Chen ([ʈʂʰə̌n]) (simplified Chinese: 陈; traditional Chinese: 陳; pinyin: Chén; Wade–Giles: Ch'en) is a common East Asian surname and one of the most common surnames in the world. It is the most common surname in Taiwan (2010) and Singapore (2000). Chen is also the most common family name in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Macau, and Hong Kong. It is the most common surname in Xiamen, the ancestral hometown of many overseas Hoklo.
Dunn (Taiwanese Hokkien, Mingnamyu, Holo)
Tan (Hokkien, Teochew)
Chin (Taishanese, Hakka, Japanese)
Jin, Chin (Korean)
|Language(s)||Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien)|
Chen Hu Gong
|Derivation||Gui (ancestral surname)|
Jin (Korean name),
Sae-Tang, Sae-Chen, Sae-Chin, Sae-Tan (Thai name),
Hartanto, Sutanto, Tanujaya (Chinese Indonesian)
In Cantonese, it is usually romanized as Chan (as in Jackie Chan), most widely used by those from Hong Kong. Chan is also widely used in Macao and Malaysia. It is also sometimes spelled Chun. In many Southern Min dialects (including dialects of Hainan, Fujian, and Taiwan), the name is pronounced Tan, while in Teochew, it is pronounced Tang. In Hakka and Taishanese, the name is spelled Chin. In Wu it is pronounced Zen or Tchen.
In Vietnam, this surname is written as Trần (in Quốc Ngữ) and is 2nd most common. In Thailand, this surname is the most common surname of Thai Chinese and is often pronounced according to Teochew dialect as Tang. In Cambodia, this surname is transliterated as Taing. In Japanese, the surname is transliterated Chin (ちん). In Korean it is transliterated Jin or Chin (진).
Chen is 5th most common in mainland China, but 4th most common in the world due to Chen's larger overseas population. With all its various spellings and pronunciations, there are around 80-100 million people surnamed 陳 / 陈 worldwide.
Chen was listed 10th in the Hundred Family Surnames poem, in the verse 馮陳褚衛 (Feng Chen Chu Wei).
The Chinese character 陳 / 陈 means 'to describe' (陈述) or 'ancient'. It is a combination of the radical 阝and the character 東 / 东 which means 'East'.
A millennia after Emperor Shun, when King Wu of Zhou established the Zhou dynasty (c. 1046 BC), he enfeoffed his son-in-law Gui Man, also known as Duke Hu of Chen or Chen Hugong (陈胡公). Chen Hugong, a descendant of Emperor Shun, found the State of Chen in modern Huaiyang County, Henan Province. In 479 BC, Chen was absorbed by Chu and became the Chu capital. The people of Chen adopted the name of their former state as their surname.
At the end of the Qin dynasty, Chen Sheng initiated the Chen Sheng Wu Guang Uprising that overthrew the Qin and paved the way for the Han dynasty, one of China's golden ages. In 2019, Chen Sheng Wu Guang uprising is removed from middle school textbook in China.
During the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589), Chen Baxian established the Chen Dynasty (557-589), the fourth and the last of the Southern dynasties, which was eventually absorbed by the Sui Dynasty.
During this period, the nomadic Xianbei people had systematically assimilated into China's agrarian culture and adopted Han Chinese surnames under the state directives of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei. The Xianbei subjects whose surname of "侯莫陳" (Hóumòchén) were converted to "陳" (Chen).
Some descendants of Chen migrated to Vietnam (Dai Viet) and established the Trần dynasty, a golden age in Vietnam. Their original home was Fujian, and they migrated under Trần Kinh (陳京 Chén Jīng). Trần Thái Tông (陈太宗 Chen Taizong) became the founding emperor of the Tran dynasty, and his descendants would rule Vietnam for more than a century, expanding Vietnam's territory and promoting developments in language, chu nom, culture, and art. Certain members of the clan could still speak Chinese, like when a Yuan dynasty envoy had a meeting with the Chinese-speaking Tran Prince Trần Quốc Tuấn in 1282.
