If you have been interested in Korean culture after listening to K-POP, one of the things that attracts the most attention is the Korean age. we will let know How to Calculate Your Age in Korea.
Do you have a birthday on the same day as your favorite idol but your ages don’t match? Don’t worry, it has a very simple explanation. Its main difference with the international system is that one year is added to the age, but it is not the only detail to take into account.
If you have ever traveled to Korea or if you are interested in Korean society and culture, you will know that one of the first questions you will be asked is how old you are and you will even be surprised to know the importance of blood type in South Korea with these questions. In Korea, age plays a very important role. Not only because of the mere curiosity of the person who asks you, but because of the way you speak.
Korean is a language that adapts to the age of the person you are talking to. You’re not going to talk the same way to someone older than you.
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In general, if you are the young person to speak, you will be treated as dongsaeng (동생), regardless of gender. If you happen to be the same age, it will be called donggab (동갑) or chinggu () if you are close. However, you will have to address those people in one way or another depending on their age if they are older than you.
People older than you in Korea
- Hyung (형) – A boy will call another hyung when he is older than him
- Noona (누나) – A boy will call a girl noona when she is older than him
- Oppa (오빠) – A girl will call a boy oppa when he is older than her
- Unnie (언니) – A girl will call another unnie when she is older than her
Therefore, do not be surprised if they ask you your age, because indirectly they are also asking you how they should treat you when speaking. However, you may have doubts about what to answer since the Korean age is different from the international age.
How does the Korean age system work?
The basis of the Korean age system is that when a baby is born it is already one year old. Based on international age, until 365 days have passed since birth, you do not reach the first year of life, but in Korea this is not the case. You are already born having a year, but there are more variables to consider.
On January 1, Koreans add one year to their current age. That is, on January 1, 2022, one year was automatically added to the age of people with Korean nationality.
Therefore, it may be the case that a newborn in November, on January 1, turns two years old in Korea. How? When born, that baby will automatically be one year old, but on January 1, it will add a second year of life. However, in the international age system, that same baby will only have a few months to live.
In Korea, age is socially set in such a way that the month and year of birth are not taken into account. All those born in 2001 will be 22 years old in 2022 on January 1. On the other hand, in the international system you will turn 20 years old in the month in which you were born.
However, it is important to note that the Korean age is currently used only at the social level. Administrations and official procedures take into account the international age system since the 60s. Therefore, and giving an example, enlistment in military service in South Korea is based on 28 years as the limit in international age (which is equivalent to 29 years in Korean age and even 30 years in certain cases).
On the other hand, young people already generally use January 1 as the date on which a year is added to their current age. However, older people will continue to look at the lunar calendar, and in addition to adding years when the Korean New Year or Seollal begins. It is based on the Chinese calendar, so beyond age, they will also be fixed in the lunar year.
For example, 2019 was the Year of the Earth Pig and 2020 has been the Year of the Metal Rat. February 12, 2021 was eating the Year of the Metal Ox, and many older people in South Korea were one year old to their age that day.
What is my Korean age?
Calculating your age in Korea is very easy, since you will only have to add one year to your current age. There’s another way to find out what your Korean age is one step further.
[Current year] – [Year of your birth] + 1
It is the same case, but then you will not have any doubt. If you turn 22 of international age in 2022, you will automatically be 23 years old in Korea.
Korean Age Calculator
Use a Korean age calculator to find out your age in Korea. This calculator only takes into account the year, so if you were born at the end of the year, you will have to add one more year to the result.
But watch out for those special cases in which it can be two years too many.
If you see it with an example, you will surely understand it better. Imagine that you were born on June 5, 2000.
- On January 1, 2022, you will be 21 years old of international age.
- On June 5, 2022 you will turn 22 years of international age
- On January 1, 2023, you will be 22 years old of international age.
- January 1, 2022 will be 23 years old in Korean age – Because in Korea, on June 5, 2000 you turned 1 year old and on January 1, 2001 you turned 2 years old.
- On June 5, 2022 you will be 23 years old in Korean age
- On January 1, 2023 you will turn 24 years old in Korean age