Kan (surname)

Kan is a surname of multiple origins.

Language(s)Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien), Dutch, Japanese, Korean, and others


As a Chinese surname, Kan may be a spelling of the pronunciation in different varieties of Chinese of the following surnames, listed based on their Pinyin spelling (which reflects the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation):[1]

The Dutch surname Kan originated both as an occupational surname for a potter or pewterer (from Middle Dutch kan, 'tankard', 'flagon', 'pitcher'), and as a reduced form of van de Kan, possibly a toponymic surname referring to De Kan in Veurne.[2]

As a Japanese surname, Kan may be written using multiple kanji (e.g. , ).[3]

As a Jewish surname, Kan is one of many variants of Cohen.[4]

As a Korean surname, Kan is the Yale Romanization and McCune–Reischauer spelling of the uncommon surname spelled in the Revised Romanization as Gan (Korean; Hanja). The hanja for this surname is same one which is used to write the Chinese surname Jiǎn mentioned above.[5][6] Additionally, Kan may be a transcription of the common Korean surname Kang (Korean: ; Hanja: , , ) via the Kontsevich system spelling in the Cyrillic alphabet (Кан).[7] This spelling can be found among ethnic Koreans from the former Soviet Union (Koryo-saram and Sakhalin Koreans).[8]


According to statistics cited by Patrick Hanks, 715 people on the island of Great Britain and five on the island of Ireland bore the surname Gan as of 2011. In 1881 there had been seven people in Great Britain with the surname Kan, primarily at Middlesex.[1]

The 2010 United States Census found 3,005 people with the surname Kan, making it the 10,647th-most-common name in the country. This represented an increase from 2,705 (10,816th most-common) in the 2000 Census. In both censuses, about four-fifths of the bearers of the surname identified as Asian, and one-tenth as White.[9] It was the 453rd-most-common surname among respondents to the 2000 Census who identified as Asian.[10]

People with this nameEdit

Surname 闞 (阚)Edit

  • Kan Qingzi (阚清子; born 1988), Chinese actress
  • Kan Xuan (阚萱; born 1972), Chinese visual artist
  • Kan Ze (闞澤; died 243), official of the state of Eastern Wu

Surname 菅Edit

  • Kazunori Kan (菅 和範; born 1985), Japanese football midfielder
  • Naoto Kan (菅 直人; born 1946), Japanese Prime Minister
  • Nobuko Kan (菅 伸子, born 1945), Japanese writer

Surname 簡Edit

  • Billy Kan (簡志堅; born c. 1951), Hong Kong billionaire businessman
  • Brian Kan (簡炳墀; born 1937), Hong Kong horse trainer
  • Kan Fook-yee (簡福飴; born 1936), Hong Kong surveyor
  • Hok Hoei Kan (簡福輝; 1881–1951), Dutch East Indies landowner
  • Masayoshi Kan (簡 優好; born 1972), Japanese sprinter
  • Kan Mi-youn (간미연; 簡美妍; born 1982), South Korean singer
  • Raymond Kan (簡日淦; born 1932), Hong Kong architect
  • Kan Ting Chiu (简廷照; born 1946), Singaporean judge
  • Victor Kan (簡華捷; born 1941), Hong Kong martial artist
  • Willy Kan (簡慧榆; 1978–1999), Hong Kong jockey
  • Kan Yuet-keung (簡悅強), Hong Kong banker
  • Yuet Wai Kan (簡悅威; born 1946), Hong Kong-born American medical scientist


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Coates, Richard; McClure, Peter, eds. (2016). The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press. p. 1433. ISBN 9780192527479.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ Hankes, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 1433, entries #9 and 10
  3. ^ Breen, Jim. "かん". Japanese Names (ENAMDICT). Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  4. ^ Hankes, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 1433, entry #7
  5. ^ "가평간씨(加平簡氏)" [Gapyeong Gan clan]. Saemangeum Ilbo. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. ^ "가평간씨(加平簡氏)" [Gapyeong Gan clan]. Academy of Korean Studies. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  7. ^ Куротченко, К. Б.; Леонов, М. В.; Швецов, Ю. И. (2005). Корейский язык: Учебное пособие. Москва. p. 73.
  8. ^ Kho, Songmoo (1987). "Koreans in Soviet Central Asia". 61. Finnish Oriental Society: 52. Retrieved 7 November 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ "How common is your last name?". Newsday. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Most common last names for Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S." Mongabay. Retrieved 8 January 2018.