Chen is the 5th most common surname in mainland China (around 70 million) and 4th most common in the world (around 80-100 million, including all its variants like Chan, Tan, Tran).
A 2013 study found that it was the 5th most common surname, shared by 61,300,000 people or 4.610% of the population, with the province with the most being Guangdong.
According to 2018 census, it was 5th most common in mainland China at around 63 million, but 4th most common surname in the world with 80-100 million people. It is the most popular Chinese surname overseas.
Hong Kong has 61,000 Chens, ranks 32nd.
In Thailand, last names are more unique therefore the Chinese last name Chen ranks 2nd with 88,000 and with an incidence of 1 to 900.
There are 187,000 Chens in the US, as of 2014. It is the 30th most common last name in California where there are 70,000. 11,300 in Texas, 6,800 Illinois, 5,900 Maryland. New Jersey was undercounted with data missing; New York had 5,400.
In Canada there are 32,900 Chens; 16,600 Ontario and 11,000 British Columbia.
Chen is usually one of the top 5 common Asian last names and top 3 most common Chinese in the US.
Other pronunciations and transliterationEdit
- Chen, used in Mandarin
- Dan, used in Thailand
- Dunn, used in Hokkien, Holo
- Chan, used in Cantonese in Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia
- Chin, used in Hakka in Singapore and Malaysia and Taishanese in America
- Gin, used in Taishanese
- Jin, used in Korean
- Tan, used in Teochew, Hokkien and Hainanese in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand
- Tang or Taing, used in Teochew in Cambodia and Thailand. Occasionally in Singapore and Malaysia.
- Ting or Ding, used in Fuzhou
- Trần, Sấn used in Vietnamese
- Zen, used in Shanghainese
- Sen, used as an alternative spelling in Limbu, Limbuwan
Notable people surnamed 陳 / 陈Edit
This list includes Chen, Chan, Tran, Tan, Tang and other common spellings of 陈
- Chen Baxian, Founding Emperor of the Chen Dynasty
- Chen Biao, General of Eastern Wu
- Chen Bozong, Third Emperor of the Chen Dynasty
- Chen Cheng (Ming dynasty), diplomat
- Chen Dao, General under Warlord Liu Bei later Shu Han
- Chen De'an, Zhiyi, founder of Tiantai school of Buddhism
- Chen Deng (204-237), Politician in the late Han Dynasty
- Chen Di, Ming dynasty
- Chen Gong (died 198) Advisor under warlord Lu Bu
- Chen Hugong, or Duke Hu of Chen, founded State of Chen
- Chen Hui / Chen Yi (陈袆), Xuanzang, Tang dynasty Buddhist who traveled to India; Xuanzang is also the subject of Journey to the West
- Chen Jiongming (1878–1933), Chinese revolutionary
- Chen Li (1810–1882), Cantonese scholar of the evidential research school
- Chen Li, second and the last emperor of the Dahan regime in the late Yuan Dynasty of China
- Chen Lin, naval general of Ming Dynasty and Commander-in-chief of the Battle of Noryang, founder of Gwangdong Jin clan
- Chen Lin (Han dynasty)
- Chen Ping (died 173 BC) Minister and Chancellor of the Han dynasty
- Chen Qun (died 238) Official of Cao Wei
- Chen Qian Second Emperor of the Chen Dynasty
- Chen Sheng, rebel leader of the Chen Sheng Wu Guang uprising during the Qin Dynasty
- Chen Shi, general of Shu Han
- Chen Shou (233-297), wrote Records of the Three Kingdoms, historian and author in the early Jin Dynasty
- Chen Shubao, Fifth and Last Emperor of the Chen Dynasty
- Chen Shuda Official of the Sui Dynasty and Chancellor of the Tang Dynasty
- Chen Tai (died 260) Official and General of Cao Wei
- Chen Tang, general of the Western Han Dynasty
- Chen Tuan, Daoist and martial artist who invented the Liuhebafa technique
- Chen Weisong, Qing dynasty poet
- Chen Wenlong, general of Song dynasty
- Chen Wu (died 215) General under warlord Sun Quan
- Chen Xu, Fourth Emperor of the Chen Dynasty
- Chen Yan (governor), Tang dynasty governor
- Chen Youliang, emperor of Chen Han
- Chen Yuanyuan, concubine of Wu Sangui
- Chen Zi'ang
- Chen Zhen (died 235) Minister of Shu Han
- Chun Afong (1825 – 1906), Hawaiian businessman
- Cao Zhi, self-proclaimed King Chen (陈王)
- Empress Chen (Jiajing), empress of Ming dynasty
- Empress Chen Jiao, empress of Han dynasty and first wife of Liu Che
- Trần Thái Tông, emperor of Tran Dynasty (陈太宗)
- Dynasties and States
- Rulers of the Chen Dynasty (陈朝)
- Rulers of the Trần Dynasty (also called 陈朝)
- Rulers of Chen (state), where Daoism originated
- Rulers of Chen Han
Note: this list is primarily ordered by spelling of the surname, secondarily ordered by given name commonly used in English, regardless of name order.
