Zhu (surname)

For other uses, see Zhu (disambiguation).
Family name
Meaning Vermillion; named after the ancient State of Zhu (邾)
Related names Zou (邹)

Zhu[nb 1] is the pinyin romanization of four Chinese surnames: , , , and . It is spelled Chu in the Wade-Giles romanization system mainly used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The most common of the four, 朱, was the surname of the Ming Dynasty emperors. Today it is the 13th most common surname in the People's Republic of China,[2] with a population of over fifteen million.[3]

Origin and distribution

The Zhu (朱) family originated from the minor state of Zhu (邾, later renamed Zou) (p. 43, Chao) in present-day southwestern Shandong Province. King Wu of Zhou granted Cao Xie, an alleged descendant of the Yellow Emperor through his grandson Zhuanxu, control over the small state. He was a vassal ruler under the Lu (state) (魯) and held the feudal title Viscount (子), but later held the title Duke of Zhu (邾公) during the Spring and Autumn period. (p. 138, Li Chi; p. 239, Tan & p. 306, Wu).

The ancestral surname (姓) of the ruling family was Cao). (p. 144, Li Xueqin). The state of Zou was conquered and annexed by the state of Chu during the reign of King Xuan of Chu (楚宣王) (369340 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 has been one of the most influential clans in Chinese history. Zhu (朱) is technically a branch of the Cao (曹) surname, but now surpasses the parent ranking 13th and 27th respectively in terms of population size.

Notable people surnamed 朱

Historical figures

Government, Politics and Military

Philosophy and Religion


Science and Technology


Sports and Entertainment




  1. The approximate pronunciation in English is //.[1]


  1. "Pronunciation of Zhu". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  2. http://zhongwen.com/xingshi.htm
  3. "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.(Chinese)
  4. List of common Korean surnames
  • Brook, Timothy, 1998, The Confucian of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21091-3
  • Chao, Sheau-yueh J., 2000, "In Search of Your Asian Roots: Genealogical Research on Chinese Surnames", Clearfield. ISBN 0-8063-4946-8
  • Li, Chi, 1967, "The Formation of the Chinese People: An Anthropological Inquiry", Russell & Russell. U.S. Library of Congress Card No: 66-27117.
  • Li Xueqin, 1985 "Eastern Zhou and Qin Civilizations", (K.C. Chang trans.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03286-2
  • Mote, F.W., 1999, "Imperial China 900 - 1800", Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-44515-5
  • Paludan, Ann, 1998, "Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China", Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05090-2
  • Paludan, Ann, 1981, "The Imperial Ming Imperial Tombs", Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02511-4
  • Tan, Thomas Tsu-wee, 1986, "Your Chinese Roots: The Overseas Chinese Story", Times Books International. ISBN 0-89346-285-3
  • Wu, Kuo-Cheng, 1982, The Chinese Heritage. Crown Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-517-54475-X
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