Hwang (Korean surname)

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Revised Romanization Hwang
McCune–Reischauer Hwang

Hwang 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.

History of Hwang in Korea[edit]

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, Gab-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.

Hwangs Today[edit]

To this day, the three primary branches of the Hwang family, the Pyeong-Hae Hwang Ssi (평해황씨,平海黃氏), the Jang-Su Hwang Ssi (장수황씨,張水黃氏), and the Chang-Won Hwang Ssi (창원황씨,昌原黃氏), remain among the currently over fifty five (55) derived family clans under the same family name. According to the year 2000 Korean census, there were approximately 137,150 Hwangs under the Pyeong-Hae (평해황씨,平海黃氏) clan, 146,575 Hwangs under the Jang-Su (장수황씨,張水黃氏) clan, and 252,814 Hwangs under the Chang-Won (창원황씨,昌原黃氏) clan. Other notable Bon-gwans, or family clans, under the Hwang last name are the Jae-Ahn (제안황씨, 齊安黃氏) clan with 2,752 members reported, the Ooh-Joo (우주황씨, 紆州黃氏) clan with 19,967 members reported, the Hoi-Deok (회덕황씨, 懷德黃氏) clan with 7,393 members reported, the Sang-Joo (상주황씨, 尙州黃氏) clan with 7,031 members reported, the Deok-San (덕산황씨, 德山黃氏) clan with 3,364 members reported, and the Hang-Joo (항주황씨, 杭州黃氏) clan with 402 members reported, all according to the South Korean census in the year 2000.

Notable people[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

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