Shēn (surname)

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Not to be confused with Shěn (surname) (沈) or Shèn (surname) (慎), both also generally written as 'Shen'.

Shēn[1] is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname .

Shen is the 298th surname in the Song-era Hundred Family Surnames.


申 is romanised as Shin () in Korean and Thân in Vietnamese.


Shen is unlisted among the 100 most common surname in mainland China in 2007 or among the 100 most common surnames on Taiwan in 2005.

Likewise, although Chinese make up the largest part of America's Asian and Pacific Islander population,[2] none of the romanizations of 沈 appeared among the 1000 most common surnames during the AD 2000 US census.[3]

Nonetheless, it is regionally popular in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang region around the mouth of the Yangtze River.


As is common with Chinese surnames, the modern Shen family arose from various unrelated sources.

One origin of the Shen was the state of Shen (申) established by the Si () family during the Xia dynasty.[clarification needed][citation needed] During the early Zhou dynasty, the state of Jiang conquered this Shen and its people migrated south to Shenlu[clarification needed] in Chu, adopting Shen as their clan name.

Another origin of the Shen was with a second state of Shen (also 申). This Shen was originally ruled by the Ying dynasty,[which?] who claimed descent from a son of the Ku Emperor named Shishen. When this Shen was destroyed by King Zhao of Zhou, its rulers and vassals also adopted Shen as their clan name.

A third state of Shen (also 申) was ruled by a cadet branch of the Zhou royal family, the Jiang (姜), and arose from territory granted to King Xuan's maternal uncle[who?] from the lands of the former state of Xie. This land's rulers and people also ended in adopting the region as their clan name following its destruction.


  1. ^ The approximate English pronunciation is /ʃən/.
  2. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census 2000: Chinese Largest Asian Group in the United States". 4 Mar 2002. Accessed 29 Mar 2012.
  3. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 2000". 27 Sept 2011. Accessed 29 Mar 2012.