Yan (surname)

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Yan is a Chinese surname, it is the pinyin romanization for several Chinese characters such as " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()", " ()" in simplified (traditional) form. Note that these characters are spelled as Yen in the Wade–Giles romanization system which was the prevalent one before the early 80s. From such, individuals and institutions who have had to romanize their Chinese names prior to that time, such as when having their books translated or publishing manuscripts outside of China, used "Yen" instead of "Yan". Such examples include Yenching University and the Harvard-Yenching Institute. The Yan surname in Taiwan is mostly spelled as Yen since only until recently has the government approved the use of pinyin romanization of names. The Cantonese romanization of these surnames is "Yim". As such, most people from Hong Kong and Chinese diaspora that emigrated prior to 1949 from Guangdong use the name Yim. On many occasions, " ()" in Cantonese is also romanized as Yan.

严 (嚴)[edit]

严 / 嚴
Romanization Yan, Yen, Yim

The " ()" (Yán) surname has various origins:

Notable people[edit]

  • Yan Yan, a general of the state of Shu Han during the era of the Three Kingdoms
  • Yen Chia-lin
  • Yen Chia-kan (born 1905–1993), President of Taiwan 1975-1978
  • Yan Fu (born 1854), Chinese scholar
  • Geling Yan (born 1958), Chinese writer
  • Yim Ho (born 1952) Hong Kong film directors, leader of Hong Kong New Wave
  • Yan Jiaqi (born 1942), Chinese political scientist and dissident
  • Yan Jinxuan (born 1924), Chinese composer of The White Haired Girl
  • Yan Junqi (born 1946), Vice chairwoman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of China
  • Yan Pei-Ming (born 1960), Chinese-born French painter
  • Yan Shimin (born 1987), Chinese rower
  • Yan Shunkai (born 1937), Chinese comedian, actor and director
  • Sophia Yan (born 1986), American classical pianist
  • Yim Wing-chun, a Chinese legendary character, often cited in Wing Chun legends as the first master of the martial art bearing her name
  • Yan Yikuan (born 1979), Chinese actor and singer

阎 (閻)[edit]

阎 / 閻
Romanization Yan

Yan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) surname from Ji (姬) family of Zhou Dynasty, and some other surname Yan merge to Yan (閻) in the East Asian Nation.

  • Yan Su (1930-2016), Chinese lyricist and screenwriter
  • Yan Chongnian (born 1934) Chinese historian
  • Yan Weiwen (born 1957), Chinese opera singer with origins in the People's Liberation Army
  • Yan Lianke (born 1958), Chinese writer of novels and short stories
  • Yan Sen (born 1975), Chinese table tennis player
  • Yan Shipeng (born 1987), Chinese football player
  • Yan Song (footballer) (born 1981), Chinese footballer
  • Yan Xuetong (born 1952), Dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University
  • Yan Fang, Chinese softball player
  • Yan Hong, Chinese race walker

闫 (閆)[edit]

=闫 / 閆
Romanization Yan

Yan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) is the same as Yan (閻), only the shape of writing.

颜 (顏)[edit]

颜 / 顏
Romanization Hokkien: Gan
Cantonese: Ngan
Vietnamese: Nhan
Korean: An

Also known as Gan in Hokkien or Ngan in Cantonese


The surname 晏 (Yàn) has three main sources:

Near 600 BC, the minister Yan Ruo (晏弱) of the state of Qi took Yan as his last name after he was assigned to govern the town of Yan (modern day town of Yancheng of Qihe county of Shandong province).

According to the Records of the Grand Historian, the name of the fifth son of Zhuanxu was Yang'an (阳安) who chose to use the surname 晏 for his descendants.

According to the Classic of Mountains and Seas, Yan Long (晏龙), a minister of Emperor Yao is the earliest ancestor of the Yan surname on record.


Romanization Mandarin: Zhen
Cantonese: Yan, Yen
Further information: Zhen (surname)
  • Yan Lik Kin (born 1961), Hong Kong football coach
  • Martin Yan, Chinese American chef and food writer
  • Donnie Yen, Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film director and producer, action choreographer, and multiple-time world wushu tournament champion.

Unknown Chinese[edit]

Other Chinese[edit]

  • Yan Yan (言)(506 BC-??), disciple of Confucius
  • Aaron Yan (炎) (born 1986), Taiwanese Mandopop
  • Jack Yan (甄) (born 1972), Hong Kong born New Zealander publisher and businessman
  • Jerry Yan (言) (born 1977), Taiwanese actor
  • Yan Xing (artist) (鄢), Chinese artist in performance as well as installations, video and photography

Burmese (ရန်ရ)[edit]

Romanization Yan
  • Yan Aung Kyaw (born 1989), Burmese footballer for Myanmar national football team
  • Yan Aung Win (born 1992), Burmese footballer for Myanmar national football team
  • Yan Naing Oo (born 1996), Burmese footballer for Myanmar national football team
  • Yan Paing (born 1983), Burmese footballer for Myanmar national football team
  • Yan Yan Chan, Burmese singer

Other languages[edit]


Yan (延) is a Chinese surname. It has various origins:


See also: Former Yan and Yan (state)

Yan (燕) is Chinese surname. It has various origins: