On June 28, 2023, all South Koreans became a year or two younger as the country abandoned its traditional methods of calculating someone's age. The country embraced the use of the internationally recognized age counting method.
For many years, South Korea has used a unique age calculation system known as the "Korean age" system where individuals would age up by a year on January 1 every year, regardless of their actual birth date. It means that if someone born on New Year's Eve, he/she will be two years old on New Year's Day.
The other traditional "counting age" system considers a person to be zero at birth, but their age increases by one year on January 1 of each year. In this method, someone born on New Year's Eve will turn one on New Year's Day.
Korea Times says that the South Korean ages would be computed in the same way as the rest of the world, in most administrative and civil procedures — including contracts and other official papers.
"We expect legal disputes, complaints, and social confusion caused by how to calculate ages to be greatly reduced," said Lee Wan-kyu, minister of government law.
According to a government study done in September of the previous year, 86% of South Koreans stated that they wanted to use the international age system in their everyday life once the revised law went into effect. This survey indicates a strong inclination among the majority of South Koreans to embrace the internationally recognized age counting method.