Hwang (Korean surname)

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Hanja or
Revised Romanization Hwang
McCune–Reischauer Hwang

Hwang(황,皇,黃) is an aristocratic Korean family name that is descended from the 5,000 year old ancient Han Chinese imperial surname of Huang, 皇,黃 from the ancient Chinese Royal family of the House of Huang. Hwangs make up roughly 1.5% of the South Korean population; the 2000 South Korean census found 644,294 in that country. Some people in North Korea also have the surname of Hwang but due to the isolation of the country it is currently not known how many people with the name of Hwang exist there. The Chinese character for Hwang used most literally means "yellow" or "gold". However, originally, the Chinese character for Hwang used to be "皇", which means "emperor". Huang originates from before the time of the Yellow Emperor over 5,000 years ago. The latter character represents the origins of the surname. The character was later changed during the Joseon Dynasty after a new ruling family came to power, the new King Yi or Lee, ordered all Koreans with the name Hwang to the change the ancient Chinese character of Hwang from "Emperor" to "yellow" due to their newly founded status as the monarch of the Korean peninsula, as they saw the Imperial name Hwang as a challenge to their legitimacy as King.


In the traditional Korean clan system, which is still the basis of family registry in South Korea, each clan is distinguished by its bon-gwan (본관,本貫). In general, bon-gwan originates from the progenitor's settlement. In Korea, typically, each family name has many bon-gwans. Bon-gwan's expression is progenitor's settlement plus their family name plus Ssi (씨-氏, It is last name's delimiter symbol).

The Korean Hwang surname originates from Hwang Rak (황락,黃洛). Hwang Rak was the ambassador of China during the Han Dynasty. He was shipping from China to Vietnam in AD 28. But the ship had struggled against the wind and waves in the sea. In this Result, Hwang Rak had drifted the sea. Finally, He arrived in Korea during the Silla Dynasty at a place called Pyeong-Hae(평해,平海), GyeongSang-BukDo, in South Korea. He eventually intermarried with a Korean woman and became a naturalized citizen of the Silla Kingdom. He was the first person carrying the surname of Hwang and became the progenitor of all people named Hwang(황,皇,黃) in Korea. After his death, he was buried at his tomb in GulMi-Bong(봉,峰,peak), 423-8 BunJi, Wolsong-Ri, PyeongHae-Eub, WolJin-Kun, KyeongSang-BukDo, Korea. But currently the tomb is in ruins, only the altar remains in in visible condition now. Hwang is descended from Royal lineage derived from Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang and the Yellow Emperor. [1] Hwang-Rak had three sons. These name are Gab-Go(갑고,甲古), Eul-Go(을고,乙古), Byung-Go(丙古). Gab-Go is the eldest son. He remains in Pyeong-Hae. Eul-Go the second son settles in Jang-Su. Gab-Go the third son settle in Chang-Won. Therefore, The three major Korea Hwang's Bon-Gwan Made. There are the Pyeong-Hae(평해,平海) Hwang Ssi(황씨,黃氏), the Jang-Su(장수,張水) Hwang Ssi, and the Chang-Won(창원,昌原) Hwang Ssi. In current, Fifty-Five Korea Hwang's Bon-Gwan were derived from the three major Korea Hwang's Bon-Gwan.

List of Notable People with the surname Hwang[edit]

Fictional characters with the surname[edit]

See also[edit]