Zhang (surname)

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張姓 - 楷体.svg
Zhang surname in regular script
Pronunciation IPA: /tʂɑŋ˥/ (Mandarin IPA)
Zhāng (Pinyin)
Tiuⁿ (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s) Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean
Language(s) Old Chinese
Derivation State of Zhang
Meaning drawing a bow,[1]
archer, bowyer
Other names
Variant(s) Chang, Zhang (Mandarin)
Cheung (Cantonese)
Teo, Teoh (Hokkien, Teochew)
Chong (Hakka)
Trương, Trang (Vietnamese)
Jang, Chang () (Korean)

Zhang is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written in simplified characters and traditionally. It is spoken in the first tone: Zhāng.

It is also the pinyin romanization of the less-common surname (also Zhāng).

was listed 24th in the famous Song-era Hundred Family Surnames. Today, it is one of the most common surnames in the world and was listed by the People's Republic of China's National Citizen ID Information System as the third-most-common surname in mainland China in April 2007, with 87.50 million bearers.[2][3] A commonly cited but erroneous factoid in the 1990 Guinness Book of Records listed it as the world's most common surname,[4] but no comprehensive information from China was available at the time and more recent editions have not repeated the claim.


() and are also commonly romanized as Chang on Taiwan and among the Chinese diaspora using the older Wade-Giles system. Both are also romanized as Cheung in Cantonese; Teo and Teoh in Teochew; Chong in Hakka; Tsan and Tsaon among Wu languages like Shanghainese;[citation needed] Tong in Gan; and Tiong, Tjong in East Malaysia and the Philippines; and Sutiono or Thiono in Indonesia.

was the Chữ Nôm form of the Vietnamese surname Trương and the Hanja of the Korean surname romanized Jang and Chang (). It remains the Kanji for the Japanese surname romanized Chō.

In Vietnamese, the surname written in Chữ Nôm is clearly distinguished and written as Trang or Chương.[citation needed]


As mentioned above, is the third-most-common surname in mainland China, making up 6.83% of the population of the People's Republic of China.[5] On Taiwan, is the fourth-most-common surname, making up 5.26% of the population of the Republic of China.[6] 章 was unlisted among the top 100 in either location.

Among the Chinese diaspora, the name remains common but takes on various romanizations. "Chong" is the 19th-most-common surname among Chinese Singaporeans;[7] "Chang" is the 6th-most-common surname among Chinese Americans; and "Zhang" was the 7th-most-common particularly Chinese surname (i.e., excluding ethnically diverse surnames such as "Lee") found in a 2010 survey of Ontario's Registered Persons Database of Canadian health card recipients.[8]



combines the Chinese characters (gōng, "bow") and (simp. , cháng, "long" or "wide"). It originally meant "to open up" or "to spread" as an arching bow, but as a common noun in modern use it is a measure word for flat objects such as paper and cloth, like the English "sheet of".

combines the characters (yin, "sound", "(musical) note") and (shi, "ten"). It originally meant "brilliant", "to display", "a distinctive mark"[9] and was used as the name of a fief, but as a common noun in modern use it means an "article" in a newspaper or magazine or a "chapter" in a book or law.


The traditional origin of the surname (Old Chinese: *C. traŋ[1]) is rooted in Chinese legend. The fifth son of the Yellow Emperor, Qing Yangshi (, Qīng Yángshì), had a son Hui (, Huī) who was inspired by the Heavenly Bow constellation (天弓星, Tiān Gōng Xīng) to invent the bow and arrow. Hui was then promoted to "First Bow" (, Gōng Zhèng) and bestowed the surname , which – when broken into its constituent radicals – means "widening bow" or "archer". Its Middle Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as Trjang.[1]

The surname (Old Chinese: *taŋ[9]) originated from the legendary Yan Emperor, whose personal surname was Jiang (). On the establishment of the state of Qi, Jiang Ziya apportioned the land among his many descendants, including a one known as Zhang (鄣国). Some of the people of this state took as their surname, particularly after it was annexed by Qi.[citation needed] The Middle Chinese pronunciation of the name was Tsyang, the beginnings of what we now know to be the "Zhang" surname.[9]

