Posted by beansss AKP STAFF Wednesday, June 5, 2019

South Korean government trying to get rid of 'Korean age' and transition into using 'International age'?


According to a media article by 'The Guardian' this week, one South Korean member of parliament recently introduced a bill asking the government to establish 'International age' as the official age definer among Koreans!

As many K-Pop fans know, Koreans use an age system commonly known as 'Korean age' - when babies are born, they are automatically 1-year-old. (i.e. Red Velvet's Yeri, who was born in 1999, is 21-years old in 'Korean age' but 20-years old in 'International age'.)

Reportedly, South Korea is the only country in the world which uses such a system (North Korea started using international age in 1985, sources say), and the above bill was introduced due to reasons such as: 

“The biggest problem is that the legal age and the age used in everyday lives are different... The international age is used in courts, hospitals and public offices, while the Korean age is used in people’s daily lives. The different calculation method causes a lot of confusion and inconvenience.”

Within the general public, it's a common complaint to hear people say "Being in Korea makes me grow older." Many people also complain about Korea's laws regarding the purchase of tobacco and alcohol, as anyone who is legally 19-years old in international age can begin purchasing tobacco or alcohol beginning January 1 in the year that they turn 19. 

While most netizens would say that they want 'International age' to become the defining age in Korea so "I can become one year younger!", some parents do also prefer it, as "Using 'international age' matches children and their physical development stages better, including brain development."

However, arguments against the normalization of 'International age' over 'Korean age' include the dismissal of Korean traditions and culture, as some say it is "breaking with traditional ideas of time based on the lunar calendar", or that “The Korean age system originates from recognizing the time babies spend in their mother’s womb, which is part of traditional culture", and more. 

What do you think about the topic of 'Korean age' vs. 'International age'?

  1. misc.
106 150,623 Share 94% Upvoted


Mich_le375 pts Wednesday, June 5, 2019 19
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

I don't understand their argument about not wanting to dismiss the babies age in the womb? How does it makes sense for a newly born baby to be 1 year old when from time of conception to birth is 10 to 9 months?


19 more replies


Nina14red3,285 pts Wednesday, June 5, 2019 6
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

As someone who has given birth, I would be a bit confused looking at my newborn and viewing them as a 1 year old personally. Korean age does cause quite a bit of confusion though. Not only are you considered 1 year older than you actually are, in some instances you can be 2 years older depending on the time of year you were born. I say just use international age. On the other hand though the reason Korean age even came about is deeply rooted in traditions so I can understand some people's hesitations to do away with it. It makes sense to use international age since it is what goes on official documents anyway.


6 more replies


10 hours ago   50   48,169

allkpop in your Inbox

New Message