Last name origins & meanings:
- Chinese: from the name of Kang Shu, the eighth son
of Wen Wang, who was granted the state of Wei (see Wei 3) soon
after the founding of the Zhou dynasty in 1122 bc. Many of
his descendants later adopted Kang as their surname. Another source of
the name comes from the Kang Ju tribe, who moved into China from
central Asia during the Han dynasty (206 bc–220
ad), and adopted their tribal name, Kang, as their surname.
- Chinese: variant of Geng 2.
- Korean: there are five Chinese characters for the surname Kang.
Some records indicate that there are as many as one hundred separate
Kang clans, but only four have actually been documented. There is one
Chinese character for each clan. The fifth character is an alternate
character for the smallest of the Kang clans, and is the result of a
scribal error which was introduced in 1908. That segment of the
smaller Kang clan which was labeled with the alternate character still
uses it and recognizes it as the character for their surname. The
largest clan, the Kang family of Chinju, first appears in the
historical record in ad 597. Many members of the largest Kang
clan still live in the area of Chinju of Kyŏngsang Province. The
second Kang clan is centered on Cheju Island. The two smaller Kang
clans have only a few households in all of Korea.
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