25 but looks younger? The Korean Age system and an explanation why such a "crazy system" exist

25 but looks younger? The Korean Age system and an explanation why such a “crazy system” exist

Have you ever met an asian? Well I am certain you have because quite frankly we reproduce like rabbits (hello China!). But have you ever met a person from South Korea? Have you ever ask about their age and then say “man you look TOTALLY YOUNGER THAN YOUR AGE”. Well my friend you have encounter International Age vs. Korean Age problem…

For you see, internationally, it is accepted that a baby is 0 years old at its birth, and then turns one year older everytime it hits its birthday. So a baby born on June 14th, 2010 is 0 and then will turn 1 on June 14th, 2011.

But ahaa, the South Korean have a system that is called “nominal age” although they use the international system on official document and papers, “nominal age” is use in “everyday” world. Nominal Age states that a baby is instantly 1 year old when it is born, and then every LUNAR NEW YEAR (or Chinese New Year) they increment that age by 1 in addition ton incrementing it on their birthday. So if a baby was born on June 14th, 2010 it’s 1 years old. Then comes February it is now 2, and then come its birthday on June 14th, 2011 it’s now 3 years old. So basically Korean age is always around +2 or +1 years older than the international system because I mean Lunar New Year is never set in stone and Korean don’t double count if your B-day happens to land on Lunar New Year (I don’t think so). I think Koreans tend to use January 1st as their new year date though, not so much Lunar New Year anymore. So it’s correct, South Korean do look younger for their age then expected, because well they ARE. Why have this crazy system in place you ask…. Well let’s go to my hypothetical but I would say very very good guess drawing board….

Nominal age was a practice actually originated in Ancient China which then eventually spread throughout Asia because let’s face it most countries in Asia (not talking to Russia, or South East Asia like India and Pakistan) are China crop out for much of their early history. Ancient China and also Modern China is heavily influenced by teachings of Confucious who one golden rule to a stable society is and forever will be “Respect your elders”. This Confucianism probably have contributed to the Eastern mindset of wanting to get old. See unlike the West, everybody wishes they could be younger. Fountain of everlasting youth is a motif in many Western classical literature like the Holy Grail, said to grant everlasting youth in addition to immortality and happiness. Many people in the West get riled up at the idea of turning old, and that’s why it is disrespectful to ask someone age, or a classic insult/tease is to guess an older age then the person actually is. In the East though, at least TRADITIONALLY (nowadays I have no clue if the East people still want to get old….) old-ness was what people really wanted. Old age gives you power, it gives you a voice because of “respect your elders” golden rule. Young people are expected to shut up and listen. In many classical literature, all great people are depicted as old and wise. Lao Tzu (the founder of Daoism/Taoism) is picture as an old man, heck even silk paintings of freaking emperors depict them as old (maybe not grey hair old but definitely older than any of Jesus Christ depiction over here in the West. Jesus looks like he is like 25 or something). Confucious wasn’t crazy in saying “respect your elders” because in the East shoes it makes a lot of sense. I mean information and books weren’t readily available to the majority of the population, so whoever lives the oldest must have the most knowledge cause not only is she or he more mature, he or she has live life for a longer time than you, have transverse the dangerous waters. Not only because of confucianism that people in the East like getting old, but also in the ancient East was mostly an agriculture place because Rice is still a bitch load of work to farm. You got to water thing just right, you got to pull out the weeds in time, RICE SUCKS and it’s so time consuming to farm effectively. In an agricultural setting, it would make sense to have elders respected and listen to. I rather listen to this old guy who has pass many growing season and can make a pretty inference on how I can make a profit for this upcoming growing season then a willy nilly teenager who just started his first growing season.

This is probably how the nominal age system started, because everybody is in a rush to get old. Nowadays though, only South Korea uses such a system. You are correct, apparently North Korea is more progressive than South Korea in this aspect and it’s a problem when NORTH is more PROGRESSIVE THAN YOU. Even so, South Korea still uses “international” age system much more than “nominal” age system. Every official papers used the “international” age system and even school system use the “international system”. NO YOU CAN’T GET ALCOHOL AS A 19 YEAR OLD, I think law wise, South Koreans use the international system as determination. Everyday life though, they still use the nominal age system. Idols when ask for their age, name their korean age and never their international age.

Recently there has been a pushed to get rid of this “nominal” age system. It’s a clash between cultural traditions and modern era at this point. In my POV, I don’t think Nominal Age system should be gotten rid off. I mean why do away with a cultural tradition if it doesn’t confuse anyone? Like I understand some old cultural tradition views like LGTBQ is bad must be replace, but what’s wrong with Nominal Age? People in South Korea could have stop like any other country, but they didn’t so they still like it. You know not every cultural tradition is bad, it keeps us grounded in our roots and our ancestry. If it’s not bad, I say just leave it be! What do you guys think about the nominal age system now that you know a little bit of background on it? Should it be kept? Or Remove?


  • Epic integration | Mar 8,2020

    Hi this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to
    manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so
    I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • coolguy1234 | Mar 8,2020

      Well I use wordpress “multi page” installation. This means the blog post, the overall theme, the different pages is pre-coded (meaning I literally just either click “Add new” and write an article post and walla! No coding necessary). Everything else though, content in the article is hand coded (images, videos, and if you check out KPop biographies, the song that plays when you hover is hand coded). I’m pretty sure you can start a blog without coding experience and still be very successful! It’s just “neat” to have coding experience in HTML, Javascript/CSS to add “cool flavors” to your post. Also if you have time, pick up HTML and CSS, the basics are pretty easy (it is not as hard of a language as “Java”, “Python” or “C+/C”) because it is more of a “markup” language than a intensive coding language (javascript is the “intensive” coding language for websites)

  • Mueller whizzer | Mar 13,2020

    Great article, just what I wanted to find.

    • coolguy1234 | Mar 13,2020

      Thanks person

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