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South Korea: why the entire population could look at least a year younger from May 10


The conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, elected president of South Korea on March 9, plans from May 10, the day of his inauguration, to abolish the Korean national age system. Direct consequence: the entire population could look younger by at least a year, or even two in some cases.

Indeed, as RFI reminds us, the country has the particularity of having its own method for defining the age of an individual, very different from the one we know in France and everywhere else in the world, established according to the days, months and years of birth.

Based on an ancestral method of calculation, the methodology currently in force in the “land of calm mornings” consists first of all of counting for a South Korean the approximately nine months spent in his mother’s womb, then of rounding off this period of pregnancy at one year of life.

But that’s not all since the other singularity is due to the fact that each individual blows out his candles, not on the anniversary date of the day of his birth, but on January 1, i.e. at the passage of the new year on the Gregorian calendar. . Thus, a baby born in South Korea on December 30, 2021 was already… 2 years old on January 1, 2022.

Yoon Suk-yeol’s desire to abolish Korea’s national age system soon, as his team has hinted, will put an end to a form of injustice but also to a number of administrative complexities. Nevertheless, it could create new ones, especially among young adults who are soon at risk… of becoming minors again.