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Should South Korea Say Goodbye To Its “Korean Age” System?

Chance Dorland
Written by Chance Dorland

How old are you? Depending on which country you’re in, the answer might be different, & while South Korean civil law has counted age from a person’s date of birth since 1962, the continuing presence of the system commonly referred to as “Korean age” often leads to confusion, & many are now asking if the system should go away entirely. Korea FM‘s Chance Dorland spoke with Korean Studies professors Ingyu Oh & Michael Hurt to learn how “Korean age” is calculated & the arguments being made to keep, or remove, the system.

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 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.








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About the author

Chance Dorland

Chance Dorland

Chance is an American journalist and radio enthusiast from a 1,000 person town in Iowa. After studying radio journalism and media communication at Emerson College in Boston, he's lived in NYC, LA, Germany, Colombia and his adopted home of South Korea. Chance has a diverse background of experiences after working for Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla, OutQ News and SiriusXM Radio. He recently served in the U.S. Peace Corps where he taught English and hosted a bilingual radio program. You can find more of his projects at http://ChanceDorland.com.

  • Christian

    Short answer: ‘No.’

  • Christian

    Btw., I heard a total different story why in Korea, it is start counting age with one: Korea and China didn’t had the “zero” when the system was introduced! I think in the 8th century, something like the “zero” came to China. I am sure the age system in Korea and China is much older.

    • ano nymous

      the concept of zero originated from china, and the actual script “zero” came from India.

      Even in American system, there is no such thing as “0 years old” It usually goes by the amount of time ticked off since birth, and that will be at least millisecond range if you are extremely critical about it.

      So when you have a baby that’s 10 days old, it’s 10 days old!
      When you have a baby that’s 6 months old, it’s 6 months old!
      Not 0 years old.

  • ano nymous

    We all know Solar year system is way more accurate than Lunar year system. Just get rid of these antiquated systems already, seriously.

    Korea seriously need to be more scientific and linger less in antiquated tradition that most people don’t even understand. Just get rid of things that doesn’t make sense and people will start questioning more of things that doesn’t make sense, hence advance the science.

  • Charles Page

    How about Americans mind there own business? You see a lot of things that Americans do the rest of the world doesn’t but you don’t see other telling Americans what to do. For example, the way Americans weigh and measure things. It is completely inaccurate form of measuring and weighing that no other country in the world uses. Talk about stupid. Americans have no respect for other cultures. Mind your own business because you wouldn’t appreciate ither countries telling your country they should things their way and that you’re wrong would you? Exactly, so mind your own business.

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