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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Koihime Musou Girls and Korean Clans, Part XXII: Dong (동/董)


Dong (동/董) or Tong in McCune Script is an uncommon Korean Surname which means 'supervise' in Sino-Korean Language. There is a myth that the person who tamed dragons got the surname Dong. Throughout the history, there have been many records about the origin of surname Dong, which could be traced back to some 4,000 years ago, when Gaoyan Emperor, descendant of Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) ruled. The literal meaning of Dong refers to clover fern, which could be used to make cord. Huilian clan that was good at making cord regarded clover ferns as their totem.

It is said that Dong Fu, the grandson of Huilian was skilled in taming dragons (crocodile). One year, someone presented Shun Emperor with several flood dragons, which needed specially assigned person to raise and train, and the royal court gave this mission to Dong. Dong meticulously tamed these flood dragons and taught them various dances. Shun Emperor was greatly pleased by Dong's efforts and conferred the title of Huanlong and surname Dong to his clan. The offspring Dong took surname Dong ever since. The ancient site of surname Dong was within today's Shanxi province, where dukes ruled during Xia and Shang Dynasties and later State Jin annexed it.

According to historical records compiled in Han Dynasty, another branch of Dong surname originated from title of official, and they were the offspring of Jin Dian, the commander-in-chief of State Jin in Spring and Autumn period.

Back in Korea, there are 5,564 people in 1,731 families who bear the surname of Dong, based on the 2000 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT). Hence, this clan is placed at 127th place in Korean Surnames List. The Gwangcheon Lineage, a clan which is originated from Zaoqiang County, Hengshui City, Hebei Province, PROC is the most dominant among Dong Clan where this lineage consists of 4,130 people in 1,299 families.

Gwangcheon Dong Clan (광천 동씨/廣川董氏) was founded by Dong Zhongshu, also known as Dong Jung-seo in Korean (동중서/董仲舒; 179-104 BCE), a Han Chinese Scholar who traditionally associated with the promotion of Confucianism as the official ideology of the Chinese imperial state of Han Dynasty. The 43rd Generation-Descendant of Dong Zhongshu, Dong Chengxuan/Dong Seung-seon (동승선/董承宣) designated Myeongcheon County in Southern Hamgyeong Province, DPRK as their clan-based village. Dong Seung-seon was a Ming Dynasty Official who lived during the final years of Goryeo Dynasty and the Foundation of Joseon Dynasty, granted a dukedom which is known as Duke of Yeongcheon (영천군/榮川君).