Zhu (surname)

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Word/nameShandong, China
MeaningVermillion; named after the ancient State of Zhu (邾)
Other names
Variant form(s)Zou (邹)
Cao (also adopted by former subjects of Zou)

Zhu is the pinyin romanization of five Chinese surnames: , , , and .

The most prominent of the five, Zhu (), is the 17th name in the Hundred Family Surnames poem and was the surname of the Ming dynasty emperors. It is alternatively spelled Chu (primarily in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Gee[citation needed][clarification needed] in the United States, and Choo (mostly in Singapore and Malaysia). As of 2018, it is the 14th most common surname in the People's Republic of China, with a population of around 18 million.[1][2][3]


One interpretation is that 朱 refers to 朱雀 meaning vermillion. This is a completely different character from another Chu (楚), which is less common than Zhu.

Origin and distribution[edit]

The ancestral surname (姓) of the ruling family of the State of Zhu (邾) was Cao. (p. 144, Xueqin). The State of Zou, as it was later renamed, was conquered and annexed by the state of Chu during the reign of King Xuan of Chu (369–340 BC). (p. 43, Chao). The ruling family and its descendants adopted Zhu (朱) as their surname in memory of their former state of Zhu (邾). (p. 43, Chao & p. 239, Tan).

During the Ming dynasty, some Zhus moved to Taiwan, and others later migrated to Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas. The clan is also found in Korea and is known as: 주 (朱; Ju, Joo); it is the 32nd most common name in Korea though it is combined with the Zhou (周) surname.[4]

Zhu (朱) is technically a branch of the Cao (曹) surname. Nowadays, Zhu is 14th most common, while Cao is 27th most common in terms of population size. [5]

A 2013 study found that it was the 14th most common surnames, shared by 17,000,000 people or 1.280% of the population, with the province with the most being Jiangsu.

Notable people surnamed 朱[edit]

Historical figures[edit]

Government, politics and military[edit]

Philosophy and religion[edit]


Science and technology[edit]


Sports and entertainment[edit]




  1. ^ "公安部发布去年全国姓名报告,"王、李、张"姓排前三".
  2. ^ "中国最新300大姓排名(2008 [Statistics on the number of citizens with each surname in China, based on records of National Identity Cards]." 2009-01-06. Accessed 20 Jun 2015.(in Chinese)
  3. ^ http://www.bjnews.com.cn/news/2020/01/20/676822.html
  4. ^ List of common Korean surnames
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100314095535/http://www.chinapage.com/biography/lastname.html


External links[edit]