- Agnes Chan (born 1955), Hong Kong singer
- Alexandre Chan (born 1942), Brazilian architect
- Charles and Lee-Lee Chan (1914–2008 and 1916–2002), parents of Jackie Chan
- Daniel Chan (born 1975), Hong Kong singer, songwriter and actor
- Danny Chan (1958–1993), Hong Kong actor, singer and composer
- Eason Chan (born 1974), Hong Kong actor and singer
- Eddy Chen (born 1993), Australian musician and YouTuber of the musical duo TwoSet Violin
- Francis Chan (born 1967), American preacher
- Frankie Chan (born 1951), Chinese martial arts actor, director, producer and composer
- Chen Fushou (1932–2020), Indonesian badminton gold medalist
- Chen Yi Ning (born 1979), Chinese actress based in Hong Kong
- Jackie Chan (born 1954), Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, film director, producer, martial artist
- Jason Chan (disambiguation)
- Jason Keng-Kwin Chan (born 1971), Malaysian-Australian actor
- Jaycee Chan (born 1982), American-born Hong Kong actor and singer, son of Jackie Chan
- Johnny Chan (born 1957), Chinese-born American professional poker player
- Jordan Chan (born 1967), Hong Kong actor and singer
- Kim Chan (1917–2008), American actor
- Leighton Chan (born 1961), physician and researcher
- Margaret Chan (born 1947), Director of World Health Organization
- Monica Chan (born 1966), Hong Kong actress and winner of Miss Hong Kong 1989
- Moses Chan (born 1971), Hong Kong actor and model
- Patrick Chan (born 1990), Canadian figure skater
- Priscilla Chan (born 1985), philanthropist and wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
- Priscilla Chan (singer) (born 1965), Hong Kong singer
- Ruco Chan (born 1977), Hong Kong actor and singer
- Chan Siu Wing (born 1993), Hong Kong basketball player
- T.H. Chan (1923–1986), Hong Kong billionaire, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health named after him, sons Gerald Chan and Ronnie Chan
- Vincy Chan (born 1982), Cantopop singer from Hong Kong
- William Chan (born 1985), Hong Kong singer
- Wing-tsit Chan (1901–1994), Chinese scholar
- Yau-Man Chan (born 1952), Malaysian-American table tennis player, technology executive and reality TV contestant
- José Antonio Chang (born 19 May 1958), former Prime Minister of Peru
- Anthony Chen, Physics Professor Emeritus, Nobel Prize recipient 2007 as part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- Apollo Chen (born 1957), Taiwanese legislator
- Arthur Y. Chen (fl. 1990s), Minister of Public Construction Commission of the Republic of China (1995–1996)
- Chen Bolin / Wilson Chen (born 1983), Taiwanese actor
- Bruce Chen (born 1977), Panamanian Major League Baseball player
- Cheer Chen (born 1975), Taiwanese singer and songwriter
- Chen Changwen (born 1944), Chinese politician and lawyer
- Chen Cheng (1897–1965), Chinese politician and general, Vice President and Premier of the Republic of China
- Chen Chi-chung (born 1966), acting Minister of Council of Agriculture of the Republic of China
- Chen Chien-jen, (born 1951) Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
- Chen In-chin, Chairperson of Central Election Commission of the Republic of China (2017–2018)
- Chen Show Mao, Rhodes Scholar and Singaporean politician
- Chen Chih-ching (born 1952), Minister of Council of Agriculture of the Republic of China (2016)
- Chih-Ping Chen (1906–1984), diplomat for the Republic of China
- Chen Chin-jun (born 1956), Governor of Fujian Province (2007–2008)
- Chen Chi-ting (born 1999), Taiwanese badminton player
