What is Korean age?

In Korea, your age is counted in a slightly different way from how you count your age in most parts of the world. 

Basic rule:

It's NOT "how old" you are. It's HOW MANY YEARS you have seen in your life.

More explanation:

On the day that you are born, you are experiencing the 1st year of your life, therefore in Korea, you are 1 (year of age). 

So, everybody is 1 year of age on the day that they are born. 

Even if you are born on the last day of the year, it's your 1st year, so you are 1 year of age. And the next day, the year will change (right?), and you will be 2 years of age.


1. If you were born this year, you are experiencing your 1st year in life, so you are 1. 

2. If you were born last year, you are experiencing your 2nd year in life, so you are 2.

What about birthdays?

Birthdays of individuals are celebrated the same way as in many other countries, but "birthdays" and "how old you are" in Korean age are NOT related.In Korea, birthdays are birthdays, and age is age. 

Do Korean people know their international age too?

Yes, they do. They call this age system "만 나이" [man na-i]. 만 here means "full" and this 만 나이 is used in some official documents and when someone's age is introduced on TV. Everybody knows how old they are both in Korean age and in their 만 나이 (international age).

More Korean age-related questions to be answered in the future...

Thanks for visiting!

댓글 3개:

  1. actually it is exactly the same here in my country. as there is no English equivalent for this, explaining is quite hard, isn't it? people in my country do the same thing. they use their international age for ID cards, birth certificates and other documents but use 'their internationage + 1' for occasions like weddings, funerals or even when they see a fortuneteller. I think thing is the same in China (I'm not sure. I just guess).

  2. If I (a foreigner) was too move to korea, will my Korean official documents say my korean age?

  3. but how come if someone who born in jan 1994 called someone who born in june 1993 without using formal word like hyung or somthing..