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Given name only:

Revised Romanization Chae
McCune–Reischauer Ch'ae

Chae, also spelled Chai, is a Korean family name and an element in some Korean given names. Its meaning differs based on the hanja used to write it.

Family name[edit]


The 2000 South Korean Census found 119,251 people with the family name Chae.[1] It could be written with either of three hanja, indicating different lineages.[2] In a study by the National Institute of the Korean Language based on year 2007 application data for South Korean passports, it was found that 87.8% of people with this surname spelled it in Latin letters as Chae in their passports. Another 7.5% spelled it as Chai, 2.8% as Che, and 1.7% as Chea.[3]

Most common (蔡)[edit]

(성씨 채 songssi chae) is by far the most common of the three Chae surnames.[1] This character is also used to write the Chinese family name pronounced Cài ([t͡ɕai̯˥˩]) in Mandarin. The 2000 Census found 114,069 people and 35,099 households with this surname, divided among seventeen reported bon-gwan (clan hometowns, not necessarily the actual residence of clan members), as well as eighty-six people whose bon-gwan was not stated:[1]

Second-most common (菜)[edit]

(나물 채 namul chae) is the second-most common of the three Chae surnames.[1] The 2000 Census found 3,516 people and 1,067 households with this surname, divided among two reported bon-gwan:[1]

Least common (采)[edit]

(풍채 채 pungchae chae, 캘 채 kael chae) is the least common of the three Chae surnames.[1] The 2000 Census found 1,666 people and 566 households with this surname, with one reported bon-gwan:[1]

  • Yeosan: 1,637 people and 562 households[1]
  • Other or unreported bon-gwan: 29 people and two households[1]


People with these family names include:

  • Chae Man-sik (蔡萬植, 1902–1950), Korean novelist
  • Chae Myung-shin (蔡命新, 1926–2013), South Korean army general
  • Chae Su-chan (蔡秀澯, born 1955), South Korean politician and economist
  • Chae Ho-ki (蔡好基, born 1957), South Korean poet
  • Nelson Chai (Chai Joo-suk, born 1965), American investment banker of Korean descent
  • Chae Shi-ra (蔡時那, born 1968), South Korean actress
  • Chae Sung-bae (蔡成培, born 1968), South Korean heavyweight boxer
  • Chae Keun-bae (蔡根培, born 1970), South Korean sport shooter
  • Chae Ji-hoon (蔡智薰, born 1974) South Korean speed skater
  • Chae Jung-an (蔡貞安, born Jang Jung-an, 1977), South Korean actress and singer
  • Chae Ri-na (born Baek Hyeon-ju, 1977), South Korean singer
  • Chae Sang-byung (蔡尙秉, born 1979), South Korean baseball player
  • Chae Min-seo (born Jo Soo-jin, 1981), South Korean actress
  • Chae Eun-hee (born 1982), South Korean marathon runner
  • Chae Seon-ah (born 1992), South Korean volleyball player
  • Piglet (video gamer) (born Chae Gwang-jin, 1994), South Korean League of Legends player
  • Chae Hyungwon (蔡亨源, born 1994), South Korean singer, DJ and member of Monsta X
  • Chae Soo-bin (蔡秀彬, born Bae Soo-bin, 1994), South Korean actress
  • Chea Song-joo (born 1998), South Korean figure skater
  • Chae Sang-woo (蔡相宇, born 1999), South Korean actor
  • Esther K. Chae (Chae Kyung-ju), American actress of Korean descent
  • Chae Eui-jin, South Korean voice actor

In given names[edit]

There are 17 hanja with the reading Chae on the South Korean government's official list of hanja which may be registered for use in given names; they are:[6]

  1. (나물 채 namul chae): vegetable
  2. (캘 채 kael chae): to lift
  3. (채색 채 chaesaek chae): colour
  4. (빚 채 bit chae): debt
  5. (풍채 채 pungchae chae, 캘 채 kael chae): appearance
  6. (사패지 채 sapaeji chae): fief
  7. (녹봉 채 nokbong chae): stipend
  8. (성씨 채 seongssi chae): used as a family name (originally a species of tortoise)
  9. (비단 채 bidan chae): silk
  10. (목책 채 mokchaek chae): wooden fence
  11. (옥빛 채 okbit chae): brightness of jade
  12. (진터 채 jinteo chae): fort
  13. (비녀 채 binyeo chae): binyeo (traditional Korean hairpin)
  14. (빚 채 bit chae): debt
  15. (참나무 채 chamnamu chae): oak tree
  16. (여자의 자 채 yeojaui ja chae): used in women's names
  17. (주목할 채 jumokhal chae): to watch

Korean given names containing the element Chae include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "행정구역(구시군)/성씨·본관별 가구 및 인구" [Family names by administrative region (district, city, county): separated by bon-gwan, households and individuals]. Korean Statistical Information Service. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "한국성씨일람" [List of Korean family names]. Kyungpook National University. 2003-12-11. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  3. ^ 씨 로마자 표기 방안: 마련을 위한 토론회 [Plan for romanisation of surnames: a preparatory discussion]. National Institute of the Korean Language. 25 June 2009. p. 67. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  4. ^ 평강(平康) 채(蔡) [Pyeonggang Chae]. Daejeon: Jokbo Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2016 . The Jokbo Museum cites the following work for their pages on family names: 김진우 (2009). 한국인 의 역사 [The History of Koreans]. 春秋筆法 [Chunchu Pilbeop]. OCLC 502157619. 
  5. ^ 인천(仁川) 채(蔡) [Incheon Chae]. Daejeon: Jokbo Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "인명용 한자표" [Table of hanja for use in personal names] (PDF). South Korea: Supreme Court. Retrieved 2013-10-17.