Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 01-07-12 20:20
十年窗下無人問,---Shi2 nian2 chuang xia4 wu2 ren2 wen2,
一舉成名天下知.---Yi ju3 cheng2 ming2 tian xia4 zhi.
No one asked about me while I was studying for ten years in this room,
Once I have become famous the whole world knows.
The 18th most common Chinese surname HE 何 (018)
He means: what; when; which; who; why.
The surname He is about 2,200 years old.
Surname He evolved from the surname Han (韓).
The surname He originated in an area referred to during the Han Dynasty
(漢朝206BC to 220AD) as the Lujiang prefecture. The present day location
of Lujiang prefecture is the Lujiang county (廬江縣 117.3 degree East and
31.2 degree North on the world map) of Anhui province (安徽省).
In 1115BC Ji Song (姬誦) was crowned Zhou King Cheng (周成王), the second
King of the Zhou Dynasty (周朝 1134BC to 256BC), who reigned till 1078BC.
In 1106BC Zhou King Cheng delegated authority to his younger brother called
Tang Shuyu (唐叔虞) to rule a district called Jin (晉 present day Yicheng
county 翼城縣 in Shanxi province 山西省). Zhou King Cheng also bestowed
upon his brother the inheritable title of Hou (侯) or Marquis. After Tang
Shuyu his eldest son, Ji Xie (姬燮) succeeded him and inherited the title
Hou and renamed the district of Jin as the State of Jin (晉國).
Ji Xie appointed one of his many sons, Ji Biwan (姬畢萬) to administer a
place called Hanyuan (韓原 in the present day southeast of Hejin county
河津縣 in Shanxi province). Ji Biwan renamed Hanyuan the State of Han (韓
國), which was eventually absorbed by the State of Jin in 757BC. The offspring
of Ji Biwan adopted HAN (韓) as their surname.
In 453BC, one of the descendants of Ji Biwan became a very powerful general
in the Jin Court. His name was Han Qian (韓虔). General Han Qian formed
an alliance with two of the most powerful families in the State of Jin:
the Zhao (趙) family and the Wei (魏) family. Together they plotted and
carved up the State of Jin into three states. They became the State of Zhao
(趙國), the State of Wei (魏國) and the State of Han (韓國). General Han
Qian established his capital in Yangdi (陽翟 present day Yu Xian 禹縣in
However the division of the State of Jin triggered a chaotic situation in
the land. Wars broke out among the States. The historians referred to this
period as the Warring States Period (戰國時代 453BC to 221BC ).
In 403BC, Zhou King Weilie (周威烈王), who reigned from 425BC to 402BC ,
officially recognized the State of Han as a State. In 376BC Han Ai (韓哀
) was installed as the ruler of Han. The following year he conquered and
annexed the State of Zheng (鄭國 present day Xinzheng 新鄭 city in Henan
province 河南省). Han Ai shifted his capital from Yangdi to Xinzheng.
In 238BC, Han An (韓安) became the ruler of Han. The ruler of the State
of Qin (秦國present day Fengxiang county 鳳翔縣 in Shaanxi province 陜西
省) was Ying Zheng (嬴政) who wanted to unite the land into one big empire.
The only way to achieve his ambition was by force. He began to use force
and started to conquer other States.
In 230BC, Ying Zheng ordered one of his generals, Nei Shisheng (內史勝)
to invade Han. Han An surrendered without a fight. The Qin troops occupied
the State of Han and Han An became the prisoner of Qin. The state of Han
was incorporated into the Prefecture of Yingchuan (穎川郡) in the province
Some members of the royal family of Han refused to surrender and fled south.
The Qin authority was going after them. They arrived at the river called
Huaishui (淮水) in Anhui province (安徽省). While they were on the boat
crossing the river to the other side, the soldiers of Qin were checking
the boat passengers. An officer asked the surname of Han Zhen (韓瑊) who
was a member of the Han royal family. It was freezing cold at that time and
Han Zhen was shivering with cold. In order not to reveal his identity Han
Zhen who was either being so afraid or so cold that, with chattering teeth,
he pointed at the river and answered just one word "Han" which sounded like
"He 河" to the officer as the words Han and He had the same pronunciation
in the local dialect. So the Qin officer registered Han Zhen as He Zhen.
