While speaking on the The Joe Rogan Experience podcast about the atrocities committed in her home country – including starvation and torture – she also walked Rogan through the unusual ageing system.
In a lighthearted clip that’s been shared to TikTok by @dannydoesntknow earlier this week, Park stated: “You are going to be confused.”
“So in South Korea, North Korean, when you are born you are one [year old]. The day you are born you are one.” she explains.
So far so different to Western ageing practices.
However, she then goes on to detail how, rather than your age ticking up one digit on your birthday, you actually gain a year on January 1st.
“So if somebody is born on December 31st, they are one. Tomorrow on January 1st they are two.”
“Even when they’re a baby?” asks Joe.
“Yes,” she laughs. “They are two-days-old and they are two-years-old. So they count age like that.”
he origins of the unique ageing system are unclear with one theory being that the one year counted on the day of birth refers to the time spent in the womb – with nine months being rounded up to twelve.
Others believe an ancient Asian numerical system did not have the concept of zero.
As for adding a year on New Year’s Day, some experts claim that it is connected to adding a year on the first day of the lunar calendar,
and as Koreans eventually began to observe Western calendars, the extra year is now added on 1 January.
North Korea has already ditched the confusing system and by June 2023,
the Korean age system will no longer be used on official documents in South Korea either.
The video, which was been watched over 111K times on TikTok has had a mixed response, with some Koreans commenting that this system isn’t really used anymore.
Some pointed out that ageing systems around the world are kind of inaccurate:
“Technically when you are born you are 10 months old.”
Others could see the logic in the Korean system: “It actually makes a lot of sense! I mean hell, you should be one when you’re born.”
“I get it. It’s basically counting how many years you’ve lived in,” said a third.