English, 日本語

How and why “Korean Age” makes you older than you actually are. 韓国年齢(数え年)について。


When you meet someone for the first time in Korea, the usual mandatory questions are asked such as your name, occupation, hobbies etc. Then there’s age. Especially for foreigners, after asking a Korean their age you usually have to follow up with the question “Is that your Korean age or your International age?”. This seems like a strange question to ask someone you just met so here’s how it works.

  • In Korea, you are born one (1) years old. The time between conception and birth is counted which means you’re ‘zero’ at conception and ‘one’ at birth.
  • In Korea, you increase your age on January 1st of every year, not on your birthday

This doesn’t mean they don’t celebrate on the day of their birth day.  Celebrations are common on their birthdays, but they don’t add another year to their age until the 1st of January. Some Koreans still count their age according to the Lunar calendar. So they won’t use the 1st of January as the day when they get older, but the first day of the lunar new year (which is usually in early February).

This may all sound a bit confusing (and make you feel old) so use the method below from Seoulistic.com to work out your “Korean age”

(This year – Your Birth year) + 1 = Your Korean age

(2012 – 1990) + 1 = 23
(2012 – 1982) + 1 = 31




  • 「満年齢」なら、生まれた時が0歳で、誕生日ごとに年をとります。(日本)
  • 「数え年」では、生まれた時が1歳、元旦が来るたびに年をとるという数え方になります。






(現在の西暦 – 誕生年)+ 1 = 韓国年齢

(2013 – 1990) + 1 = 24
(2013 – 1982) + 1 = 32

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