Yang (surname)

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楊姓 - 楷体.svg
Yang surname in regular script
PronunciationYáng (Pinyin)
Iûⁿ, Iông (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s)Old Chinese
MeaningAspen; willow
Other names
Variant form(s)Yang (Mandarin)
Yeung (Cantonese) Yeong, Young, Ieong (Cantonese)
Yong, Jong (Hakka)
Yeo, Yeoh, Yo, Yiu; Njoo, Jo, Nyoo, Ngeo (Hokkien)
Yeo, Yeoh (Teochew)
Yang (Korean)
Dương (Vietnamese)
Yang, Yaung (Burmese)
Yaj (Hmong)
Derivative(s)Dương, Yana, Saeyang, Yongki, Yoso, Yohan, Muljoto

Yang ([jǎŋ]; simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Yáng) is the transcription of a Chinese family name. It is the sixth most common surname in Mainland China. It is the 16th surname on the Hundred Family Surnames text.

The Yang surname members adopted many local sounding and customizable Western style or another language beside Mandarin Chinese surnames with even neutralization name and changes rapidly through generations, but some still preserved Mandarin Chinese character name as secondary name beside the legal name, and appear a lot in some countries like Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, etc.[1][2] Some examples of it are Karen and other names at Thailand.[3]

The Yang clan was founded by Boqiao, son of Duke Wu of Jin in the Spring and Autumn Period of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty c. 8th to 5th centuries BCE) who was enfeoffed in the Yang (楊) kingdom.[4][5]


Four proposed and linked historical for the Yang (楊) surname origins are:

  1. Direct descendants of Huang Di (Emperor) of Hua Xia include descendants of Yellow Emperor[6] and Chiyou[7] during Xia Dynasty, also many sons and grandsons of Yu the Great, have taken Yang (楊) as surname, some of its sub-domains are the prominent Yang Jian of Zhou which take role as a Heavenly Marshal take his colony to seek peace after Zhou Dynasty win and erected his colony peacefully. And also Yang Ren is known through the title of Grand Counselor. Which appear at Fengshen Yanyi or Investiture of the Gods, novel accordingly to the historical founding of Zhou Dynasty.[8][9]
  2. The Yang clan was founded by Boqiao (伯僑) and later become Yang Boqiao (楊伯僑) with Yang, as usual ducal courtesy name, son of Duke Wu of Jin in the Spring and Autumn period of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty (c. 8th to 5th centuries BC) who was enfeoffed a vast land, the Yang (楊) Kingdom, with its central in at ancient's Shaanxi.[4] This name was derived from Yangshe (羊舌) literally “sheep’s tongue”.[5]
  3. Descendants of Yang Eulna (楊乙那), the first historical ancestor of the Jeju's Yang clan was a Shilla figure, but according to another source, his distant ancestor was one of three men who ascended from a cave on the north side of Cheju Island’s Halla Mountain, Jeju’s Tamnagook kingdom who built the Yang Clan there.[4][10]
  4. Yangshe Clan (羊舌氏), senior advisor and a noble family in the state of Jin, During the Warring States period (403–221 BC) his descendants fled to escape destruction by the conquering the Qin, and simplified their surname to Yang (楊).[4][5]

The Sui dynasty Emperors were from the northwest military aristocracy, and emphasized that their patrilineal ancestry was ethnic Han, claiming descent from the Han official Yang Zhen.[11] and the New Book of Tang traced his patrilineal ancestry to the Zhou dynasty kings via the Dukes of Jin.[12]

The Yang of Hongnong (弘農楊氏)[13][14][15][16][17] were asserted as ancestors by the Sui Emperors like the Longxi Li's were asserted as ancestors of the Tang Emperors.[18] The Li of Zhaojun and the Lu of Fanyang hailed from Shandong and were related to the Liu clan which was also linked to the Yang of Hongnong and other clans of Guanlong.[19] The Dukes of Jin were claimed as the ancestors of the Hongnong Yang.[20]

