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.

Simple.

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 |

comments

112 comments on “Korean age calculator”

  1. berlie calatao says:

    gamsahamnida

  2. The Waegukin says:

    You’re welcome ^^

  3. sarah says:

    Thanks. I can see that i will be lying about my age when I visit Seoul in February!

  4. Isamar Llamas says:

    wow so i’m 21, in Korea i would be 23 haha woooow.

  5. i3ph says:

    wow,, you’re so smart!!
    thanks anyway 🙂

  6. milo says:

    ???
    wow this is really cool but im very confused
    im korea i would be nineteen?? very cool and very confusing ahaha

  7. Pamela Leigh says:

    Wow! I’m only 15 but in korean age, I’m 17. I feel older.hehe. by the way, thanks. I’m satisfied.:)

  8. yoo says:

    i don’t like Korean age!!!!!! -_-

  9. Charlene says:

    Yes. im 18.
    Finally legal in Canada T_T
    oh how i wish the legal age in Korea was 18.

  10. charissa says:

    this confuses me.i was born on new year’s day exactly so does that mean i add 2years to my age or just 1?

  11. The Waegukin says:

    If you were born on New Year’s Day, you should always add one year to get your Korean age. New Year’s eve, always add 2, except for the actual New Year’s eve.

  12. Briana says:

    I’m a bit confused. I was born in early February in 1995.
    So I would be 20 in the Korean age system? Or?

  13. Trina Goldenvalley says:

    I still don’t understand “Lunar” -.-‘

    I just turned 16 on the 26. of April.. The “Solar – Calender” says that I am 17 but the “Lunar – Calender” says that I am 18….. I Don’t understand.. :/

  14. Anonymous says:

    wow i feel older

  15. Mona says:

    Wow So I was born in March 1997 and I am 16 . And in Korean I am 17 or 18? 😀

  16. ... OMFG 2 YEARS OLDER says:

    omfg seriusly? i thought was getting older since im 26 after calculated it im 28….2 years OMFG STRESS~

  17. Clarisse H. says:

    I don’t understand about the Lunar and Solar thingy.. Please do explain in a more understandable way..? :/
    ‘Cause I’m really really CONFUSED and I’m really interested in this.. :))
    Pleasee.. SOMEONE answer :*

    Thanks Guyss! 😉

  18. Esther Park says:

    Wow here i am 29 but in Korea i am 31. Oh i am old lol.

  19. John.W says:

    interesting info.. although im older 😉

  20. rykiel says:

    I’m born 1998, now i’m 15. Means that i’m 16 in korea? 🙂

  21. Cinthia Moreno says:

    I dont get it I was born on april7,2001 so im 12 . does that mean im 14 In korea ???

  22. Lily says:

    Does anyone know kris age and he’s from Exo k pop.thx

  23. Vanessa Tan says:

    I am born at 1st Feb 2001 so does that mean my age will be 14 years old in Korea?

  24. Caitlin says:

    My Birthday is January 30, 1995. I’m 19 in international, would i be 20 or 21 korean age? I’m still extremely confused. Please help explain!

  25. Kiran says:

    I was born on January 9 1998.I’m 16 internationally.What would be my korean age?

  26. Anonymous says:

    im 17 🙂

  27. mijavicgo says:

    OKay…I’m done╮(╯_╰)╭ 26? In korean I’ll get older 2 years..

  28. Anonymous says:

    im 20.. W0w..

  29. Gina says:

    This is totally messed up… Okay I give you credit for the fact that this is an interesting topic but those of us who are already old enough and don’t welcome age calculators magically adding TWO YEARS to our age are grumbling unhappily right now. :/ (kidding… 😛 grumble grumble… not really)

    I’ve always been curious, though, because I was born in Korea in the mid-70’s and have been promised by my mom that the birthday that I have always understood to be mine was based on the Gregorian calendar. But knowing how focused they are in Korea on the lunar calendar (even now), I’m never quite sure. Is there any way to find out? Did they start using Gregorian dates for official birth records at some specific point in Korea?

  30. Rita says:

    so, i’ll just say i’m in my mid-50s

  31. Isel says:

    I was Born on November 14 1994 i am only 20 I am only 21 years old in Korea. The Korean age system is using in North and South Korea for calculating the age in the western age plus they will add one year or sometimes two years in during Chinese Lunar New Year

  32. Isel says:

    I was Born on November 14 1994 i am only 20 I am only 21 years old in Korea. The Korean age system is using in North and South Korea for calculating the age in the western age plus they will add one year or sometimes two years in during Chinese Lunar New Year

  33. stephanie says:

    i was born on jan 26 im 14 how old am i in korea im turning 15 im a month

  34. Martyn says:

    I’ve lived in Korea for almost eight years and have a nightmare trying to explain this to people.
    Basically if you are born on 31st December, you are one day old, but also one year old. The next day, despite being only two days old, you become two years old (Korean age).
    When I turned thirty, I introduce myself to Koreans, I just tell them the year I was born and trust that they have sufficient math skills to figure it out for themselves wether to call me ‘hyung’ or not.

