Hwang (surname)

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Revised RomanizationHwang

Hwang or Whang is a Korean family name. The name is historically known to be derived from the Chinese surname Huang. Today, Hwangs comprise approximately 1.4% of the Korean population. The South Korean census in the year 2000 found that there were 644,294 Hwangs with over 68 Bon-gwan family clans, making it the 16th most common last name in the country. Also, it is estimated that there are over 29,410,000 individuals whose last names are the variations of Huang, including the Korean Hwang and the Vietnamese Hoang around the world. The Chinese character, or Hanja, for Hwang indicates "yellow", "gold", or "sulfur".


In the traditional Korean clan system, which remains as the basis of the family registry system in South Korea, each clan is distinguished by its bon-gwan (본관,本貫). Each bon-gwan in Korea originates from the clan progenitor's settlement, which can be explained as the traditional home of the family clan's first male ancestor. Typically in Korea, a last name includes many distinct bon-gwans, which leads to the last name becoming a broad umbrella designation that involves numerous family clans. Therefore, individuals with Korean descent may be completely unrelated even if their last names are identical, depending on their family clan, or bon-gwan. In the Korean language, Bon-gwans are expressed before the family name when necessary and often involves the family progenitor's first settlement as the name of the bon-gwan. The last name is referred to as the Ssi (씨-氏) in Korean. This arranges every Korean family clan name as bon-gwan ssi, or in other words, family clan - last name.


The Korean Hwang surname originates from a Chinese Han Dynasty's diplomatic ambassador to Vietnam, named Hwang Rak (황락,黃洛). Hwang Rak is recorded in AD 28 as having become lost at sea during a voyage from China to Vietnam, and instead having arrived in Korea during the Silla Dynasty. Hwang Rak arrived at a place in Korea called Pyeong-Hae (평해,平海), located in the Eastern province of GyeongSang-BukDo, as currently known in South Korea. Upon settling in Pyeong-Hae, Hwang Rak naturalized as a Silla citizen and became the first progenitor of the last name Hwang (황) in Korea. His grave is located at GulMi-Bong (봉, 峰, peak), 423-8 BunJi, Wolsong-Ri, PyeongHae-Eub, WolJin-Kun, KyeongSang-BukDo, Republic of Korea, but only the altar of the grave remains as a marker.

Before his death, Hwang-Rak had three sons named Gab-Go (갑고,甲古), Eul-Go (을고,乙古), and Byung-Go (丙古), from eldest to youngest. Gab-Go, the oldest son, is recorded as having remained in Pyeong-Hae, continuing the main Pyeong-Hae family clan. The second son, Eul-Go, is said to have left home Westwards and eventually settled in Jang-Su, becoming the first progenitor of the Jang-Su Hwang family clan. The third and youngest son, Byung-Go, is said to have settled in Chang-Won, becoming the first progenitor of the Chang-Won Hwang family clan. These migrations of the two sons have resulted in the three major Bon-gwans being created under the Hwang family name.

Notable clans[edit]

All figures are from the 2000 South Korean census. [1]

To this day, the three primary branches of the Hwang family are the Chang-Won (창원황씨,昌原黃氏), Jang-Su (장수황씨,張水黃氏), and Pyeonghae (평해황씨,平海黃氏) clans, with the largest member counts of the 55 Hwang clans.

Notable people[edit]


Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2000 인구주택총조사 성씨 및 본관 집계결과". 통계청. 인구조사과. Retrieved 9 December 2017.