The Yang of Hongnong, Jia of Hedong, Xiang of Henei, and Wang of Taiyuan from the Tang dynasty were claimed as ancestors by Song dynasty lineages.[21]

There were Dukedoms for the offspring of the royal families of the Zhou dynasty, Sui dynasty, and Tang dynasty in the Later Jin (Five Dynasties).[22]


Yang is most often the transliteration of the character (in simplified Chinese: ). The same character can also mean a type of poplar. The character is composed of a "wood" radical mu (木) on the left and the character yi/yang () on the right, which indicates the pronunciation of the whole character.[23]

Yang can also be the phonetic translation of other Chinese surnames. These include (in simplified Chinese: ), the Chinese character for "sun"; (in simplified Chinese: ), the Chinese character for "to lift" or "to raise";the very rare Chinese family name , the Chinese character for "goat" or "sheep"; or other characters pronounced "Yang", regardless of tone, such as or (in simplified Chinese: ).[24]


Four origins are recorded for the Yang (楊) surname [25][4][26][5][27]

  1. Out of the Ji (姬) surname, the surname of the royal family during the Zhou dynasty. A fifth generation descendant of Duke Wu of Jin was enfeoffed at a place called Yang, and his descendants adopted this as their surname, giving rise to the Yang (楊) surname.[26][5][27]
  2. Translation of surnames used by other ethnic groups in ancient China. For example, the Di people used the Yang (楊) surname. The Yang clan of the Di people lived in Chouchi in Gansu.[26][28][27]
  3. Homogenization of another surname pronounced Yang (揚) join into the Yang (楊) surname, written with a "hand" radical rather than the "wood" radical. The two characters were used interchangeably in ancient times.[26][5][27]
  4. Other adoptions. For example, the Mohulu (莫胡卢) clan of the Northern Wei dynasty changed their surname the Yang (楊) surname.[26][27]
  5. another known source:
  • The German sociologist Wolfram Eberhard calls Yang (楊) the "Monkey Clan", citing the totemistic myth recorded in the Soushenji and Fayuan Zhulin that the Yangs living in southwestern Shu (modern Sichuan) were descendants of monkeys.[29] The Soushenji "reported that in the southwest of Shu there were monkey-like animals whose names were [jiaguo (猳國)], [mahua (馬化)], or [jueyuan (玃猿)]. These animals abducted women and sent them back when they became pregnant. If the baby were not accepted, the woman would have to die. Therefore these children were raised and they received the clan name the Yang (楊) surname. For this reason this clan occurred quite frequently in Southwest Shu."[30][26]
  • The people of Hunan and Guizhou during The Three Kingdoms of Later Han, joined the Yang (楊) surname by Zhuge Liang behalf.[27][26]
  • Manchu people use Yang (楊) as surname since ancestral times.[27][26]
  • Some Bai (白) tribe has been moved to the Yang (楊) surname.[27][31]
  • Naxi, Miao, Hui and other ethnic groups also have taken Yang (楊) as surname.[27][26]


This is current asserted prevalent lineage for the Yang (楊) surname prior to Boqiao:

Huangdi (黃帝)->Shaohao (少昊)->Emperor Ku (帝喾)->Hou Ji (后稷)->Gugong Danfu (古公亶父)->King Wen of Zhou (周文王)->King Wu of Zhou (周武王)->Shu Yu of Tang (唐叔虞)->Marquis Mu of Jin (晉穆侯)->Zhuang Bo of Quwo (曲沃莊伯)->Duke Wu of Jin (晉武公)->Boqiao (伯僑)->Yang Shíwo (杨食我)[32][33][34][12][5][35]

The "Four Wisdoms"[edit]

A tablet for "Hall of Four Wisdoms"

