Gu (surname)

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Family name
Region of origin China
Language(s) of origin Chinese

Gu can refer to several different Chinese or Korean family names. Some places, such as Hong Kong or South Korea, usually romanize this family name into "Koo" or "Ku".

Gu Surname Variation[edit]


1958 old photograph of Chinese-Indonesian of Gu (古) surname, first until third generations
  1. The family name (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; literally: "to care for"), the most common and is ranked #88 on the list of top Chinese family names, according to the 2006 Chinese census (excluding Taiwan).
  2. The family name (谷, meaning valley), came about when a noble family of the Zhou Dynasty was rewarded a fief in a valley area. The descendants of the family adopted the name to link their lineage to that history.
  3. The family name (古, meaning ancient), is extremely rare in China.
  4. The family name (骨, meaning bone), is even more rare.
  5. The family name (辜, meaning guilt), is very rare. Prominent bearers of this surname include Jeffrey Koo Sr. (Ambassador-at-Large, Chairman of Chinatrust Bank, and "Father of Credit Cards"), as well as Koo Chen-fu (Taiwanese diplomat and businessman). Both former head and heir to the Koos Group known as 和信集團


  1. The family name "Koo" (Hangul; Hanja), the common Korean family name, originated from Hwasun in South Korea.
  2. The family name "Gu" (Hangul; Hanja), the Korean family name, came from Nanyang, Henan, China.
  3. The family name "Gu" (Hangul: 구; hanja: 丘 or 邱), the rare family names in South Korea. The two family names have a same origin, but the latter one is even rarer.



Northern lineage[edit]

The survivors of uncultured unknown kingdom adopted the name and became the northern lineage of the family Gu. After the area annexed by Shang Dynasty.

Southern lineage[edit]

A second, southern lineage of the family Gu came around the Spring and Autumn period. Although they technically did not obtain that name until the Han Dynasty. The Southern lineage of Gu family makes up the majority of all those who bear the name today. A book of family tree was published.[1]

The Gu family traces its origins to the Yue Kingdom, which was later destroyed around 306 BC during the Warring States period. At the beginning of the Han dynasty, the 7th generation descendant of King Goujian of Yue was named Yao, a regional warlord. He assisted the royal family of the Han dynasty in establishing the new dynasty. For his service, the Han emperor rewarded Yao with the title of "King of Eastern Sea". Yao later bestowed his own son the title of "Duke of Gu Yu". Thus his descendants proclaimed themselves the last name "Gu", and called "Gu Yao" as the 1st Ancestor of "Gu".

According to a 2002 article [2] similar trace of that family was confirmed through historical archives. Other commentaries are found at [3] and [4]

Most recent[edit]

The surviving members of disputed official changed their names and concealed their royal bloodline to hide their shame. One of the adopted names was Gu.


This family name can be found mostly in eastern and southern Chinese provinces, especially in Jiangsu, Northern Zhejiang, and around the city of Shanghai. This surname can also be found in Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Notable people[edit]


Prominent bearer of this surname include:

  • Gu Yong, minister of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period
  • Gu Tan, minister of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period
  • Gu Kaizhi, celebrated painter of ancient China during the Jin Dynasty
  • Gu Yanwu, a scholar in late Ming and early Qing period
  • Wellington Koo (Gu Weijun), the diplomat who represented China in the League of Nations
  • Gu Jiegang, the modern Chinese historian who advocated a modern view of China as a diverse culture, rather than the traditional homogeneous culture