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 |


217 comments on “Korean age calculator”

  1. Hannah says:

    I am 12 in America but in Korea I’m 13 and 14

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi im 19 in America but in korea 20 and 21

  3. Kpopgirl says:

    I’m 11 but I’m 12 and 13

  4. BTSxARMY says:

    Hi I’m 12 in America but 13 and 14 in Korea

  5. Ramireer says:

    I’m 11 in America, but in Korea I’m 12 and 13.

  6. St.VanLover says:

    Hi I’m 21 but in Korea I’m 22 and 23

  7. kpopgirlanika says:

    hi im anika, im 13 in philippines but im 14 and 15 in korea

  8. jj says:

    my bday was yesterday hehe i’m 14 15 in koreaaaaa

  9. Anonymous says:

    In America I’m 11 and in korea I’m 12 and 12

  10. Milla says:

    I’m 16 years old in western countries, but in Korea I’m 17 and/or 18 years old.

  11. zeinab says:

    am 12 year old in America in Korea am 13 and 14

  12. michelle says:

    i am 15 in western countries but 16/17

  13. Yunoki-sama says:

    I’m 11 years old in western countries, but in Korea, I’m 12 or 13 years old.

  14. Anonymous says:

    17 in the West, 18 in Korea.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m 14 in the west but 16 in Korea

  16. werewolflover3252 says:

    So apparently I’m 15/16 in Korea while I’m 14 in the states…good to know I guess.

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