Lin (surname)

Lin (surname)

Lin is a pinyin transcription of one of several Chinese surnames, with 林 (pinyin Lín) being overwhelmingly the most common. The literal meaning of this surname is "forest" or "woods".

The majority of people with this surname are concentrated in the Fujian province of China and Taiwan. Among the overseas Chinese, the surname Lin (also spelled as Lum, Lim or Liem) may be more common than in China because many overseas Chinese have origins in Fujian. This is due to the migrating Fujian Chinese seeking their fortunes particularly in Southeast Asia. In Hong Kong and in Vietnam, the name most often takes the form "Lam". Lin is the 2nd most common surname in Taiwan, with a population of 9% Taiwanese (2.1 million, 2005 estimate), only behind Chen. In mainland China (except Fujian) Lin is less common.

A Korean surname 임 Im (Korean name) is the Korean equivalent of Lin. There are two clan branches of 임, the first being 수풀-림(Supul-Im) and second, 맡길-임(Matgil-Im).

The Vietnamese surname, Lâm, was formerly written using the same Chinese character.

A rare Chinese surname which is also transcribed "Lin" is 藺 (pinyin Lìn).

A Japanese common surname, Hayashi, is written with the same character 林, also meaning "forest", but is not necessarily related to the Chinese surname.

Myth or Historical Fact of Lin Surname?

A popular myth (some say historical fact) states that during the reign of Shang Zhou ("纣王" in Chinese) the last king of Shang dynasty had 3 of his uncles advising him and his administration. The king's uncles were Bi Gan (also spelled Pi Kan), Qi Zi and Wei Zi. Together the 3 men were known as "The Three Kindhearted Men of Shang" in the kingdom.

Bi Gan was the son of Prince Ding, son of Emperor Shang and, thus, was King Zhou's uncle.

Unfortunately, Zhou was a cruel king and his 3 uncles could not persuade him to change his ways. He was a cruel king and the state's citizens suffered tremendously. Failing in their duty to advise the king, Wei Zi resigned. Qi Zi faked insanity and was relieved of his post. Only Bi Gan stayed on to continue advising the king to change his ways. This put him in danger of incurring the king's wrath. Bi Gan stayed at the palace for three days and nights to try to persuade the bloodthirsty and immoral king to mend his ways.

The stubborn king would not relent and had his uncle, Bi Gan, arrested for treason. Upon hearing this, his pregnant wife (surname Chen) escaped into the forest to protect her unborn child from death. She knew, in time, the king would execute Bi Gan and his entire family. In the forest the baby was born. Alone with no one to help, she grabbed hold of two trees and gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Jian. When she reached the nearest town, she gave her child the surname Lin (Chinese character depicted by two trees).

Before long, Shang Zhou was overthrown and killed by Zhou Wu Wang. Zhou Wu Wang knew about the courageous court adviser Bi Gan and sought his wife and child. When he found them, he honoured them in respect to Bi Gan. The mother and child were restored back into the royal family. The new king conferred the surname Lin (meaning woods or forest) on Bi Gan's son, because he was born in some woods.

According to historical records, people who carry the surname Lin are the descendents of Bi Gan, a loyal subject of King Zhou from the Shang Dynasty.

Famous people surnamed Lin

In Chinese tradition, the surname is always stated "before" the given name, though Chinese living in Western countries will often put their surname after their given name.

*Adrian Lam, coach
*Anthony Lam, firefighter
*Lam, Bowie, Hong Kong actor and singer
*Bun-Ching Lam, concert pianist and composer
*Carol Lam, ex-US Attorney
*Chet Lam, singer/songwriter
*Dale Lam, choreographer
*David Lam, Lieutenant Governor
*Derek Lam, fashion designer
*Eman Lam, musician
*George Lam (林子祥), singer
*James Lam, author and consultant
*Karena Lam (林嘉欣), actress
*Lam Bun, radio commentator
*Lam Kor-wan, serial killer
*Pat Lam, rugby player
*Lam Fung (Raymond Lam), Hong Kong actor and singer
*Richard Lam, lyricist
*Lam, Ringo, movie director
*Lam, Sandy (Lam Yik Lin), Hong Kong Cantopop singer
*Sarah Lam, actress
*Stephen Lam, government official
*Tony Lam, politician
*Lam, Wifredo, Cuban artist
*Vivian Lam, princess
*Yin-ling Lam, news broadcaster
*Liem Swie King, Indonesian badminton player
*Lim, Alfredo, Filipino politician
*Lim, Bo Seng, World War II anti-Japanese Resistance fighter who was based in Singapore and Malaya
*Lim, Catherine, Malaysian-born Singaporean author
*Lim Chin Siong, Singaporean trade union leader and politician
*Lim Giong, Taiwanese musician and songwriter and actor
*Lim, Ken, Singaporean record producer and composer
*Lin Biao, Chinese Communist military and political leader
*Lin, Cho-Liang, Taiwanese-American violinist
*Lin Daiyu,a major character in the Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber
*Lin Dan(林丹), a men's singles badminton player, People's Republic of China
*Lin Di, pipa player with Cold Fairyland
*Lin Jun Jie, Singaporean singer and songwriter
*Lin Miao-ke, the child who sang during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games' Opening Ceremony.
*Brigitte Lin, Taiwanese actor
*Lin, Maya, artist and architect
*Moses Lim, TV and movie actor (e.g. Just Follow Law), food gourmet and entrepreneur from Singapore
*Lin Sang, People's Republic of China athlete
*Lin Sen, Republic of China leader
*Lin Shicheng, Shanghai born pipa player
*Lin Xin Ru (Ruby Lin), Taiwanese actress
*Lin Yi Chen (Ariel Lin), Taiwanese actress
*Lin Youren Chinese guqin player
*Lin Yang-kang, Taiwanese politician
*Lin Yutang, Chinese writer
*Lin Zexu, 19th century official and diplomat
*Sudono Salim (Liem Sioe Liong), Indonesian tycoon
*Lin Chi-ling, Taiwanese Model
*Karena Lam, Hong Kong based award-winning actress
*Lim Goh Tong, Malaysian tycoon
*Lim Kit Siang, Malaysian politician, known as Mr. Opposition
*Lim Guan Eng, Malaysian politician, current Chief Minister of Penang (2008-present)
*Lim Chong Eu, retired Malaysian politician
*Nora Lam, Chinese Christian Ministry and the author of "China Cry"
*Lin Hwai-min, choreographer and founder of Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theater
*Lin Yu-fang, a Taiwanese politician


*Lin Chong, character in the novel "The Water Margin" (Shuihu Zhuan).

ee also

*Lam, a Vietnamese surname
*List of common Chinese surnames

External links

* [ Lin Family Tree, Part 1 (Chinese)]
* [ Lin Family Tree, Part 2 (Chinese)]
* []

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