Zhang (surname)

Zhang, Chang

Zhang surname in regular script
Romanization Chang, Zhang (Mandarin)
Cheung (Hong Kong)
Cheong (Macao, Malaysia)
Tsan, Tsaon (Shanghai)
Teo, Teoh (Hokkien, Teochew)
Chong (Hakka)
Thong, Cheong (Gan)
Trương, Trang (Vietnamese)
Jang, Chang () (Korean)
Pronunciation IPA: /tʂɑŋ˥/ (Mandarin IPA)
Zhāng (Pinyin)
Tiuⁿ (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s) Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean
Language(s) Old Chinese
Derivation State of Zhang
Meaning drawing a bow,[1]
archer, bowyer

Zhang ([ʈʂáŋ]) is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written in simplified characters and traditionally. It is spoken in the first tone: Zhāng. It is a surname that exists in many languages and cultures, corresponding to the surname 'Archer' in English for example. Chang is the Wade-Giles romanization.

It is also the pinyin romanization of the less-common surname (also Zhāng).

was listed 24th in the famous Song-era Hundred Family Surnames. Today, it is one of the most common surnames in the world and was listed by the People's Republic of China's National Citizen ID Information System as the third-most-common surname in mainland China in April 2007, with 87.50 million bearers.[2][3] A commonly cited but erroneous factoid in the 1990 Guinness Book of Records listed it as the world's most common surname,[4] but no comprehensive information from China was available at the time and more recent editions have not repeated the claim.


() and are also commonly romanized as Chang on Taiwan and among the Chinese diaspora using the older Wade-Giles system. Both are also romanized as Cheung in Hong Kong; Cheong in Macao and Malaysia; Teo and Teoh in Teochew; Chong in Hakka; Tsan and Tsaon among Wu Chinese varieties like Shanghainese; Thong, Cheong in Gan; and Tiong in East Malaysia and the Philippines; and Tjong, Sutiono or Thiono in Indonesia.

was the Chữ Nôm form of the Vietnamese surname Trương. The Hanja of the Korean surname romanized Jang and Chang (). It remains the Kanji for the Japanese surname romanized Chō.

In Vietnamese, the surname written in Chữ Nôm is clearly distinguished and written as Trang or Chương.


As mentioned above, is the third-most-common surname in mainland China, making up 6.83% of the population of the People's Republic of China.[5] On Taiwan, is the fourth-most-common surname, making up 5.26% of the population of the Republic of China.[6] 章 was unlisted among the top 100 in either location.

Among the Chinese diaspora, the name remains common but takes on various romanizations. "Chong" is the 19th-most-common surname among Chinese Singaporeans;[7] "Chang" is the 6th-most-common surname among Chinese Americans; and "Zhang" was the 7th-most-common particularly Chinese surname (i.e., excluding ethnically diverse surnames such as "Lee") found in a 2010 survey of Ontario's Registered Persons Database of Canadian health card recipients.[8]



combines the Chinese characters (gōng, "bow") and (simp. , cháng, "long" or "wide"). It originally meant "to open up" or "to spread" as an arching bow, but as a common noun in modern use it is a measure word for flat objects such as paper and cloth, like the English "sheet of".

combines the characters (yin, "sound", "(musical) note") and (shi, "ten"). It originally meant "brilliant", "to display", "a distinctive mark"[9] and was used as the name of a fief, but as a common noun in modern use it means an "article" in a newspaper or magazine or a "chapter" in a book or law.


The traditional origin of the surname (Old Chinese: *C. traŋ[1]) is rooted in Chinese legend. The fifth son of the Yellow Emperor, Qing Yangshi (氏/青, Qīng Yángshì), had a son Hui (揮/挥, Huī) who was inspired by the Heavenly Bow constellation (天弓星, Tiān Gōng Xīng) to invent the bow and arrow. Hui was then promoted to "First Bow" (, Gōng Zhèng) and bestowed the surname , which  when broken into its constituent radicals  means "widening bow" or "archer". Its Middle Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as Trjang.[1]

The surname (Old Chinese: *taŋ[9]) originated from the legendary Yan Emperor, whose personal surname was Jiang (). On the establishment of the state of Qi, Jiang Ziya apportioned the land among his many descendants, including a one known as Zhang (鄣国). Some of the people of this state took as their surname, particularly after it was annexed by Qi. The Middle Chinese pronunciation of the name was Tsyang, the beginnings of what we now know to be the "Zhang" surname.[9]

List of persons with the surname


Note: people generally romanized as "Chang" are listed in the "Chang" article; people generally romanized as "Cheung" are listed in the "Cheung" article; people generally romanized as "Teo" or "Teoh" are listed in the "Teoh" article; people generally romanized as "Jang" are listed in the "Jang" article; and people with the family name "Trương" are listed in the "Trương" article
Historical figures
Government and military
  • Baby Zhang (Zhang Hanyun) (born 1989), Chinese singer and runner-up of the singing contest Super Girl.
  • Zhang Hanyu (born 1964), Chinese actor.
  • Jane Zhang (born 1984), Chinese pop singer.
  • Zhang Liyin (born 1989), Chinese singer active in China and South Korea.
  • Zhang Xianzi (born 1986), Chinese singer.
  • Zhang Yang (born 1967), Chinese film director, screenwriter, and occasional actor.
  • Zhang Yimou (born 1951), Chinese film director and former cinematographer.
  • Zhang Yixing (born 1991), Chinese singer, dancer and songwriter.
  • Zhang Yuan (born 1963), Chinese film director
  • Zhang Zhenhuan (born 1985), Chinese actor and MediaCorp artiste based in Singapore.
  • Zhang Chao (born 1600, year of death unknown), Qing dynasty litterateur and fiction writer.
  • Zhang Chengzhi (born 1948), Hui Muslim writer and author of History of the Soul.
  • Zhang Dai (1597–1689), Ming dynasty writer and historian.
  • Zhang Lijia (born 1964), Chinese writer and author of "Socialism is Great!".
  • Zhang Tianyi (1906–1985), Chinese left-wing writer and children's author.
Fictional and mythological characters

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (1.93 MB), p. 143. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  2. Xinhua. "公安部统计分析显示:王姓成为我国第一大姓." (Chinese)
  3. People's Daily. "Chinese Surname Shortage Sparks Rethink."
  4. McFarlan, Donald. 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. Sterling Pub. Co., 2001. ISBN 189205101X.
  5. "公安部统计:'王'成中国第一大姓 有9288万人 [Public Security Bureau Statistics: 'Wang' Found China's #1 'Big Family', Includes 92.88m People]." 24 Apr 2007. Accessed 27 Mar 2012.(Chinese)
  6. 中华百家姓-千字文-国学经典-文化经典. "中国台湾姓氏排行 [Taiwan (China) Surname Ranking]". 8 Jun 2010. Accessed 1 Apr 2012. (Chinese)
  7. Statistics Singapore. "Popular Chinese Surnames in Singapore".
  8. Shah, B. R.; Chiu, M.; Amin, S.; Ramani, M.; Sadry, S.; Tu, J. V. (2010). "Surname lists to identify South Asian and Chinese ethnicity from secondary data in Ontario, Canada: A validation study". BMC Medical Research Methodology. 10: 42. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-42. PMC 2877682Freely accessible. PMID 20470433.
  9. 1 2 3 Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (1.93 MB), p. 162. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
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