Country changed calculation method; Before, people were born at 1 year old and got older every January 1st
South Korea abandoned its traditional age count, in which South Koreans were born at 1 year old and added another year every January 1st. Since Wednesday (June 28, 2023), the country has adopted the international standard.
With the change, people are up to 2 years “younger”. The country’s prime minister, Han Duck-soo, for example, was born on June 18, 1949. At the previous count, he was 75 years old. Now, he is 74. Jungkook, from the band BTS, was 25 and went to 23. The k-pop idol celebrates his 24th birthday again on September 1st.
After years of debate, South Korea’s National Assembly approved the change in December. In the project, it justified that the new rule “would resolve the social confusion caused by the mixed use of age calculations and the resulting side effects”, according to Korea Times.
Medical records and legal documents, for example, have used the international system since the 1960s and, therefore, will not change. Other official documents, which used traditional counting, will be modified.
A 3rd age counting method is also used in the country. In it, ages started at 0 and 1 year is added every January 1st. Initially, this method will remain in place, according to the Korean newspaper.
In principle, the change will not ban people from the right to buy cigarettes or alcohol. Nor will it impact the school year or mandatory enlistment.
A poll taken by Hankook Research in January 2022 showed that 3 out of 4 South Koreans are in favor of standardization.