What Year is it in
North Korea? Understanding
the Juche Calendar

Year in North Korea & the Juche Calendar

What is the Juche Calendar?
History of the Juche Calendar
What Year is it in North Korea?
Use of the Juche Calendar
The Year in... Korea!

Did you know that North Korea use a whole different system for their calendar? Actually, they’re not unique in this respect. There are several countries that don’t follow the Gregorian calendar - the one that tells us it’s 2020. But North Korea is unique in that it is the only country that follows the Juche Calendar. 

Never heard of the Juche Calendar? 

You’re in the right place. 

Read on for more information on the Juche Calendar, and find out what year it is in North Korea! 

What is the Juche Calendar?

The Juche Calendar is the dating system used in North Korea. It is based on the Juche era. 

The Gregorian calendar, which is what most other countries refer to, begins at the birth of Christ, 2020 years ago. The Juche calendar, however, gets its date from the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder and eternal leader of North Korea. The Juche Calendar, therefore, begins in 1912. 

In North Korea, both calendars are often used together. 

History of the Juche Calendar

‘Juche’ is a term often heard in North Korea. Loosely translated, it means ‘self-reliance’, although it is often left untranslated. It is the ideology under which North Korea runs. 

The Juche calendar first came into practice in North Korea in July 1997 on the third anniversary of the death of Kim Il Sung. Later that year, on North Korea’s Party Foundation Day, the use of the Juche Calendar became official and all publications in North Korea started to use both the Juche calendar and the Gregorian calendar together. 

What Year is it in North Korea?

This year (2020) is Juche 109 on the Juche calendar. 

2021 is year 110 on the Juche calendar. 

2019 is year 108 on the Juche calendar. 

Use of the Juche Calendar

The Juche Calendar, unlike the Gregorian calendar, does not have a system pre-1912. It does not go into minus numbers or use BC/AD. Instead, the Gregorian calendar is simply used. 

The Juche Calendar and Gregorian calendar are often used together, with the Juche calendar date appearing first, followed by the year of the Gregorian calendar. 

e.g. September 24, Juche 109 (2020) 

Sometimes, the Gregorian calendar will not be used. 

Since September 9th 1997 the Juche Calendar has been used widely throughout North Korea.

Its distribution involves on official documents, in North Korean media, banknotes, architecture, transport, and birth certificates. 

The Year in... Korea! 

Let's not forget the National Year of Korea counted on the Dangun calendar. This has been counting since 2333 BCE, Dangi [단기]).

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