the most common chinese, japanese and korean surnames

I was doing an unrelated search when I randomly stumbled upon these lists of common surnames from China, Japan and Korea on Wikipedia. For your interest and convenience, I have reproduced them here. Personally, I find the lists very interesting. The list confirms the status of many of the stereotypical surnames that you can recite off the top of your head.

Are you able to spot your surname here?

Top 20 Chinese surnames

  1. 王 (Wang)* [Wong]^ ~93 million (7.25%)
  2. 李 (Li) [Lee] ~92 million (7.19%)
  3. 張/张 (Zhang) [Cheung] ~88 million (6.83%)
  4. 劉/刘 (Liu) [Lau]
  5. 陳/陈 (Chen) [Chan]
  6. 楊/杨 (Yang) [Yeung]
  7. 黃/黄 (Huang) [Wong]
  8. 趙/赵 (Zhao) [Chiu]
  9. 吳/吴 (Wu) [Ng]
  10. 周 (Zhou) [Chau]
  11. 徐 (Xu) [Tsui]
  12. 孫/孙 (Sun) [Suen]
  13. 馬/马 (Ma) [Ma]
  14. 朱 (Zhu) [Chu]
  15. 胡 (Hu) [Wu]
  16. 郭 (Guo) [Kwok]
  17. 何 (He) [Ho]
  18. 高 (Gao) [Ko]
  19. 林 (Lin) [Lam]
  20. 羅/罗 (Luo) [Lo]

*spelling used in mainland China (Mandarin) ^spelling used in Hong Kong (Cantonese)

Top 20 surnames in Japan

  1. 佐藤 (Sato)
  2. 鈴木 (Suzuki)
  3. 高橋 (Takahashi)
  4. 田中 (Tanaka)
  5. 渡辺 (Watanabe)
  6. 伊藤 (Ito)
  7. 山本 (Yamamoto)
  8. 中村 (Nakamura)
  9. 小林 (Kobayashi)
  10. 斎藤 (Saito)
  11. 加藤 (Kato)
  12. 吉田 (Yoshida)
  13. 山田 (Yamada)
  14. 佐々木 (Sasaki)
  15. 山口 (Yamaguchi)
  16. 松本 (Matsumoto)
  17. 井上 (Inoue)
  18. 木村 (Kimura)
  19. 林 (Hayashi)
  20. 清水 (Shimizu)

Top 20 surnames in Korea

  1. 김 (Kim/金)
  2. 이 (Lee/李)
  3. 박 (Park/朴)
  4. 최 (Choi/崔)
  5. 정 (Jeong/鄭)
  6. 강 (Kang/姜)
  7. 조 (Cho/趙)
  8. 윤 (Yoon/尹)
  9. 장 (Jang/張)
  10. 임 (Lim/林)
  11. 한 (Han/韓)
  12. 오 (O/吳)
  13. 신 (Shin/申)
  14. 서 (Seo/徐)
  15. 권 (Kwon/權)
  16. 황 (Hwang/黃)
  17. 안 (Ahn/安)
  18. 송 (Song/宋)
  19. 유 (Yoo/柳, 劉, 兪, and 庾)
  20. 홍 (Hong/洪)
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9 responses to “the most common chinese, japanese and korean surnames

  1. Here’s another game… try to list your friends next to each category and see how the stats apply to your little universe (makes a great procrastination exercise). 😛

  2. I don’t think you thought about, but didn’t act on this procrastination exercise, did you? haha

  3. Ahh neat list. I could list a few Chinese and Korean friends not to mention Vietnamese as well!

  4. I seem to know a lot more people with the Cantonese surnames, but I guess I already knew the split even before reading your list 😉 I’m surprised that Cheng in not in your list? or is that covered by one of the other ones?

  5. Yes yes it’s really intersting isn’t it?

    I reckon that Cheng/Zheng wouldn’t be too far from 20

  6. According to a website researching the ranking of Japanese Surname:
    There are 1,086 葛原 families in Japan and it is number 2,450 lol

  7. I think it’s better to have a unique surname! =)

    Unfortunately mine is far from unique. But I don’t know that many people with my surname… maybe my brothers and sisters are all back in China haha

  8. I’m trying to reserch a name which openly reflects a Korean Japanees heritage. I know that such a name would not be usual or even well tolerated but if there are any known I’ld like to hear them

  9. Top 10 Vietnamese surnames with their chữ Hán and pronounciations
    Nguyễn (阮) [Pronounced: ngwin or win]
    Trần (陳) [Pronounced: chan or chang]
    Lê (黎) [Pronounced: lay, leh]
    Phạm (范) [Pronounced: fam]
    Huỳnh/Hoàng (黃) [Pronounced: win or hwin/wang or hwang]
    Phan (潘) [Pronounced: fan]
    Vũ/Võ (武) [Pronounced: vuh or yuh/voh or yoh]
    Đặng (鄧) [Pronounced: tahng, dang]
    Bùi (裴) [Pronounced: boy, bow]
    Đỗ (杜) [Pronounced: doh]
    Hồ (胡) [Pronounced: ho]
    Ngô (吳) [Pronounced: ngo]
    Dương (楊) [Pronounced: yeung or zeung]
    Lý (李) [Pronounced: lee]

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