Ji (surname 吉)

is the Mandarin pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname written in Chinese character. It is romanized as Chi in Wade–Giles, and Gat in Cantonese.[1] Ji is the 195th most common surname in China, with a population of 490,000. It is listed 190th in the Song dynasty classic text Hundred Family Surnames.[2]

Ji (吉)
PronunciationJí (Mandarin)
Gat (Cantonese)
Language(s)Old Chinese
Other names
Variant form(s)Chi, Kat, Gil (Korean)


As of 2008, Ji 吉 is the 195th most common surname in China, shared by 490,000 people, or 0.04% of the Chinese population.[3][4] It is concentrated in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanxi, and Hainan, which together account for 50% of the total, including 15% in Jiangsu alone.[4]


According to tradition, there are two main origins of the Ji 吉 surname:

1. From the ancient state of Southern Yan. Bo Tiao (伯儵), said to a descendant of the Yellow Emperor, was enfeoffed at the Southern Yan (in modern Weihui, Henan). Bo Tiao's ancestral name was Ji 姞, and his descendants later dropped the 女 radical from their surname, which became Ji 吉.[4][5]

2. From Xi Jia (兮甲), a top minister of King Xuan of Zhou (reigned 827–782 BC), during the Western Zhou dynasty. He led the Zhou army to defeat the Xianyun tribes of the north and the Dongyi people of the Huai River. His military feat was extolled in several songs collected in the Classic of Poetry. His courtesy name was Jifu (吉甫), and some of his descendants adopted Ji 吉, the main character of his courtesy name, as their surname.[4][5]

A third possible origin was the legendary Jiyi tribe (吉夷氏). Some descendants of the tribe were said to have adopted Ji, the first character of Jiyi, as their surname.[4]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "吉". Zdic. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
  2. ^ "百家姓" [Hundred Family Surnames] (in Chinese). Guoxue. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  3. ^ 中国最新300大姓排名(2008) [300 most common surnames in China (2008)] (in Chinese). Taiwan.cn. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  4. ^ a b c d e 吉姓起源 [Origin of the Ji surname] (in Chinese). Greater China Genealogy. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  5. ^ a b 吉姓起源,名人及家谱 [Origin and famous people of the Ji surname] (in Chinese). Shangdu. 2008-07-17. Archived from the original on 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2014-06-05.