Surname Han has five origins:
The first branch of Han families were originally surnamed Ji. Later they took the name of their state Han as their surname, with Tang Shuyu as their ancestor. Han Jue, the great grandson of Jiwan, the first king of Kingdom Han, changed his surname from Ji to Han, the name of the feudal estate. Another Kingdom Han was established by the grandson of the 7th generation of Huan Jue and was later eliminated by Kingdom Qin in 230 B.C. Thereafter, descendants of its royal family took their state name Han as their surname, living mainly in Yingchuan.
People of the second branch of Han families were descendants of Tang Shuyu, the starter of Kingdom Jin in the Zhou Dynasty. Biwan, an offspring of Shuyu’s son, was once bestowed a land named Hanyuan. Descendants of Biwan took the name of the feudal estate Han as their surname.
The third branch of Han families took their surname from Kingdom Han of the Warring States Period. The starter of Kingdom Han was Qian, a descendant of Han Wuzi, a minister of Kingdom Jin in the Spring and Autumn period. After Han had been eliminated by Kingdom Qin, offspring of the royal family took the name of the state Han as their surname.
People of the fourth branch of Han families were originally minorities surnamed “Dahan”. They changed it into Han for the similarity in pronunciation in a political reform carried out in the Northern Wei Dynasty by Emperor Xiaowen, aiming to learn from the Chinese of the central land.
The fifth branch of Han families took their surname Han after Hanjing, a descent of Yellow Emperor. Hanjing was said to achieve immortality in the time of Emperor Yao. Thereafter, his descendants took Han as the surname.
Hanfei: the great master of legalism
Hanfei (? - 233 B.C.), a great thinker and master of legalism of the late Warring States Period, was born in an aristocrat family of Kingdom Han. Aspiring as he was, his proposals of governing the state with legal reform were not taken by the king. Disappointed, he turned to writing, turning out works of more than 100,000 words including masterpieces of On Difficulty, Alone with Grief, Five Moths and others. These works combined opinions of the law, the strategy and the power together, enriching greatly the theory connotations of the Legalists.
Hanyu: the literary ancestor of generations
Hanyu, the honored “literary ancestor of generations”, was born in 768 A.D. in the Han Village of Mengxian County, Henan Province.
It was in literature that his greatest contribution was made. For his refined poem and prose, Hanyu ranked No.1 among the eight greatest litterateurs in the Tang and the Song Dynasties. He composed in his life many political essays, tittle-tattles, memorial essays, epitaphs, etc. in the form of prose, including masterpieces like Probing into Rumors, Probing into Dao, On Teachers, On Study, Elegiac for Shier Lang, and Elegiac for Liu Zihou. These essays spread all over China for their sound arguments, sincerity and the unrestrained passion. He was considered as talented as the great poet Dufu even when he was still alive, being admired for essays just as Dufu for poems.
Poems of Hanyu were of unusual ingenuity, too, with a prominent characteristic of being unique, fantastic in the form of essays.
Hanyu started and led the Ancient Prose Renaissance Campaign in the Tang Dynasty which was significant in the history of Chinese literature. He called for a revival of the free style prose like those ancient classics. He accelerated this campaign by stating his theoretical opinions systematically and by organizing a team made up of many scholars who composed lots of prose of the ancient free style and broke the autarchy of pianwen, a kind of rhythmical prose characterized by parallelism and ornaments.