  35. Yan Na says:

    It’s like just adding 2 years on your age,but this helped me a lot.Thanks to this website

  36. Sarah says:

    So in Korea, do they celebrate birth dates, but they only get older on New Year’s (to them)?

  37. tigerb says:

    i’ll stick to my solar age after all my passport reflects the year i was born. i wonder if korean age computation is the same as chinese way of computing age.

  38. alex yeom says:

    wow I’m 15 (13 in America but my birthday is in august so i see why its 15). so in Korea one more year and i can drive XD…. right? is driving age different too?

  39. Kelly says:

    So does that mean the k-pop idols are younger when they come to the U.S.? How do you convert someone’s age back? Say they are 23 in Korea is there age going to change if they move to the U.S.?

  40. Zoey says:

    I am 12 this year and my birthday is on 30 June so will I be 2 or 1 year older?

  41. Kumiko says:

    Hi, I am a little confuse about ‘Have you had a birthday since the last Lunar New Year (early February-ish)?’ Can you please explain it more in depth?

    My Korean age (solar) is 23 and my birthday is in October.

  42. Romeshika says:

    I was born in 8th December 1996..my western age is 18 since I haven’t reached my birthday yet… I’ll be 19 this year and my Korean age is 20..right?

  43. MuschiCathy says:

    Wow …OMYGHAD!!! In philippines im 13 but in korea im 15 OMGFD!!”

  44. Beast says:

    WOW….I was born in 2014….soooo would I be 2 or 3?

  45. Tyson says:

    So, by New Year do you mean the Chinese New Year or December 31st/January 1st New Year?

  46. ARMY_BTS says:

    I’m 16 in Wester age and 18 in korea awesome
    Thank for doing this

  47. Sam says:

    16 in Canada…. 17 in Korea…. Cool.

  48. Levy says:

    Oh wow so i guess i am 15 now. Technically only a few years behind seventeen dino

  49. user says:

    I felt old

  50. Bookgeek says:

    Whoo I’m 16 here a few days from 17 that means I’m 18 or 19 now and 18 or 19 in a few weeks it’s great if only it worked like that back home

  51. buy safe facebook fans says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  52. Anonymous says:

    What?? did i just got older????im 18 and in korea im fucking 21 how???

  53. 스미스 쉘튼 says:

    음 몰라 왜 I am 20 If I am 18 still until 3월 27일 but 감사합니다!

  54. anthem says:

    turning 18 next week in india. in korea turning 19 next week wauuuu

  55. Kumo says:

    ..Just to get this straight…I was born on May 6, 2002…So I am 15 in Korean Years…13 International Years…

  56. Kiara says:

    Aigoo, I’m 18 I’ll be 19 this summer, but I’ll be 21 in Korea!? I’m of age to drink! What age is it when they drink soju?

  57. Kiara says:

    It’s 19 in Korea.. Haha, looked it up. I’ll be of age to drink Soju lol

  58. klarisse p. bool says:

    Im 10 yrs old in philippines and in Korea im 12 yrs old

  59. Hannah Mañero says:

    ..Woahh!!Im 15 and my age in Korea is already 17..imagine that!!!hahaha

  60. vane says:

    I was born on july 26/01 I’m 14 how old am i I’m confused about the calendar changes please reply I’m going to Korea in a few weeks

  61. lea says:

    15 in indonesia, in korea ; 16 solar calendar,17 lunar calendar. lol

  62. Anonymous says:

    I’m 17 in Korea even tho 15

  63. Noura says:

    This is awesome! Thanks.

  64. melody says:

    add 1year only if you are 18 in korea you are 19.. Jung Yong Hwa is my isol from Korea. born on June 22 1989, here in phls. his age 27 but in Korea he is 28…

  65. Anonymous says:

    I am 20 and in Korea I would be 22. Wow I cannot believe that.

  66. Anonymous says:

    it’s sucks wtf this culture

  67. Anne says:

    can’t believe I’m 19 in korea but 18 here

  68. Victoria Lopez says:

    I was born on January 23, 1997, and I’m 20 in Korean age. When it is New Year’s Day, I’m 21, right? And I don’t add a year on my birthday until New Year’s comes around, right? Sorry, I’m still new to the Korean Age system.

  69. Anonymous says:

    So if my birthday is after the Lunar New Year do I add one?

  70. Natalie says:

    So I was born on Feb 8 does that mean I click the second box or not.

  71. Saige says:

    Dude this awesome and so cool now I know what age I am when I go to south korea SWEET !!!!!!!!!!

  72. khai says:

    i still don`t understand because i born in 7 may and i am 13 years old so am i 14 or 15.

  73. Fei \ ^o^ / says:

    So does this mean that people start school earlier in Korea or are people older in grades? Ex. instead of being 13 in 8th grade you could be 15??

  74. aaa says:

    I’m Korean-American but korean age system is just for conversation. Legal age is original age like any other country.

