Waegukin - living and teaching in Korea

Korean age calculator

old korean manAn old Korean man I saw in Jinju.
blue dot
Aug 13 2012

In Korea, everyone is 1 from the time they are born. And everyone gets a year older on New Year’s day. So your Korean age is always either one or two years older than your Western age. And yes, a baby born on New Year’s Eve can be two years old the next day, although in practice people wait awhile before they start talking about somebody’s Korean age.

Working out your Korean age can be tricky. Even more so because Koreans frequently go by the Lunar (Chinese) New Year. And that is when your head starts to hurt. It hurts even more when you try to figure out how to algebraically parse things to make a javascript Korean Age Calculator, but that is what I’ve done. So here it is – put in the relevant information and it will convert your age to Korean years, according to both the Solar and Lunar (Seollal) calendars. Have fun.

Korean age calculator

Enter your current age:
Have already had your birthday this year?

Have you had a birthday since the last Lunar New Year (early February-ish)?

Your age in Korea (Solar calendar): 

Your age in Korea (Lunar calendar):


How to calculate your Korean age (and how this works)

Having spent a good hour and a half thinking about how to calculate your Korean age to make this thing, I can now tell you the easy way to work out your Korean age, which is also how the calculator works.

As you are 1 year old when you are born, and as a new year will inevitably come around before your first birthday, it is impossible to ever catch up to your Korean age. However once a year, on your birthday, you get temporarily closer by one year. So, to put it simply – in a given year, before your birthday, your Korean age is your Western age plus two; after your birthday, it is your Western age plus one.

To calculate your age by the lunar calendar is only slightly more complex; we just need to change “the start of the year” to “the start of the lunar year”. So, go back to the last Lunar New Year and repeat the process. Add two before your birthday, and one afterwards.


As to whether to use the lunar or solar new year, from everything I’ve read and everyone I’ve asked, it’s a matter of personal preference. For most people, it only makes a difference for one month of the year or so – the period between January 1 and the start of the lunar new year. However if you have a January or early February birthday, it makes a difference for the rest of the year. Want to appear mature to the handsome oppa? Go for the higher number. Mourning your lost youth and despairing over the swiftness of time’s passing? You know what to do. Although truthfully in that situation your best bet is to play dumb about the whole Korean age thing. It invariably makes you feel old.

Waegukin wrote these 505 words on August 13th, 2012 | Posted in Culture |


198 comments on “Korean age calculator”

  1. Shiloh says:

    In China, basically if you are turning 12 this year but you are 11, they’d say you are 12 as well. Even if your birthday was Dec 31.

  2. AnitaSleap says:

    This might seem a bit dumb, but when I became a fan of BTS, I thought I was older than all of the members. But the oldest of the group (born about a week after me) was often stated to be one or two years older than me. I thought I was reading things wrong or the translations in interviews were wrong. But I find it fascinating to know it is a cultural thing.

  3. Jason says:

    This does not explain everything about Korean age. It does not say why you start 1 year old when you are born so that people think the Korean age is a bit dumb. The reason why you are 1 year old when you are born is that Korean think you are a living thing when you are even in the womb.

  4. Mizo Park says:

    I’m 19 in korean but here in america i’m 17

  5. Akeno says:

    At first I didn’t understand why your 1 year older but now I kinda understand it. The reason why they go an extra year is because when you count the 9 months your in your mother stomach they count that as a year instead of how other places do it. They say you’ve been alive for 9 months already. At first I didn’t get it but now I kinda do. I don’t know if I like it or not cause in New Zealand I’m 15 but in Korea I’m considered 16 or 17 (depends on the solar and lunar calender). I don’t know if I like being a year or 2 over….It makes me feel kinda old….

  6. Michael says:

    In England horses [well, racehorses at least] are counted as 1-year-olds when born, and their ages all go up by one at the start of the solar year.

  7. Anupriya Malik says:

    I am 18 by Korean calender but actually in India I am 16 years old right now…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t determining someone’s age and shoe sizing just be freakin universal? Why the hell do we complicate everything??!!!!

  9. KayBae says:

    Wow so basically I’m 16 in Korean age but I will soon be 15 and then I’ll be 17. Pretty cool acc

  10. Mohini Ghosh says:

    Wow that means i’m 20 according to korean age

  11. Creativeone says:

    SWEEEET!!! I´ll be 18 in Korea XD

  12. María Teresa says:

    Ok, it might be a cultural thing, and I respect then, but the correct age is the biological age. You are not one year old when you are born, you are just a new born, and will turn one year old after 12 months. Considering koreans think you are a fully human being while still in the womb, abortion must be a serious issue there. As far as I know it is forbideen in most cases.

  13. Lucas says:

    here i am 10 but in Korea i am 12

  14. keyla says:

    So I’m 15 in Korean age but 13 in western YASS, that’s pretty cool

  15. Crystal says:

    Wooow ir i Washington in south korea i be 13❤️

  16. cly says:

    That’s why when they asked for people’s age, they usually go “what year were you born? Instead of “how old are you?”

