South Koreans become younger under new age-counting law

  • By Kelly Ng & Yuna Ku
  • in Singapore and Seoul

Image supply, Getty Images

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South Koreans will flip a yr or two younger under a new law

South Koreans have become a yr or two younger as a new law aligns the nation’s two conventional age-counting strategies with worldwide requirements.

The law scraps one conventional system that deemed South Koreans one yr outdated at start, counting time within the womb.

Another counted everybody as ageing by a yr each first day of January as a substitute of on their birthdays.

The change to age-counting based mostly on start date took impact on Wednesday.

President Yoon Suk-yeol pushed strongly for the change when he ran for workplace final yr. The conventional age-counting strategies created “unnecessary social and economic costs”, he stated.

For occasion, disputes have arisen over insurance coverage pay-outs and figuring out eligibility for presidency help programmes.

Previously, probably the most broadly used calculation methodology in Korea was the centuries-old “Korean age” system, wherein an individual turns one at start and positive aspects a yr on 1 January. This means a child born on 31 December will likely be two years outdated the following day.

A separate “counting age” system, that was additionally historically used within the nation, considers an individual zero at start and provides a yr on 1 January.

This implies that, for instance, as of 28 June 2023, an individual born on 29 June 2003 is 19 under the worldwide system, 20 under the “counting age” system and 21 under the “Korean age” system.

Lawmakers voted to scrap the standard counting strategies final December.

Despite the transfer, many current statutes that depend an individual’s age based mostly on the “counting age” calendar yr system will stay. For instance, South Koreans should purchase cigarettes and alcohol from the yr – not the day – they flip 19.

Some, like Jeongsuk Woo, hope the change will assist break down Korea’s hierarchical tradition.

“There is a subconscious layer of ageism in people’s behaviour. This is evident even in the complex language system based on age… I hope the abolition of ‘Korean age’ system and the adaptation of the international standard get rid of old relics of the past,” stated the 28-year-old content material creator.

Another resident Hyun Jeong Byun stated: “I adore it, as a result of now I’m two years younger. My birthday is in December, so I all the time felt like this Korean age system is making me socially older than what I truly am.

“Now that Korea is following the worldwide commonplace, I now not have to elucidate my ‘Korean age’ after I go overseas.”

The 31-year-old physician stated South Korea’s medical sector has already been adopting the worldwide age system.

The conventional age-counting strategies have been additionally utilized by different East Asian nations, however most have dropped it.

Japan adopted the worldwide commonplace in 1950 whereas North Korea adopted swimsuit within the 1980s.

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