O (surname)

  (Redirected from Oh (Korean surname))

O or Oh, is a family name in Korea. It is written using the same Hanja character as the Chinese family name, Wu. According to the 2015 census in South Korea, there were 763,281 people carrying the O surname.[1]

Revised RomanizationO


O also spelled Oh (Hangul: ) is the Korean form of the Chinese surname Wu (Hanja: ). The character 吳 is phonetically pronounced "Oh" in Korean, but "Wu" in Mandarin Chinese, however the historic origin of the surname is the same.

The name originates from the ancient state of Wu in present-day province of Jiangsu. Wu (, , "Oh" or "O" romanization) is the sixth name listed in the Song Dynasty classic Hundred Family Surnames.

In the 13th century BC, the state of Zhou (which will later become the Zhou Dynasty) was ruled by Tai Wang (King Tai of Zhou). His surname was originally Ji (). He had three sons: Taibo, Zhongyong, and Jili. King Tai of Zhou favored the youngest son, Jili to inherit the reins of power, therefore Taibo and his brother Zhongyong voluntarily left Zhou with a group of followers and headed southeast where they established the state of Wu. Taibo and Zhongyong's descendants eventually adopted Wu () as their surname.[2][3] The state of Wu, which later claimed to be a kingdom of its own, was best known for its military prowess as Sun Tzu, the author of the famed book The Art of War, was the country's general serving under King Helü of Wu. Wu is also generally attributed to developing the first Chinese Navy. This Navy was quite complex and had different classes of ships. These "classes" of ships were the great wing (da yi), the little wing (xiao yi), the stomach striker (tu wei), the castle ship (lou chuan), and the bridge ship (qiao chuan). These were listed in the Yuejueshu (Lost Records of the State of Yue) as a written dialogue between King Helü of Wu (r. 514 BC–496 BC) and Wu Zixu (526 BC–484 BC) in which the latter stated:

Nowadays in training naval forces we use the tactics of land forces for the best effect. Thus great wing ships correspond to the army's heavy chariots, little wing ships to light chariots, stomach strikers to battering rams, castle ships to mobile assault towers, and bridge ships to light cavalry.

King Helu of Wu is considered to be one of the Five Hegemons of China during the Spring and Autumn period.

Taibo and Zhongyong's youngest brother Jili stayed to rule the Zhou state and was the grandfather of Wu Wang (King Wu of Zhou) who started the Zhou Dynasty after successfully overthrowing the Shang Dynasty. The descendants of Wu Wang eventually changed their surname from Ji () to Zhou () during the Qin Dynasty to commemorate the merits and virtues of their ancestors.

Therefore, the last names Wu (, "Oh" in Korean), Zhou (,"Chou"), and Ji (, "Chi" - original surname of the Zhou Dynasty's royals) are historically related.[4][5]

Wu Ch'om (Hangul:오첨, Hanja:呉膺), a 45th generation descendant of the famed Chinese general and strategist Wu Qi, migrated to Korea from China during the reign of Shilla's King Jijeung (500-514 AD). He is the ancestor of all 16 Korean "Oh" clans.[6] His direct descendant, Oh Da-ryeon (Hangul:오다련, Hanja:呉多憐) was the magistrate of the province of Naju and helped Taejo of Goryeo to establish the Goryeo Dynasty and was the father of Queen Janghwa of Goryeo.[7] Queen Janghwa gave birth to King Hyejong of Goryeo who was the second king of Goryeo.[8]

The O (or Oh) family of North Korea is a North Korean family whose members have been considered close to the ruling Kim family over several generations because of O Jung-hup, who was a revolutionary fighter closely associated with Kim Il-sung. They are regarded as being highly influential in the North Korean regime and second only to the Kim's.[9]


During both the 1990 and year 2000 US Censuses, fewer than 100 people in the United States had the name O, but Oh was ranked as the 3,508th most common surname in 1990 and the 2,477th most common surname in 2000.[10] Using a single-letter surname may cause various bureaucratic and social difficulties, as many computer programs cannot deal with such names because they are designed to require a minimum of two or three letters, while people may assume that a single letter is only an abbreviation rather than the complete surname; in 1991, The New York Times wrote an article about one Korean American man surnamed O who ended up changing the spelling of his name to Oh to get around these problems.[11]

List of persons with the surnameEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2015년 인구주택총조사 전수집계결과 보도자료" [Results of the 2015 Census of Population and Housing survey]. Korean Statistical Information Service. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Wu Name Meaning & Wu Family History at". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  3. ^ "People's Daily Online - History of Chinese surname Wu". English.peopledaily.com.cn. 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  4. ^ "People's Daily Online - Chinese Zhou surname history". English.people.com.cn. 2005-06-17. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  5. ^ "Oh Name Meaning & Oh Family History at". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  6. ^ "Oh: Name Origins and Name Meanings, What Does My Name Mean". Genealogy.familyeducation.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of Korean Culture 장화왕후 莊和王后. Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  8. ^ 김성회의 뿌리를 찾아서 〈59〉 오씨(呉氏)、해주오씨. Segye Ilbo. 2013-10-15. Archived from the original on 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2017-02-16.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ Choi, Song Min. "Thae Yong Ho's defection in the context of the O family legacy". www.dailynk.com. Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  10. ^ US Census Bureau. Op. cit. Public Broadcasting Service. "How Popular Is Your Last Name?" Accessed 6 Apr 2012.
  11. ^ "Why, O Why, Doesn't That Name Compute?". The New York Times. 1991-08-28. Retrieved 2014-02-27.