SyneRyder - who am i?

About my name: Kohan

My parents came up with the name Kohan in a search for something unique. My family has a history of unique names.

One of my family's friends used to publish work under the pen name Kohan, and that's where my parents chose my name from. Occasionally people think that my own name is a pen name or pseudonym, but it isn't. I wasn't named after the doctor who delivered me either (Dr Cohen), the similarity in name is coincidental.

Nationality of the name

I don't know the original nationality of the name Kohan. Sources have suggested that it is Jewish, Scandinavian, Persian or even Polish. There's some evidence for it as an Aboriginal word. Some people believe it is derived from the name Kohannes and comes from the Vikings, but I've found no evidence of this. As for my own nationality, I was born in Australia to Australian parents, but my lineage traces back to England, Scotland, Ireland, America, Germany and Czechoslovakia.

Meaning of the name

There are a lot of references to Kohan as a Jewish term. Apparently a Kohan is "a descendent of the priestly Tribes, a direct descendent of Aaron", and they were the priests who enacted rituals in the Temples of Jerusalem. To my knowledge I am not a descendent, however.

In Polish, there are two words similar to Kohan: kochany and kochanek (the c is pronounced almost silently). Kochany means "dear / beloved", while kochanek means "lover". So I suppose you could infer that Kohan as a language base means "love". Awwww, how sappy.

Kohan is also a word in the Persian language Farsi, meaning "ancient". That definition inspired the video game Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns released in 2001. In the game, the Kohan are a race of immortal kings. I have a copy of the game but haven't played it much. There were also two sequels to the game. I used to be the top result on Google for the word 'Kohan' until those games came out! Grrr...

Ash in Melbourne, Australia discovered that Kohan is one spelling for the Aboriginal name for a place near Queanbeyan in New South Wales, also known as The Swamp (according to the book Aboriginal Placenames by Harold Koch). It is possible that the 'Quean' in Queanbeyan may actually be another pronunciation / spelling of Kohan.

While not identical to my name, Koan is a buddhist term for "a story or verse that presents basic lessons about life and the nature of the self". Also, there was a Zen Buddhist teacher named Kohan Kokan who lived 1776-1843.

An anonymous writer has suggested that Kohan means "ruler" in Mandarin. Apparently the name of Genghis Khan in Mandarin is "Tian Ko Han", which means "universal ruler". I haven't found other evidence to support this theory, however.

Pronunciation of the name

I prefer to pronounce my name as kōhwěn (using the American Heritage Dictionary Pronunciation Key). It's more like Cohwhen than Ko-hahn. But I don't mind too much if you pronounce it incorrectly. If people have trouble pronouncing my name, I sometimes suggest they call me Colin, which sounds very similar. That's also what I call myself whenever I buy a coffee at Starbucks, because otherwise they never get my name right. Actually, Starbucks never get my name right anyway:

It doesn't
    matter how many times you say your name as Colin, Starbucks will never
    ever get it right.

Famous Kohans

The Kohan family is famous in television: Buz Kohan was a writer for The Carol Burnett Show, while his son David Kohan was the co-creator of Will & Grace, and his daughter Jenji Kohan is the creator of the hit TV shows Weeds and Orange Is The New Black (she's also written for Sex & The City, Gilmore Girls and Mad About You).

Trivia about the name Kohan

Kohan is much more common as a surname. Occasionally I'm contacted by other people who share the name (and who probably read this page!) For a while I corresponded with Mauricio Kohan, who lives in Santiago.

I have heard just about every Kohan the Barbarian or Kohan the Librarian joke you care to think of. I'm not as muscular as Arnold Schwarzenegger, though I have joined a gym and I do have a personal trainer....

Koan is also the name of a computer program that generates ambient electronic music. It is a favourite program of Brian Eno, the producer of U2. I have played with the program a little, but I only ever wrote one instrumental composition using the program and I have subsequently lost the recordings I made.

The Kabalarians have an analysis of the type of character the name Kohan lends itself to. I think it's some kind of numerology analysis, so I don't put much trust in it, but the similarity to my character is a bit spooky. Sadly it looks like their free analysis page has been taken down.

Pakistan Handbook by Dave Winter says that Kohan is a small town in Pakistan "consisting only of a few houses and a check post". You'll find it on the RCD Highway, south from Khuzdar, apparently.

The Baby Name Countdown 5th Edition: The Definitive Baby Name Book by Janet Schwegel includes the name Kohan on page 387 under the heading "Popular and Unusual Names". I'm sure Kohan comes under the "unusual" category.