Zhou (surname)

Zhōu is the Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese surname , which ranks as the 10th most common surname in Mainland China as of 2019.[1] In 2013 it was found to be the 10th most common name, shared by 25,200,000 people or 1.900% of the population, with the province with the most being Hunan. Derived from the Zhou dynasty, it has been one of the ten most common surnames in China since the Yuan dynasty. It is the 5th name on the Hundred Family Surnames poem.

Zhou surname in regular script
Pronunciation[ʈʂóʊ] (Mandarin)
[tsɐ́u] (Cantonese)
[tɕiu˦] (Hokkien)
[tsɛ̂] (Wu)
[ɕɯː] (Japanese)
Language(s)Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese
Language(s)Old Chinese
DerivationZhou dynasty
Other names
Variant form(s)Zhou (Mandarin China), Chou (Mandarin Taiwan)
Chow, Chau (Hong Kong)
Chao (Macao)
Chew, Chiu (Hokkien, Teochew)
Châu (Vietnamese)
Joo, Ju (Korean)
Tjeuw, Tjioe, Djioe (Indonesian, Dutch)
Shū (Japanese)

In places which use the Wade–Giles romanization such as Taiwan, Zhou is usually spelled as "Chou" (ㄓㄡ), and it may also be spelled "Chiau", "Chau", "Chao", "Chew", "Chow", "Chiu", "Cho", "Chu", "Jhou", "Jou", "Djou", "Jue", or "Jow". Zhōu can also stand for another, rare Chinese family name, .

The Korean equivalent, "Joo" or "Ju", is a popular surname in Korea. The Vietnamese equivalent is "Châu" or "Chu".


According to historical records, Zhou surname originates from the imperial kinsmen of the Zhou dynasty.[2] The original surname (xing) of the royal Zhou family was Ji (姬). In 256 B.C., the Qin dynasty conquered Zhou and put Rufen under the jurisdiction of Runan County. Ji Yong, a descendant of King Ping of Zhou, which lived on the system of enfeoffment in Rufen, changed his surname to Zhou to commemorate the merits and virtues of his ancestors. The descendants of Emperor Nan of the Zhou Dynasty, who were called the Zhou family after the Zhou Dynasty had been destroyed, also took on the Zhou surname. Since then the Zhou surname has become a common family name in Runan.

During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty, the emperor issued an imperial edict to change the surname Ji[citation needed] to Zhou to avoid the taboo of his personal name.

Non-Han people who adopted the name Zhou include the Helu and Pu surnames of the Xianbei nationality in (the Northern Zhou) and the Xitong and Shuhu surnames of the Mongolian nationality in the Yuan dynasty.

People with the Zhou surname could be found all over the country due to enfeoffment and migration through the ages, especially from out Runan. In general the migration of the Zhou family followed the pattern of "west to east" and "south to north".

Prominent individuals with the surname ZhouEdit

Modern dayEdit

Jay Chou (周杰倫)


Alphabetized by surname, then by given name.


Alphabetized by surname, then by given name.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "新京报 - 好新闻,无止境".
  2. ^ "People's Daily Online -- Chinese Zhou surname history".
  3. ^ "ZHOU Yanfei - Profile". olympics.com. Retrieved 1 September 2021. Her younger sister Zhou Ying has represented the People's Republic of China in Para swimming, and won bronze in the S5 200m freestyle at the 2010 World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

External linksEdit