Stroke order of the Gao surname
|Variant form(s)||Gao, Kao (Mandarin)|
Ko, Kou (Cantonese, Hokkien)
Gao (Chinese: 高) is an East Asian surname of China in origin that can be literally translated as "high" or "tall". There are approximately 16 million living people with this surname. Some places, such as Taiwan, usually romanise this family name into Kao. In Hong Kong, it is romanized to Ko. In Macau, it is romanized to Kou. In 2019 it was the 19th most common surname in Mainland China.
Romanisation and pronunciation
|Dialect or Format||Transliteration or Pronunciation|
|Mandarin||Gāo (Hanyu pinyin); Kao1 (Wade-Giles)|
|Korean||Ko (McCune–Reischauer), Go (Revised Romanization)|
According to Lüshi Chunqiu, the earliest figure with the Gao surname was Gao Yuan (高元) who created dwellings in antiquity. Zhuanxu, the grandson of the Yellow Emperor, was also known as Gao Yang (高陽).
Another origin of Gao is the Jiang (姜) surname. According to the Song dynasty encyclopedia Tongzhi, an early ancestor was Gao Xi (高傒) who was granted the surname Gao in honour of his grandfather Prince Gao (公子高). Prince Gao was the son of Duke Wen of the state of Qi whose ancestral name was Jiang (姜).
Many non-Han Chinese used the surname Gao:
- The Xianbei clan of Lou (楼) of the Northern Wei period later changed their surname to Gao. The Yuan (元) family also adopted this surname in this period
- Xú (徐) family of the Northern Qi period
- Baipu (百濮) people of Yunnan (雲南)
- According to Samguk Sagi, the king of Goguryeo regarded himself as a descendant of Chinese heroes because he called his surname "Go" (Hanja: 高) as he was the descendant of Gao Yang (Hanja: 高陽) who was a grandchild of the Yellow Emperor and Gaoxin (Hanja: 高辛) who was a great-grandchild of Yellow Emperor. However, this is discredited as a mythology by Kim Busik, who mentioned that the surname Ko in Korea is from Buyeo origin.
- Gao Anagong official of the Northern Qi
- Gao Cheng paramount official of the Chinese/Xianbei state Eastern Wei,
- Gao Heng emperor of Northern Qi.
- Gao Huan paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Eastern Wei.
- Gao Shaoyi imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi
- Gao Wei emperor of Northern Qi
- Gao Yang Founding Emperor of Northern Qi
- Gao Yanzong imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi
- Gao Shilian, chancellor during the Tang Dynasty
- Gao Shun, Military General under Warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty
- Gao Jiong, official during the Sui Dynasty
- Gao Yun (Northern Wei), official during the Northern Wei Dynasty
- Gao Yun (Northern Yan), emperor of the Northern Yan Dynasty
- Gao Xianzhi, general during the Tang Dynasty of Korean descent
- Gao Qiong, general during the Northern Song Dynasty
- Gao Chengyong (1964–2019), Chinese serial killer
- Gao Gang, a Chinese Communist leader
- Gao Hong, pipa player and composer
- Gao Jianli, a Zhu player and friend of Jing Ke
- Gao Jixing, a king of Jingnan
- Gao Jun, Chinese-American table tennis player
- Gao Lin, Chinese professional footballer
- Gao Ling, Chinese badminton player
- Gao Min (cyclist), Chinese cyclist
- Gao Min (diver), Chinese diver
- Gao Qiu, character from Shui Hu Zhuan
- Gao Shuying, Chinese pole vaulter
- Gao Song, Chinese figure skater
- Gao Xie, calligraphist, painter, poet, writer, book collector
- Gao Xingjian, 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature
- Gao Xu, poet, writer, publisher, revolutionary
- Gao Yihan, intellectual
- Gao Yisheng, creator of the Gao style of the Chinese Internal Martial Art of Baguazhang
- Gao Zhisheng, activist
- Gao Jianing, also known as J.G. Ex-member of South Korean boy group, Cross Gene
- Judy Gao (born 1994), New Zealand fashion designer and chess player
- Charles K. Kao (1933–2018), inventor of data transmission using optical fibre, was awarded half of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics
- Jack Kao, Taiwanese actor
- Kao Ming-huey, International Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of China
- Kao Yang-sheng, former Political Deputy Minister of Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Republic of China
- Min Kao
- Nicholas Kao Se Tseien (1897–2007), Catholic priest, supercentenarian
- Ping-Tse Kao (1888–1970), Taiwanese astronomer
- Kao (crater), a lunar crater named after Ping-Tse Kao
- 《呂氏春秋·勿躬篇》 Original text: 高元作室。
- Tongzhi: 《通志·氏族略》 记载，春秋时，齐国公子高的孙子，开始以“高”为氏，称高。
- Fu Chinjiang (2007). Origins of Chinese Names. Asiapac Books. p. 58. ISBN 978-9812294623.
- National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第二十八 百濟本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
- National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第十八 髙句麗本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
- 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 의자왕 義慈王. 한국인문고전연구소.
- 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 광개토왕 廣開土王. 한국인문고전연구소.
- 金光林 (2014). A Comparison of the Korean and Japanese Approaches to Foreign Family Names (PDF). Journal of Cultural Interaction in East Asia Vol.5 Society for Cultural Interaction in East Asia.p30
- Breuker, Remco. (2014). Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea, 918-1170 : History, Ideology, and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty. Brill. ISBN 9789004190122. OCLC 1049569237.
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