club. In the 2022/23 season, that was Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at Napoli.

Within the same team, though, South Korean centre-back Kim Min-jae instantly filled the shoes of Kalidou Koulibaly and was a rock at the back all season for Luciano Spalletti, albeit with a little less fanfare to begin with.

Joining from Fenerbahce for €18.5 million, many thought that this obscure defender would not come close to replacing Koulibaly effectively. Instead, he is now on the verge of signing for Bayern Munich and after a bad year at Chelsea, Koulibaly has headed to Saudi Arabia.

Napoli’s Kim Min-jae playing in the Champions League. [@sscnapoli]

How to correctly write Kim Min-jae’s name

You may have noticed throughout Kim’s first season at Napoli and in Serie A that his name is often written as ‘Kim Min-Jae’ rather than ‘Kim Min-jae‘, with the lowercase letter after the hyphen.

Having spoken to South Korean football journalist Sungmo Lee, Total Italian Football has found out why that is the case. The way Korean names work is that Kim is the family name but goes at the start, whilst Min-jae is his first name. Min is not a middle name, the whole of Min-jae is a first name.

It is not conventional in Korea to capitalise the second part of that first name as it is just viewed as two letters in the alphabet, in this case: 민재. This has cropped up in the Premier League before with Son Heung-min.

Napoli’s Elmas and Kim celebrate. (@sscnapoli)

Kim Min-jae’s move to Bayern Munich

Due to his incredible performances as he helped Napoli to a first Scudetto in 33 years, there was plenty of transfer interest in Kim coming into the summer.

That boiled down to either Manchester United or Bayern Munich, and it seems that the Bundesliga champions are going to be his next club.

There is a clause in his contract that means between July 1 and July 15, he is available for €50 million. Bayern have agreed personal terms with him and the assumption is that the move will be pushed through very soon.

He played an impressive 45 games during the season for Napoli without fitness issues. It is easy to picture him being a key player at Bayern very quickly, whereas with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the side and Erik ten Hag favouring a back four, he may have struggled for starts at Man United.


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