Ye (surname)

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葉姓 - 楷体.svg

Yip (Cantonese)
Yap (Hakka, Hokkien)

Diệp (Vietnamese)
Language(s)Chinese, Vietnamese
Language(s)Old Chinese
Word/nameCity of Ye, State of Chu
Other names
Variant form(s)Yeh, Yip, Ip, Yap, Yapp, Yeap, Yiapp

Ye is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname written in traditional character and in simplified character. It is listed 257th in the Song dynasty classic text Hundred Family Surnames,[1] and is the 43rd most common surname in China, with a population of 5.8 million as of 2008 and 2019.[2][3]

Ye is also romanized Yeh in Wade-Giles; Yip, Ip, and Jip in Cantonese; Iap, Yap, Yapp, Yiapp and Yeap in Hakka and Minnan.[4]


In Middle Chinese, Ye () was pronounced Sjep (IPA: [ɕiɛp]). As late as the 11th-century Guangyun Dictionary, it was a homophone of other characters that are pronounced shè in modern Mandarin and sip in modern Cantonese.[5]


As of 2008, Ye is the 43rd most common surname in Mainland China, with a population of 5.8 million.[2] It is the 22nd most common surname on Taiwan as of 2005.


Ye means "leaf" in modern Chinese, but the name arose as a lineage name referring to the city of Ye (in modern Ye County, Henan) in the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China.[6]

According to Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, Yuxiong, a descendant of the Yellow Emperor and his grandson Zhuanxu, was the teacher of King Wen of Zhou. After the Zhou overthrew the Shang Dynasty, King Cheng of Zhou (reigned 1042-1021 BC) awarded Yuxiong's great-grandson Xiong Yi the fiefdom of Chu, which over the ensuing centuries developed into a major kingdom. King Zhuang of Chu (reigned 613-591 BC) was one of the Five Hegemons, the most powerful monarchs during the Spring and Autumn period.[7]

In 506 BC the State of Wu invaded Chu with an army commanded by King Helü, Wu Zixu and Sun Tzu. Shen Yin Shu, a great-grandson of King Zhuang and the Chu field marshal, was killed in the aftermath of the Battle of Boju.[8][9]

After the war King Zhao of Chu enfeoffed Shen Yin Shu's son Shen Zhuliang with the key frontier city of Ye, in gratitude for his father's sacrifice. Shen Zhuliang subsequently put down the rebellion of Sheng, Duke of Bai, in 478 BC and restored King Hui as ruler of Chu. King Hui then granted him the titles of prime minister, marshal, and Duke of Ye (葉公).[6]

In Zhou Dynasty China, noble families usually had two surnames: clan name () and lineage name (). Shen Zhuliang, from a cadet branch of the ruling house of Chu, shared the clan name of Mi () of the Chu kings. He also inherited the lineage name of Shen from his father, but his fame led some of his descendants to adopt Ye as their lineage name. Later the distinction between the clan and lineage names was abolished, and Ye became the surname of Shen Zhuliang's descendants. Shen Zhuliang, now better known as Duke of Ye, is considered the founding ancestor of the Ye surname.[6]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ 百家姓 [Hundred Family Surnames] (in Chinese). Guoxue. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  2. ^ a b 中国最新300大姓排名(2008) [300 most common surnames in China (2008)] (in Chinese). 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Note: Ye is less commonly romanized "Yee" or "Ee", which are normally employed for romanizing the Cantonese pronunciation of the unrelated Chinese surname (Yu).
  5. ^ 廣韻査詢系統/小韻檢索/攝 (in Chinese). Guangyun Net. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  6. ^ a b c "葉姓來源及郡望堂號 Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine." (in Chinese)
  7. ^ Sima Qian. "楚世家 (House of Chu)". Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  8. ^ "沈尹戍 [Shen Yin Shu]" (in Chinese).
  9. ^ "柏舉之戰 (Battle of Boju)" (in Chinese). Ministry of Defense. 22 July 2009. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2011.

External links[edit]


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