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Goodbye: Confusing Age Systems

1st sunrise of 2017 at Haeundae Beach, Busan. The day when all South Koreans got one year older based on the Korean age systems. Photograph: Ledi angraeni
It's official - starting June 2023, all South Koreans will be one or even two years younger.

Currently, South Korea recognizes three age systems. They are:

Korean Age System

Newborns are automatically 1-year old and will gain another one year every first day of each year. With this, a person born on December 31st will be 2 years old on the next day (January 1st)

Counting System

International System

But, why is the age system important though?

Most Asian people might agree that they have a strong-rooted age hierarchy to determine how they should behave or deal with a particular group of age - this applies to all of their daily aspects (family, work, education, etc.)

As promised by the newly elected President: Yoon Suk-Yeol, the age system will be standardised, which means the traditional Korean Age systems will be abolished. The goal of this change is to minimize unnecessary socio-economic costs due to the different calculations of the legal and social age.

Some people might be put into an awkward situation where they suddenly become "friends" of the same age as their "hyungs"

or "eonnies". Well, hopefully, they can get used to that or if that's too hard, they can agree to use the old system at least within that particular social circle.

Lastly, for us; foreigners, of course, this will get rid of all the confusion we had and we can comfortably put ourselves in Korean society.


Written and layout By: Ledi Angraeni M.

©Social Media Team, All rights reserved.

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khadija Naveed
khadija Naveed
Feb 10, 2023


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