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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 |


162 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. cristal says:


  8. Anupriya Malik says:

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

  9. Anonymous says:

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

  10. 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

  11. Mohini Ghosh says:

    Wow that means i’m 20 according to korean age

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