- Christine Chen (born 1968), American journalist, news anchor and CEO of Chen Communications
- Chen Chung-shin, General Secretary of the Boy Scouts of China
- Chen Danian (陈大年 born 1978), Chinese Internet entrepreneur
- Chen Deming, leader
- Chen Ding (born 1992), racewalker, 2012 Olympic champion
- Chen Duling (born 1993), Chinese actress
- Chen Duxiu (1879–1942), co-founder of the Communist Party of China and its first General Secretary
- Edison Chen (born 1980), Canadian-born Hong Kong singer
- Edward Chen (born 1945), Hong Kong economist and politician
- Fala Chen (born 1982), Hong Kong-born American actress and singer
- Chen Fu-hai (born 1963), Magistrate of Kinmen County
- Chen Gang (disambiguation)
- Chen Geng, Korean war general
- Chen Guangbiao, entrepreneur and philanthropist
- Chen Guangcheng (born 1971), Chinese civil rights activist
- Chen Guangfu (1880–1976), banker
- Chen Guangyi, former governor of Gansu
- H. T. Chen, American dancer and choreographer
- Chen Hao (born 1979), Chinese actress, singer, and model
- Chen He (born 1985), Chinese actor
- Chen Hong (actress) (born 1968), Chinese actress and film producer
- Chen Hong (badminton) (born 1979), Chinese former badminton player
- Chen Hsiung-wen (born 1954), Minister of Labor of the Republic of China (2014–2016)
- Chen Hsueh-sheng (born 1952), Magistrate of Lienchiang County (2001–2009)
- Chen Hualan (born 1969), Chinese virologist
- Jenova Chen, director of Journey (2012 video game)
- Jiebing Chen, Chinese musician who plays the erhu
- Chen Jin (actress)
- Chen Jin (badminton) (born 1986), former world men's singles champion in badminton
- Jin Chen (1975–2014), a chef killed along with his wife and two sons in a suburb of Albany, New York
- Chen Jingrun (1933–1996), Chinese mathematician, known for Chen prime and Chen's theorem
- Jirayu Tangsrisuk (1993), Thai actor, singer and model
- Joan Chen (born 1961), Chinese-American actress and film director
- Joseph Zen (born 1931), Chinese Roman Catholic cardinal and former Bishop of Hong Kong
- Joyce Chen (chef) (1917–1994), Chinese-American chef, author and television personality
- Chen Jinn-lih, Vice President of Control Yuan (2008–2014)
- Chen Jintao, economist, founder of Bank of China
- Jiun-Shyan Chen, American engineering professor at University of California, San Diego
- Julie Chen (born 1970), American television personality, news anchor and producer
- Chen Kaige (born 1952), Chinese film director
- Kanok Ratwongsakul (born 1963), Thai journalist and anchorman
- Karen Chen (born 1999), American figure skater
- Katherine Chen (fl. 1980s–2020s), Taiwanese communications official and professor
- Kawee Tanjararak (born 1980), Thai singer and actor
- Kelly Chen (born 1972), Hong Kong actress and singer
- Chen Kenichi (born 1956), Japanese chef on the syndicated TV program Iron Chef
- Chen Kenmin (1912–1990), father of Chen Kenichi, and a prominent Chinese chef in Japan
- Chen Kuang-fu (born 1955), Magistrate of Penghu County
- Chen Lifu (1900–2001), Chinese politician, Minister of Education of the Republic of China
- Chen Linong (born 2000), Taiwanese singer and actor, former member of Nine Percent
- Chen Liping (born 1965), Singaporean actress
- Chen Lu (born 1976), Chinese figure skater
- Lynda Chin (born 1968), American cancer genomic scientist from Guangzhou
- Mei-Ann Chen (born 1973), American orchestra conductor and musician
- Chen Mengjia (1911–1966), Chinese scholar and archaeologist