  75. imogen says:

    So if I were to go to korea for a job that requires me to be 17 (which I am) but in korean age I am 19 would they not let me do the job because they go off korean age?

  76. Syd says:

    My Korean age is 17 (my real age is 15)

  77. Syd says:

    15 month old niece: 3 yrs old
    5 years old niece: 7 yrs old
    7 years old nephew: 9 yrs old
    Me (15 years old): 17 yrs old
    21 year old sister: 23 yrs old`
    32 year old sister: 34 yrs
    14 year old friend: 16 yrs old

  78. Dang [燈] says:

    wow im jungshooked!! im 13 but in korea im 15 woahhhh

  79. MG_Gravvity says:

    Wow I was born on Dec 2004 and I’m 12 but on here I’m 14!!!! Yass I’ve waited for so long! xD

  80. Rhiannah says:

    I’m 16 but on here I’m either 17 or 18 That’s makes me feel old! Which age do I say when I got to Korea then?

  81. sex videos says:

    Heⅼlo there, I discovered your web site via Google at the same timе as searching for a similar mattеr, your web
    site came up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bߋokmarks.

    Heⅼlo there, just changed intⲟ alert to your weblog thru Googlе, and located that it’s really informative.
    I am gоing to be cɑreful for bruѕsels. I’ll be grateful foг those who continue this in future.

    A lot of people might be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

  82. clip says:

    Fantaѕtic post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a littᥱ
    mοre on thіs suЬject? I’d Ье very grateful if you could
    elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

  83. Anonymous says:

    im 16 at lunar calendar and 15 at solar calendar. its cool though hahaha..

  84. Praiselyn Preethi says:

    Wow I’m actually born in 23 November 1998 so I’m 18 but according to Korean calendar I’m 20

  85. Praiselyn Preethi says:

    I’m 18 and going to finish my first year college but actually what might I be study if I was in Korea and my Korean age is 20

  86. Lilie says:

    14 in korean age.. I cry, I’m not even a teenager yet and I’m already starting to feel old, ugh I don’t want to grow up yet T-T

  87. Grey Billingsley says:

    My age is 16. Woohoo! 감사 함니다

  88. Ciera says:

    Lol sweet I’m 24 yrs old in solar and 25 yrs old in lunar. On the bright side car issuance is cheap

  89. arlin says:

    wow i am 27 but in korean age i’m 29 wow so old

  90. Marta says:

    I’m 18 years old but already 20 in Korea woah ~

  91. Kim Soo Yun says:

    So im Korean but raised in the states. I went by my American age 15. Now i know my age in korea is 17.

  92. Poniko says:

    but if I went to korea would they take the age on my passport or would they calculate my korean age?? what if you’re 20 in western age but 21 in korean age???? are you allowed to drink then?? It’s so confusing

  93. Trixie says:

    I’m 17 in EU age… And I’m 20 in Korean age?? I feel so old..

  94. Trixie says:

    I mean 19.. Sorr

  95. Valeru says:

    Ok so I am 19, I was born in January I would either be 20 according to solar and 21 according to lunar new year how is this supposed to work omg xD

  96. SUNSHINE says:

    I’M 21 IN KOREA LOL. BORN 1997, BIRTHDAY EARLY DEC.
    SO, THAT MEANS THAT I WAS ONE THE DAY I WAS BORN AND LESS THAN A MONTH LATER WHEN THE NEWYEAR CAME I TURNED 2? MAKES SENSE.

  97. Lizzy says:

    I’m still kind of confused. So when you haven’t had your birthday yet you’re two years older but when you have you’re only one?

Trackbacks

  1. September « Minority Report
  2. Seoul According to Jenny | Invest Korea
  3. New Years part two. | 뚱뚱한 외국인.
  4. What’s Your Korean Age? Use The Korean Age Calculator And Find Out! | KoreAm Journal - Korean America's Premier Magazine
  5. [Tutorial] วิธีสมัคร DAUM และ แฟนคาเฟ่ + อัพเลเวล(2015) | Party.LABOUM
  6. [Tutorial] วิธีสมัคร DAUM และ แฟนคาเฟ่ + อัพเลเวล(2015) | Party.LABOUM
  7. Happy 2016! | yoribook
  8. My Experience Teaching in South Korea - newExperiences newPeople newLife
  9. Greetings from South Korea! – blueskyexplorer
  10. 35 Fun Facts About Life in South Korea - life of brit
  11. Edad coreana: ¿por qué tengo más años en Corea?
  12. Kang Chae Young – the survivor. | dutchtarget
  13. Capital of the Silla Kingdom – myjumbokimono
  14. How old are you? – 천사 한국어
  15. The Simple Reason Why Asians Look Younger For Their Age - I'm A Useless Info Junkie

Leave a Reply

Please note: if your comment is a question relating to your personal situation or a request for advice about living and teaching in Korea, please use the Ask Waegukin page, rather than leaving a comment here. Such questions won't be answered in comments.

Subscribe to Waegukin

If you enjoyed this, subscribe to Waegukin to get new posts, links, and commentary: