Yang (surname)

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Yang surname in regular script
PronunciationYáng (Mandarin Pinyin)
Joeng4 (Cantonese Jyutping)
Iûⁿ (Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s)Old Chinese
MeaningAspen; willow
Other names
Variant form(s)Yang (Mandarin)
Yeung (Cantonese) Yeong, Young, Ieong (Cantonese)
Yong, Jong (Hakka)
Yu, Yeo, Yeoh, Yo, Yiu; Njoo, Jo, Nyoo, Ngeo (Hokkien)
Yeo, Yeoh (Teochew)
Yang (Korean)
Dương (Vietnamese)
Yang, Yaung, Kaung (Burmese)
Yaj (Hmong)
Derivative(s)Dương, Yana, Saeyang, Yongki, Yoso, Yohan, Muljoto

Yang ([jǎŋ]; simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Yáng) is the transcription of a Chinese family name. It is the sixth most common surname in Mainland China. It is the 16th surname on the Hundred Family Surnames text.

The Yang clan was founded by Boqiao, son of Duke Wu of Jin in the Spring and Autumn period of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty c. 8th to 5th centuries BCE) who was enfeoffed in the state of Yang.[1][2]


The German sociologist Wolfram Eberhard calls Yang the "Monkey Clan", citing the totemistic myth recorded in the Soushenji and Fayuan Zhulin that the Yangs living in southwestern Shu (modern Sichuan) were descendants of monkeys.[3] The Soushenji "reported that in the southwest of Shu there were monkey-like animals whose names were jiaguo (猳國), mahua (馬化), or jueyuan (玃猿). These animals abducted women and sent them back when they became pregnant. If the baby were not accepted, the woman would have to die. Therefore these children were raised and they received the clan name the Yang surname. For this reason this clan occurred quite frequently in Southwest Shu."[4]

Emperor of Hua Xia System[edit]

Direct descendants of Huang Di of Hua Xia include descendants of Yellow Emperor and Chiyou during the Xia dynasty, also many sons and grandsons of Yu the Great, have taken Yang as surname, some of its sub-domains are the prominent Yang Jian of Zhou which take role as a Heavenly Marshal take his colony to seek peace after the Zhou dynasty win and erected his colony peacefully. And also Yang Ren is known through the title of Grand Counselor. Which appear at Fengshen Yanyi or Investiture of the Gods, novel accordingly to the historical founding of the Zhou dynasty.[5][6]

Korean System[edit]

Descendants of Yang Eulna (梁乙那), the first historical ancestor of the Jeju's Yang clan was a Shilla figure, but according to another source, his distant ancestor was one of three men who ascended from a cave on the north side of Cheju Island’s Halla Mountain, Jeju’s Tamnagook kingdom who built the Yang Clan there.[1][7]

Renaming System[edit]

The Yang clan was founded by Boqiao (伯僑) and later become Yang Boqiao (楊伯僑) with Yang, as usual ducal courtesy name, son of Duke Wu of Jin in the Spring and Autumn period of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty (c. 8th to 5th centuries BC) who was enfeoffed a vast land, the state of Yang, with its central in at ancient's Shaanxi.[1] This name was derived from Yangshe (羊舌) literally “sheep’s tongue”.[2] During the Warring States period (403–221 BC) his descendants fled to escape destruction by the conquering the Qin, and simplified their surname to Yang.[1][2]

A tablet for Hall of Four Wisdoms

Yang clan of Hongnong refer to themselves as "Yang of the Hall of Four Wisdoms (楊四知)". The "Hall of Four Wisdoms (四知堂)" refers to a story concerning Yang Zhen (楊震), an official of the Eastern Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), and known for his erudition as well as moral character. When a man named Wang Mi (王密) visited Yang Zhen at night and attempted to bribe him 10 catties of gold, Yang rejected the gift. Wang Mi persevered, saying that nobody would know. Yang Zhen famously retorted "Heaven knows, Earth knows, you know and I know. How can you say that nobody would know?" Descendants of Yang Zhen adopted the "four wisdoms", or "Si Zhi (四知)" as the title of their clan hall. Some Yang family clan halls in various parts of China still carry this name.[8]

Translation of Yangs System[edit]

Homogenization of another surname pronounced Yang join into the Yang surname, written with a "hand" radical rather than the "wood" radical. The two characters were used interchangeably in ancient times.[2] The Yang surname members adopted many local sounding and customizable Western style or another language beside Mandarin Chinese surnames with even neutralization name and changes rapidly through generations, but some still preserved Mandarin Chinese character name as secondary name beside the legal name, and appear a lot in some countries like Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, etc.[9] Some examples of it are Karen and other names at Thailand.[10] Yang is most often the transliteration of the character . The same character can also mean a type of poplar. The character is composed of a "wood" radical mu (木) on the left and the character yi/yang () on the right, which indicates the pronunciation of the whole character.[11]


This is current asserted prevalent lineage for the Yang surname prior to Boqiao:

Huangdi (黃帝) -> Shaohao (少昊) -> Emperor Ku (帝喾) -> Hou Ji (后稷) -> Gugong Danfu (古公亶父) -> King Wen of Zhou (周文王) -> King Wu of Zhou (周武王) -> Shu Yu of Tang (唐叔虞) -> Marquis Mu of Jin (晉穆侯) -> Zhuang Bo of Quwo (曲沃莊伯) -> Duke Wu of Jin (晉武公) -> Boqiao (伯僑 [zh]) -> Yang Shíwo (杨食我 [zh])[12][13][2]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Yang Family History". Ancestry.com. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e Theobald, Ulrich (8 November 2012). "The House of Yangshe 羊舌". chinaknowledge.de. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. ^ Eberhard, Wolfram (1968), The Local Cultures of South and East China, E. J. Brill, p. 53.
  4. ^ 12, tr. Eberhard (1968), p. 52.
  5. ^ Feng shen yan yi-Creation of the gods. Zhongguo hua bao chu ban she in Beijing. 2003. ISBN 7800246728.
  6. ^ Feng shen yan yi. Zhongguo hua bao chu ban she in Beijing. 2003. OL 21017765M.
  7. ^ "상세내용". 경기도 성남시 분당구 하오개로 323 (운중동)(13455) THE ACADEMY OF KOREAN STUDIES). 19 July 2020. Archived from the original on 18 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  8. ^ "陕西潼关杨震:"四知"拒金 清白传家". 中华人民共和国民政部. 2016-07-27. Archived from the original on 2023-03-23. Retrieved 2 Dec 2020.
  9. ^ FamilyTree.com, FamilyTree.com (16 September 2014). "YANG FAMILY NAME". FamilyTree.com. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  10. ^ Kuhn, Philip A. Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times, Lanham, MD/Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  11. ^ 《朱子語類》 《卷一百四十·論文下(詩)》 Page 77 Archived 2017-03-27 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ The Book of Odes Archived 2020-11-30 at the Wayback Machine at Wengu zhixin. Chinese text with James Legge and Marcel Granet (partial) translations
  13. ^ Han, Zhaoqi (2010). "House of Jin". Annotated Shiji (in Chinese). Zhonghua Book Company. pp. 3093–3094. ISBN 978-7-101-07272-3.

External links[edit]