- Chen Mingren, a founding member of the PLA
- Napa Kiatwanchai (born 1967), Thai professional boxer (born as Suwit Sae-tang)
- Nathan Chen (born 1999), American figure skater
- Peter Chen (born 1947), computer scientist, inventor of the Entity-Relationship Model
- Chen Qingping (1795–1868), martial artist and teacher
- Chen Qiufan (born 1981), science fiction author
- Robert Chen (born 1969), violinist and Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Roger H. Chen (born 1950s), Taiwanese-born American businessman, founder of the 99 Ranch Market supermarket chain
- Chen Rui (zh:陈睿), internet entrepreneur, billionaire, and CEO of Bilibili
- Chen Shaoguo (born 1971), Chinese former racewalker
- Chen Hongyu (陳泓宇), Shaun Chen (born 3 November 1978), Malaysian actor in Singapore
- Shane Chen, inventor (e.g. invented Self-balancing scooter)
- Chen Shi-Zheng, Chinese-born American theater director
- Shiing-Shen Chern (1911–2004), Chinese-American mathematician, known for Chern–Gauss–Bonnet theorem, Chern class, Chern–Simons theory, etc.
- Chen Shui-bian (born 1950), President of the Republic of China (2000–2008)
- Chen Shui-tsai (born 1948), Magistrate of Kinmen County (1991–2001)
- Chen Shyh-kwei (born 1952), Governor of Fujian Province (2013)
- Chen Sicheng, director
- Chen Sisi (actress) (1938–2007), Chinese film and theatre actress
- Sisy Chen (born 1958), Taiwanese politician and television commentator
- Steve Chen (born 1978), co-founder of YouTube
- Steve Chen (computer engineer) (born 1944), supercomputer designer and entrepreneur
- Surachai Danwattananusorn (born 1942), Thai political activist
- Jin Sun-Yu (born 1988), South Korean short-track speed skater
- Terry Chen (born 1975), Canadian actor
- Chen Tianwen (born 1963), Singaporean actor
- Tan Ting-pho (1895–1947), Taiwanese oil painter
- Chen Tze-chung (born 1958), Taiwanese professional golfer also known as T. C. Chen
- Chen Wei (medical scientist)
- Chen Wei Zhen (陈伟振；chén weǐzhèn), a gang member of Salakau and murderer
- Chen Wei (dissident) (born 1969), Chinese dissident and human rights activist
- Wei-Yin Chen (born 1985), Major League Baseball pitcher from Taiwan
- Chen Wei-zen (born 1953), Deputy Mayor of Taipei City (2010–2013)
- Chen Xiao, actor and model
- Chen Xiaohong, economist
- Chen Xiaowang, 19th generation lineage holder of Chen-style taijiquan
- Chen Xiaoxu (1965–2007), Chinese actress
- Chen Yi (communist) (1901–1972), Chinese communist military commander and politician, Mayor of Shanghai and Foreign Minister
- Chen Yi (composer) (born 1953), Chinese violinist and composer
- Chen Yi (Kuomintang) (1883–1950), Chief Executive of Taiwan Province
- Chen Yinke, historian
- Chen Yonglin, Chinese communist diplomat who defected to Australia in 2005
- Chen Yu (badminton) (born 1980), Chinese badminton player
- Chen Yuan (historian)
- Chen Yuan, economist
- Chen Yuh-chang (born 1955), Deputy Mayor of Taipei City (2006)
- Chen Yumei (1910–1985), Chinese film actress and singer
- Chen Yun, politician, in the 1980s and 1990s considered 2nd most powerful leader after Deng Xiaoping
- Chen Yunshang (1919–2016), Chinese film actress and singer
- Chen Yuqi (also known as Yukee Chen, born 1992), Chinese actress
- Chen Zaiyan (born 1971), artist in the Yangjiang Group collective
- Chen Zhi, Chinese guitar teacher and promoter
- Chen Zhu (born 1953), Chinese hematologist, molecular biologist, and politician, former Minister of Health