    But one thing confuse me though;

    On produce 101 when the contestants asked their ages, they were both born on the same year but one said she was born on “b/pareun” then the other started calling her “unnie”. I took it that being on “b/pareun” age made her older.

    But on a skit on SBS heroes Park Jiyeon said she was 7 years old, but Lee Hwi Jae said she is supposed to be 8, and Jiyeon said it was because she was on her “pareun” age. So pareun age made her younger.

    Of course this is all based on my understanding of the subtitle. Is pareun the age base on the Lunar age, discussed here?

  17. Tsubaki says:

    What the hell is this all I
    Want to see if you are 12
    How old will you be is Korean what the hell he’ll
    And is he dead it is a stupid thing but I think he
    Is Dead I don’t know so so I will think ok but all so i won this conversation

  18. Maryam says:

    My birthday is on 24 february 2003, so I’m 16 or 17?

  19. Kayomi_unnie says:

    Im 15 in Korean age ….cool ! I’m 13…

  20. Kayomi_unnie says:

    Im 15 in Korean age ….cool ! I’m 13…thanks BTS… I now know my Korean age

  21. JacksonWang says:

    This is wrong it is not like that in Korea stop lying

  22. STAY IN SKOOL says:

    Ok….so does the korean age system only count for the peaople who were born there or can someone come there and automatically be 1 or 2 yrs older than what they already are?

  23. Maddie says:

    Cool I’m 10 here in the USA but in Korea I’m 11!

  24. Yadhira says:

    Soo I’m fifteen in Korea cool

  25. Andrea Sanchez says:

    I Am 23 Here On America But I Am 25 On Koria What!

  26. Noona_knows_best says:

    COOL!!! So I’m 12-13 in Korea. I find it kinda confusing that u could have two different ages though, like which one is ur actual age, ur lunar or solar age?

  27. Stephanie says:

    I love how I become older.

    I’m 14 in America but if I were Korean I’d be 16 years old.

    The culture is fascinating and I had no idea that this is how their ages worked.

  28. Elie says:

    I’m 14 in Korea. In Bulgaria I’m 13.

  29. Kawaii_Unnie says:

    ummmmmm…. i think I get it….. wait….*reads everything again* actually no….


    Weirdd….. lol loads of kpop references soz I will stop now….

  30. Thei says:

    I’m 14 in korea but I’m 12 here in U.S

  31. COnfusin says:

    Wait so what I got was when you are born you are already 1 (same in Vietnam I heard) then every New Years you turn a year older? What about your real birthday? Does it substitute?

  32. Karina Cisneros says:

    So basically I’m 13 since I was born in October 27 Year 2004
    But In Korea I’m age 15

  33. Zman says:

    Is everybody here a damn teen? Lol

  34. esme says:

    im confused why your age goes down between your birthday and the new year???

  35. getback in thewomb says:

    I am 9, but in Korea i’m 80 wow

  36. EjRedila says:

    I’m 16 years old here in the Philippines, but if I go to Korea, I’m considered as 18 years old. Woahhhh, I think I’m a little bit old.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I’Am Here In Us 23 Yers Old And Younger Then Seoul South Korea
    But If I go To Seoul South KoreaI’Am 24 One Year Older Then Us Woo I Thed That I Would Tren Ildre On Seoul South Korea Then Thes.

  38. btsstan says:

    so im 15 in America but 16 in Korea that’s so cool

  39. MiKyong says:

    My little brother was born on New Year’s Eve. (I’m three years older.) A few weeks later was Lunar New Year. All of my parents’ friends kept talking about how he was two, but no one would properly explain it to me, other than he was a Korean Two.

    “But how can he be two, he JUST came home, and I’m three.”

    “Well, no, you’re five.”

    I never learned about the “why” behind the Korean age until I was an American 14 (a Korean 15). I saw it on TV.

  40. amanda says:

    im 18 in U.S.A but 20 in korea cool.

  41. julia says:

    in Poland people also mostly ask about the year of birth rather than the exact age

  42. Tsukune-senpai says:

    Last time I checked we had a pulse in the womb, hence a full living human being. This makes plenty of sense. Even PSY explained it in an interview. I’m 35, in Korea I’m 37, my birthday is in October so when I turn 36 I’ll still be 37 in Korea. I don’t get the confusion and I’m a Westerner.

  43. Krystelle says:

    I am 13 in america but In Korea I’m 15

  44. BTS ARMY says:

    Im 14 but in korea im 16

  45. xxx says:

    I’m currently 18 but in Korea I’m considered as a 19 year old. Doesn’t change a lot, and it’s fine for me cuz we all have different cultures.

  46. Yoons says:

    Really?! I’m 14 but in Korean age, I’m 16 yeahh that’s pretty cool!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Lol , I’m actually 14 but I’m 15/16 korean age lmfao .I can’t lollllllollll. So technically if you say your 16 , you aren’t lying/catfish in Someone .im dead now

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