Since the mistake had been made Han Zhen now became He Zhen (河瑊). In order
to remember this incident Han Zhen adopted HE (何) as his surname by deleting
the radical three dots or water on the right side of the He and replacing
it by the character Ren (人) which meant man. Ultimately the modified character
became the present day surname He (何). He Zhen settled down in Lujiang
prefecture (廬江郡) in Anhui province (安徽省) where surname He is said
to have originated.
The couplet of surname He is derived by splitting the surname into two radicals
of Ren (人) and Ke (可):
人來人往門庭旺,---Ren2 lai2 ren2 wang3 men2 ting2 wang4,
可喜可歌事業興.---Ke3 xi3 ke3 ge shi4 ye4 xing4.
There are many pedestrians in front of the house,
It is happy and heartening to see a prosperous enterprise.
Famous historical figures of the He clan are:
(1) He Shuheng (何叔衡 1875 to 195)
但把此身高處立,---Dan4 ba3 ci3 shen gao chu3 li4,
一生何日不重陽.---Yi sheng he2 ri4 bu4 chong2 yang2.
I wish I could be standing at a high place,
And this life would be worth living.
He Shuheng was born in 1870AD Ningxiang county (寧鄉縣) in Hunan province
(湖南省). According to Zhang Guotao (張國濤), one of the founders of Chinese
Communist Party (CCP), in his book Wo Di Hui Yi (我的回憶) or my memoir
in chapter 6 volume 1, originally there were thirteen men to attend the
First Congress of the CCP. In the meeting before the First Congress, majority
of the delegates complained that He Shuheng knew nothing about Marxism and
he should not attend the congress. They wanted Zhang Guotao to tell Mao Zedong
(毛澤東) about the decision by the majority of the delegates since Mao Zedong
and He Shuheng came together from Hunan province to attend the congress.
Zhang Guotao told Mao Zedong about the decision made by the delegates. So
Mao Zedong told He Shuheng to carry an important information back to Hunan.
Without He Shuheng, the twelve men attended the First Congress. He Shuheng
was one of Mao Zedong's teachers at First Normal School in Changsha (長沙
) in Hunan province.
On November 7, 1931 the CCP established the Chinese Soviet Republic in Ruijin
(瑞金) in Jangxi province (江西省). He Shuheng was Commissar of Justice
in the Soviet Government. On October 16, 1935 the Long March began. He Shuheng
chose to stay behind to defend the Republic because he was in his middle
sixties. The Soviet Republic was overran by the Kuomintang Army (國民黨軍
) in no time. Ho Shuheng was captured. Seven months later he was smuggled
to Shanghai (上海) and behead.
(2) He Shaoji (何紹基 1799AD to 1873AD)
He Shaoji was born in Daozhou county (道州縣 present day Nandao county 南
道縣in Hunan province 湖南省). He graduated as a scholar during the reign
of Emperor Dao Guang (道光皇帝 1821AD to 1850AD) of the Qing Dynasty (清
朝 1644AD to 1911AD). He was appointed as an official. He wrote many famous
books on herbs. His most two famous books were: 惜道味齋經說 and 說文段注
(3) He Xiangning (何香凝 1880 to 1972)
Xiangning hua4 ji2 chang2 liu2 fang
The paintings of Xiangning will live forever.
He Xiangning was a Chinese revolutionary and feminist. She was one of the
first Chinese women publicly to advocate nationalism, revolution, and female
emancipation, and one of the first to cut her hair short. An active advocate
of links with the communists and Russia, she went to Hong Kong in 1927 when
Chiang Kai-shek broke with the communists, and was an outspoken critic of
his leadership. She returned to Beijing (Peking) in 1949 as head of the
Educated in Hong Kong and Japan, she married fellow revolutionary Liao Zhongkai
(廖仲凱 1877 to 1925) in 1905. Her husband was assassinated in 1925 by the
right wing of the Kuomintang Party (國民堂黨右派).
Posted to Overseas Chinese Forum at asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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