- Arthur Chin (1913–1997), Chinese-American fighter ace in the Second Sino-Japanese War, recognized as the United States' first ace in World War II
- Ming Chin (born 1942), Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
- Chin Peng (1924–2013), longtime leader of the Malayan Communist Party
- Chin Sophonpanich (1908–1988), Thai entrepreneur who founded Bangkok Bank
- Chatri Sophonpanich (1934–2018), Thai businessman, son of Chin Sophonpanich
- Chartsiri Sophonpanich (1959), Thai banker, son of Chatri Sophonpanich, grandson of Chin Sophonpanich
- Vincent "Randy" Chin (1937–2003), Jamaican record producer and label owner, founder of VP Records
- Anthony Tan (Chen Bingyao, 陈炳耀), co-founder and CEO of Grab Inc.
- Desmond Tan (Chen Jiongjiang, 陳泂江) (born 19 August 1986), Singaporean actor
- Julie Tan (Chen Xinqi, 陈欣淇) (born 22 September 1992), Malaysian born Singaporean actress and model.
- Lucio Tan (陈永栽) (born 1934), Filipino-Chinese businessman and owner of Philippine Airlines
- Michael Tan, a Chinese Filipino medical anthropologist and the 10th Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Diliman
- Romeo Tan (Chen Luomiou, 陈罗密欧) (born 9 April 1985), Singaporean actor
- Sandi Tan (born 1972), Singaporean filmmaker and critic
- Tan Boon Teik (陈文德) (1929–2012), former Attorney-General of Singapore
- Tan Cheng Bock (陈清木) (born 1940), Singaporean politician and doctor
- Tan Cheng Lock (1883–1960), founder of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and an important figure during the independence of Malaya
- Tan Kah Kee (陈嘉庚) (1874–1961), Chinese businessman, community leader and philanthropist in colonial Singapore and China
- Tan Khoen Swie (1883/1894–1953), Indonesian publisher
- Min-Liang Tan (Chen Minliang, 陈民亮) (born 1977), Singaporean entrepreneur and philanthropist, founder and CEO of Razer Inc.
- Tan Siew Sin, a Malaysian politician
- Tony Tan (陈庆炎) (born 1940), seventh President of Singapore
- Tony Tan-Caktiong (陳覺中), a Chinese Filipino businessman
- Tan Chor Jin (陈楚仁 chén chǔrén), Ang Soon Tong gang member who was executed in 2009 for the 2006 murder of Lim Hock Soon in Singapore
- Tan Mui Choo (陈梅珠; Chén Méizhū), also known as Catherine Tan Mui Choo, a convicted murderer in Singapore
- Chen-style taijiquan
- Tran (surname), 2nd most common Vietnamese surname, the Vietnamese spelling of 陈
- Chen (disambiguation)
- Chen Commandery
The Hebrew surname חן is also spelled Chen.
- Charlie Chan, a fictional detective
- Chen, a character in the British science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf
- Chan Ho-nam, the fictitious Hong Kong triad boss in the Young and Dangerous film series
- Chen Jialuo, protagonist of the Wuxia novel The Book and the Sword
- Detective Grace Chen, a central character in Martial Law
- Chen, the Holy Knight, a character in the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos custom map Defense of the Ancients
- Chen Stormstout, an important character in the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as well as playable hero in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and Heroes of the Storm
- Chen Zhen, a fictional Chinese martial artist and culture hero
- Jing-Mei Chen, a Chinese-American physician in the television drama series ER
- The Untamed (陈情令 Chen Qingling)
- Kai Chen, a character from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.
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