Guan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Guān) is a Chinese surname. Guan is 394th in the Hundred Family Surnames.

Guan (关 / 關)
  • Guān (Mandarin)
  • Kwan (Hong Kong and overseas Chinese)
  • Kuan (Macao, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese)
  • Quan (Vietnamese and overseas Chinese)
  • Kwon (Korean)
  • Seki (Japanese)
Language(s)Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese

In Hong Kong, the surname is romanised as Kwan in Cantonese. In Taiwan, the Wade–Giles spelling Kuan is used. In Macao, the surname is as Kuan due to the Portuguese influence.

In many overseas Chinese communities, both spellings, Kuan[1] and Kwan, as well as Quan, are common.

It is also a Vietnamese surname that uses the same character, romanised as Quan.

It is Romanized Kwon in Korean.

It is also a Japanese surname, Seki (Japanese: ), that uses the same character.

The Vietnamese surname, Quan and the Japanese surname, Seki, was derived from the same Chinese character as the Chinese surname (The Japanese Kanji 関 is a Shinjitai of the Chinese character 關).

Origin and timeline

A number of groups in different geographic areas are believed to have shared the surname in history.

  • Guan(关 or 關) - meaning is City Gate, or Close the City Gate - originally name for an official, then became a surname.
  • During the 23rd century BCE, Dongfu (董父) was a descendant of the ruler Shuan (叔安) in Chifeng within the old Rehe Province of the Khitan state. Dongfu married a daughter of Emperor Yao's tribe, using the surname Dong (董), which later became the surname Kwan (關).
  • In 1650 BCE, during the Xia Dynasty, Guan Longfeng (關龍逢) was an officer of Jie of Xia's reign.
  • In 643 BCE, during the Zhou Dynasty, near Mount Xiao within the nation of Jin, the Ji (姬) family used the surname of Dongguan (東關) with region name Dongguan (東關). In China it is common for clans possessing the same surname to live in a village together, with their surname designating the name of the village. Later, the Dongguan (東關) family branched into two surnames: Dǒng (東), and Guan (關). Dongguan Wu (東關五) was an officer of Jin.
  • In 604 BCE, during the Zhou Dynasty, an officer named Yin Xi (尹喜) is reported to have taken the name Guan Yin (關尹) as his name in public office, designating 關 as his surname. Subsequent generations continued to use 關 as their surname.
  • The surname 關 exists among ethnic minorities including the Zhuang people, Mongols, and other various Chinese minorities.
  • Around 1080 CE, the surname 關 arrives in the province of Guangdong at Xinhui, five generations later at Kaiping (Hoiping) in Guangdong province.[1]
  • During the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), the surname 關 has also been founded by the Jurchen people of the Guaerjia.
  • Near the end of the 19th century (1880s), population pressure on the limited arable land in Kaiping county, mainly along the Tan river, induces the rural poor 關 to emigrate overseas, largely (~70%) to North America and rest to Southeast Asia.[1]

Historical figures

Modern people

Japanese people with the surname Seki (関)

Historical figures

  • Seki Takakazu (関 孝和, 1642–1708), mathematician in the Edo period

Notable modern people

  • Tsutomu Seki (関 勉, b. 1930), an astronomer who discovered large numbers of comets and asteroids
  • Tomokazu Seki (関 智一, b. 1972), a voice actor


  1. Woon, Yuen-fong (1984). Social organization in South China, 1911-1949: the case of the Kuan lineage in K'ai-p'ing county. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan. ISBN 0-89264-051-0.
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