Some branches of the Yang clan (in particular the Hongnong branch) refer to themselves as "Yang of the Hall of Four Wisdoms (楊四知)". The "Hall of Four Wisdoms (四知堂)" refers to a story concerning Yang Zhen (楊震), an official of the Eastern Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), and known for his erudition as well as moral character. When a man named Wang Mi (王密) visited Yang Zhen at night and attempted to bribe him 10 catties of gold, Yang rejected the gift. Wang Mi persevered, saying that nobody would know. Yang Zhen famously retorted "Heaven knows, Earth knows, you know and I know. How can you say that nobody would know?" Descendants of Yang Zhen adopted the "four wisdoms", or "Si Zhi (四知)" as the title of their clan hall. Some Yang family clan halls in various parts of China still carry this name.[36][37][38]

Polities ruled by Yang (楊) families[edit]

and other

Alternative spellings of the Yang (楊) surname[edit]

Notable people surnamed Yang (楊)[edit]

Historical figures[edit]

  • Yang Dongqian (楊洞潛), an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period state Southern Han
  • Yang Ye (楊業) or Yang Jiye (楊繼業), was a military general of the Song Dynasty, Daizhou prefect and Sanjiao Garrison armed forces director (December 979 – August 986)
  • Yang Fuguang (楊復光) (842-883), formally Duke Zhongsu of Hongnong (弘農忠肅公), was a eunuch's proposed general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty
  • Yang Xiu, advisor under Warlord Cao Cao
  • Yang Gongren, official and general of the Sui and Tang Dynasty
  • Yang Hui (traditional Chinese: 楊輝; simplified Chinese: 杨辉), courtesy name Qianguang (謙光), was a Chinese mathematician during the late Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD)
  • Yang Ren (Chinese: 楊任; Pinyin: Yáng Rèn), grand counsellor within the Shang Dynasty
  • Yang Zhu, philosopher (440 – 360 BC) associated with an ethical Egoism
  • Yang Xi (楊羲, 330-c. 386), courtesy name Xihe (羲和, a mythological solar deity), was an Eastern Jin dynasty scholar, calligrapher, and mystic
  • Yang Yi, general of the Three Kingdoms era
  • Yang Jian, first emperor of the Sui Dynasty (581-618)
  • Yang Jisheng, court official executed during the Ming dynasty
  • Yang Shiqi, Grand Secretary in the Imperial Court of the Ming dynasty
  • Yang Pu, Grand Secretary in the Imperial Court of the Ming dynasty
  • Yang Rong, Grand Secretary in the Imperial Court of the Ming dynasty
  • Yang Guang, second Emperor of the Sui Dynasty
  • Yang Guifei, famous emperor's consort in Tang dynasty
  • Yang Guozhong, politician and Yang Guifei's brother
  • Yang Wan (楊綰), Tang Dynasty historian
  • Yang Zaisi (楊再思), chancellor during Wu Zetian's reign
  • Yang Qilang (楊七郎; literally "Yang's 7th son") is the 7th eldest and youngest son of Song Dynasty general Yang Ye
  • Yang Wenguang (楊文廣), Song dynasty general
  • Yang Jian (Erlang Shen), nephew of Jade Emperor
  • Yang Xingmi, Prince Wuzhong of Wu, King Xiaowu of Wu, and Emperor Wu of Wu
  • Yang Cheng (楊成), Fuxing of Sanxing
  • Yang Jiong was a Tang dynasty Chinese poet
  • Yang Liangjie was a holy Marquis
  • Yang Xian (楊仙), Yang Xin (楊信) and Yang Yan (楊彥) called Tai Sui as deities, they are important features of Chinese astrology, Feng Shui, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism to a lesser extent.

