Yang (surname)

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Yang Xing  - Kai Ti .svg
Yang surname in regular script
PronunciationYáng (Pinyin)
Iûⁿ, Iông (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s) Old Chinese
Meaning Aspen ; willow
Other names
Variant form(s)Yang (Mandarin)
Yeung (Cantonese) Yeong, Young, Ieong (Cantonese)
Yong, Jong (Hakka)
Yeo, Yeoh, Yiu; Njoo, Nyoo, Ngeo (Hokkien)
Yeo, Yeoh (Teochew)
Yang (Korean)
Dương (Vietnamese)
Yang, Yaung (Burmese)
Yaj (Hmong)
Derivative(s) Dương, Yana, Saeyang, Njoo, 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 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. [1] [2] Some examples of it are Karen and other names at Thailand. [3]

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 Yang (楊) kingdom. [4] [5]


Four proposed and linked historical for the Yang (楊) surname origins are:

  1. Direct descendants of Huang Di (Emperor) of Hua Xia include descendants of Yellow Emperor [6] and Chiyou [7] during Xia Dynasty, also many sons and grandsons of Yu the Great, have taken Yang (楊) 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 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 Zhou Dynasty. [8] [9]
  2. 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 Yang (楊) Kingdom, with its central in at ancient's Shaanxi. [4] This name was derived from Yangshe (羊舌) literally “sheep’s tongue”) [5]
  3. Descendants of Yang Eulna (楊乙那), 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. [4] [10]
  4. Yangshe Clan (羊舌氏), senior advisor and a noble family in the state of Jin, During the Warring States period (403–221 BCE) his descendants fled to escape destruction by the conquering the Qin, and simplified their surname to Yang (楊). [4] [5]

The Sui dynasty Emperors were from the northwest military aristocracy, and emphasized that their patrilineal ancestry was ethnic Han, claiming descent from the Han official Yang Zhen. [11] and the New Book of Tang traced his patrilineal ancestry to the Zhou dynasty kings via the Dukes of Jin. [12]

The Yang of Hongnong (弘農楊氏) [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] were asserted as ancestors by the Sui Emperors like the Longxi Li's were asserted as ancestors of the Tang Emperors. [18] The Li of Zhaojun and the Lu of Fanyang hailed from Shandong and were related to the Liu clan which was also linked to the Yang of Hongnong and other clans of Guanlong. [19] The Dukes of Jin were claimed as the ancestors of the Hongnong Yang. [20]

The Yang of Hongnong, Jia of Hedong, Xiang of Henei, and Wang of Taiyuan from the Tang dynasty were claimed as ancestors by Song dynasty lineages. [21]

There were Dukedoms for the offspring of the royal families of the Zhou dynasty, Sui dynasty, and Tang dynasty in the Later Jin (Five Dynasties). [22]


In 2019 Yang was again the sixth most common surname in Mainland China. [23] A 2013 study found that it was the 6th-most common surname, shared by 42,700,000 people or 3.2205 % of the population, with the province with the most being Sichuan. [24] In 2019 it was found to be the most common surname in one province, Guizhou. [25]


Yang is most often the transliteration of the character (in simplified Chinese: ). 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. [26]

Yang can also be the phonetic translation of other Chinese surnames. These include (in simplified Chinese: ), the Chinese character for "sun"; (in simplified Chinese: ), the Chinese character for "to lift" or "to raise";the very rare Chinese family name , the Chinese character for "goat" or "sheep"; or other characters pronounced "Yang", regardless of tone, such as or (in simplified Chinese: ). [27]


Four origins are recorded for the Yang (楊) surname [28] [4] [29] [5]

  1. Out of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty. A fifth generation descendant of Duke Wu of Jin was enfeoffed at a place called Yang, and his descendants adopted this as their surname, giving rise to the Yang (楊) surname. [29]
  2. Translation of surnames used by other ethnic groups in ancient China. For example, the Di people used the Yang (楊) surname. The Yang clan of the Di people lived in Chouchi in Gansu. [29] [30]
  3. Homogenization of another surname pronounced Yang (揚) join into the Yang (楊) surname, written with a "hand" radical rather than the "wood" radical. The two characters were used interchangeably in ancient times. [29]
  4. Other adoptions. For example, the Mohulu (莫胡卢) clan of the Northern Wei dynasty changed their surname the Yang (楊) surname. [29]
  5. another known source:


This is current asserted prevalent lineage for the Yang (楊) 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)->Yang Shíwo (杨食我) [35] [36] [37] [12] [5]

The "Four Wisdoms"

A tablet for "Hall of Four Wisdoms" Hall Of Four Wisdoms.jpg
A tablet for "Hall of Four Wisdoms"

Some branches of the Yang clan (in particular the Hongnong branch) 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. [38] [39] [40]

Polities ruled by Yang (楊) families

and other

Alternative spellings of the Yang (楊) surname

Notable people surnamed Yang (楊)

Historical figures

Modern figures

See also

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