[Ask Hyojin ] What is “Korean age”?

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Did you know that you are at least one year older in Korea?
Korea has a different age counting system and according to the “Korean age,” you become one or two year older in Korea.

In this Ask Hyojin episode, Hyojin and our special guest, Keith, explain how it works and how to calculate your Korean age.



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  • dhscsa

    I understand the Korean aging system fine. I have one question though. If a foreigner in Korea asks someone there age, do they reply with the Korean age or the international age?

  • cmlal

    In korea, if two people have the exact same birthday (same month same day same year), how do they address each other?

    • m

      you mean like twins? I’m not Korean, but Vietnamese, but we have a kinship system that’s sort of similar to Korean, and in my culture, the younger twin calls the older twin “chi” (aka eonni/noona in Korean) or “anh” (aka oppa/hyung in Korean)

  • Brendan Klos

    how do you say 88 years old in Korean Language in all different forms.

  • budakbaik92

    im not a korean, but i think i might understand a little bit. (and i might be wrong too)

    A was born in January 1992, means his korean age (in 2015), is 24.
    B was born in May 1992, means his korean age is also 24.
    so, A and B are friends (supposedly).

    but since chinese lunar year is on 19/02/2015, hence A will add another extra one year, which makes him 25 in 2015. and B still 24 years old. so, A is considered as “hyung/hyeong” because, he is 2 years gap older than B. (though both are 23 internationally)

    from my understanding, korean doesn’t only ‘celebrate’ New Year on 1st January only but also Chinese New Year (early February). and every new year (both), the age will be added 1. that’s why i think people in korea who are born in January or early February (before the CNY), is 2 year older than their peers of the same year because they will add 1 for new year and another 1 for CNY.
    (e.g EXO Kai and Exo Sehun)

    sorry if i’m wrong…

    • Yuki

      Nope you’re not wrong. This is what i believe since forever after a few observation and comparison xD

    • lauradeth

      Korean’s are born 1 years old, use this as a starting point. Then you add one year at the start of a New Year, (Jan 1st). There’s only about a month difference between New Year and the Lunar year, so for those born after Early February, it really makes no difference.

      Simply – before your birthday, your Korean age is your Western age plus two; after your birthday, it is your Western age plus one.

      Early birthdays are considered before March – when the Korean academic year starts.

      I’ll explain best I can using my birthday, my friend’s.

      I was born 26th February 1990. My Int age is 26 (2016), my Korean age is 27. Now, when New Year arrives (1st Jan 2017) my Korean age will once again go up, making me 28 years old, making me two years older, then when my birthday arrives, the gap will decrease to 1 year.

      My friend was born 20th September 1989. His int age is 26 (2016) and his Korean age is 28. When his birthday arrives he’ll be 27 years old but his Korean age will stay the same, so the gap will reduce to 1 year. However, 3 months later it’s a New Year (2017), and once again, his Korean age will go up. His inl age will now be 27 and his Korean age will be 29.

      As for the same-age friends but born different years. This is due to the early birthdays. We’re classed as same-age friends because I was born before March 1990 (called an early 90ner), and he was born after February 1989. So if I was Korean, I would have entered the school year with those born after February 1889.

      So basically, those born after February call friends born before March, hyung, noona etc, because they were born “early” and entered school a year earlier, making them a senior, despite being born in the same year.