Modern figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FamilyTree.com, FamilyTree.com (16 September 2014). "YANG FAMILY NAME". FamilyTree.com. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  2. ^ IndiaChildNames.com, IndiaChildNames.com (16 September 2014). "Yang surname". IndiaChildNames.com. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  3. ^ Kuhn, Philip A. Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times, Lanham, MD/Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Yang Family History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Theobald, Ulrich (8 November 2012). "The House of Yangshe 羊舌". chinaknowledge.de. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  6. ^ "杨氏". qulishi.com(沪ICP备18023561号-11). 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  7. ^ "Mysterious totems of Chinese family names (6)". People's Daily. 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  8. ^ Feng shen yan yi-Creation of the gods. Zhongguo hua bao chu ban she in Beijing. 2003. ISBN 7800246728.
  9. ^ Feng shen yan yi. Zhongguo hua bao chu ban she in Beijing. 2003. OL 21017765M.
  10. ^ "상세내용". 경기도 성남시 분당구 하오개로 323 (운중동)(13455) TEL:031-730-8111 THE ACADEMY OF KOREAN STUDIES). 19 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  11. ^ 'Book of Sui, vol. 1
  12. ^ a b New Book of Tang, zh:s:新唐書
  13. ^ Howard L. Goodman (2010). Xun Xu and the Politics of Precision in Third-Century Ad China. BRILL. pp. 81–. ISBN 978-90-04-18337-7.
  14. ^ Bulletin. The Museum. 1992. p. 154.
  15. ^ Jo-Shui Chen (2006-11-02). Liu Tsung-yüan and Intellectual Change in T'ang China, 773-819. Cambridge University Press. pp. 195–. ISBN 978-0-521-03010-6.
  16. ^ Peter Bol (1 August 1994). "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T?ang and Sung China. Stanford University Press. pp. 505–. ISBN 978-0-8047-6575-6.
  17. ^ Asia Major. Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica. 1995. p. 57.
  18. ^ R. W. L. Guisso (December 1978). Wu Tse-T'len and the politics of legitimation in T'ang China. Western Washington. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-914584-90-2.
  19. ^ Jo-Shui Chen (2006-11-02). Liu Tsung-yüan and Intellectual Change in T'ang China, 773-819. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-521-03010-6.
  20. ^ 《氏族志》
  21. ^ Peter Bol (1 August 1994). "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T?ang and Sung China. Stanford University Press. pp. 66–. ISBN 978-0-8047-6575-6.
  22. ^ Ouyang, Xiu (5 April 2004). Historical Records of the Five Dynasties. Richard L. Davis, translator. Columbia University Press. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-0-231-50228-3.
  23. ^ 《朱子語類》 《卷一百四十·論文下(詩)》 Page 77
  24. ^ Zhang Qian (2015-03-29). "Dynastic connections make Yang a regal surname". Shanghai Daily. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  25. ^ "Chinese Yang surname history". People's Daily. 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i "你的姓有少数民族血统吗?". 中国台湾网 版权所有. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 12 Jul 2021.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i http://www.cnbjx.com/xingshi/yang_3146.html, retrieved 9 June 2020
  28. ^ "歷史悠久的仇池古國". kknews.cc. 10 Jun 2018. Retrieved 11 Dec 2020.
  29. ^ Eberhard, Wolfram (1968), The Local Cultures of South and East China, E. J. Brill, p. 53.
  30. ^ 12, tr. Eberhard (1968), p. 52.
  31. ^ https://www.nongli.com/qm/baobao/7549.html, retrieved 9 June 2020
  32. ^ The Book of Odes at Wengu zhixin. Chinese text with James Legge and Marcel Granet (partial) translations
  33. ^ Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals.
  34. ^ Han, Zhaoqi (2010). "House of Jin". Annotated Shiji (in Chinese). Zhonghua Book Company. pp. 3093–3094. ISBN 978-7-101-07272-3.
  35. ^ "Yang family lineage (Sui Dynasty, Yang Jiajiang, Bozhou Tusi)". INEWS. 16 Jul 2021. Retrieved 16 Jul 2021.
  36. ^ "Yang Zhen - An Irreproachable Functionary". Pureinsight. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  37. ^ "陕西潼关杨震:"四知"拒金 清白传家". 中华人民共和国民政部. 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2 Dec 2020.
  38. ^ "楊震「四知「,你可知?". 由 百家姓氏 發表于歷史 原文網址. 19 Oct 2016. Retrieved 2 Dec 2020.

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