List of persons with the surname[edit]

/ [edit]

Government & Military
  • Zhang Aiping, Chinese communist military leader
  • Zhang Chunqiao (1917–2005), member of the Gang of Four
  • Zhang Fei (167–221), military general of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era.
  • Zhang Guohua (1914–1972), military general during the Battle of Chamdo and the Sino-Indian War
  • Zhang Hongfan (1238–1280), Yuan Dynasty general
  • Zhang Hua (232–300), was a Jin Dynasty official and poet.
  • Zhang Jiugao, of Tang Dynasty, younger brother of prime minister Zhang Jiuling, ancestor of the Song general Zhang Jun and Ming prime minister Zhang Juzheng.
  • Zhang Jiuling (673–740), famous prime minister and poet of Tang Dynasty.
  • Zhang Juzheng (1525–1582), Ming Dynasty official, his highest rank was equivalent to prime minister.
  • Zhang Liang (d. 189 BC), aide of Liu Bang
  • Zhang Liao, originally surnamed "Nie", military general of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms era.
  • Zhang Shicheng(1321–1367), Red Turban Rebellion leader.
  • Zhang Tingyu (1672–1755), Qīng Dynasty politician.
  • Zhang Wentian (1900–1976), former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.
  • Zhang Xueliang or Chang Hsüeh-liang (1901–2001), Manchurian warlord and hero of the People's Republic of China.
  • Zhang Yi (d. 309 BC), strategist during the Warring States Period of China.
  • Zhang Yi, military general of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era.
  • Zhang Zhidong (1837–1909), Qing Dynasty politician.
  • Zhang Zizhong (1891–1940), Chinese general of the National Revolutionary Army.
  • Zhang Zongchang (1881–1932), Chinese warlord of Shandong.
  • Zhang Zuolin or Chang Tso-lin (1873–1928), Manchurian warlord and father of Zhang Xueliang
Fictional characters
  • Zhang Taiyan, grandmaster of Hokuto Sōkaken in the manga and anime series Fist of the Blue Sky
  • Frank Zhang, Roman demigod sired by Mars in The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
  • Duck Zhang, a member of the FAYZ who could control his own density in the dystopian YA science fiction series Gone by Michael Grant


  • Zhang Binglin (1868–1936), Chinese philologist, textual critic, and anti-Manchu revolutionary.
  • Zhang Zhong, Chinese chess grandmaster who now plays for Singapore.
  • Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress and singer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction PDF (1.93 MB), p. 143. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  2. ^ Xinhua. "公安部统计分析显示:王姓成为我国第一大姓." (Chinese)
  3. ^ People's Daily. "Chinese Surname Shortage Sparks Rethink."
  4. ^ McFarlan, Donald. 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. Sterling Pub. Co., 2001. ISBN 189205101X.
  5. ^ "公安部统计:'王'成中国第一大姓 有9288万人 [Public Security Bureau Statistics: 'Wang' Found China's #1 'Big Family', Includes 92.88m People]." 24 Apr 2007. Accessed 27 Mar 2012.(Chinese)
  6. ^ Op. cit. 中华百家姓-千字文-国学经典-文化经典. "中国台湾姓氏排行 [Taiwan (China) Surname Ranking]". 8 Jun 2010. Accessed 1 Apr 2012. (Chinese)
  7. ^ Statistics Singapore. "Popular Chinese Surnames in Singapore".
  8. ^ Shah, B. R.; Chiu, M.; Amin, S.; Ramani, M.; Sadry, S.; Tu, J. V. (2010). "Surname lists to identify South Asian and Chinese ethnicity from secondary data in Ontario, Canada: A validation study". BMC Medical Research Methodology 10: 42. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-42. PMC 2877682. PMID 20470433.  edit
  9. ^ a b c Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction PDF (1.93 MB), p. 162. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.