What Year Is It In North Korea 2018

North Korea is a mysterious and fascinating country, one of the few left in the world that has not adopted the Western way of looking at time. Despite the sweeping technological progress seen in other parts of the world, North Koreans continue to use an archaic calendar system. So, what year is it in North Korea 2018?

North Korea follows the traditional Juche Calendar System which was established in 1997 and officially adopted in 1998. This system counts the years on the basis of the nation’s foundation, Year 1 in the system being 1912. This makes the current North Korean year, 2018, to be in fact the year 106. Even though the Juche Calendar has been in use for 20 years, it is still considered novel in the Western world.

The Gregorian calendar, which is more commonly used, is sometimes referred to by North Koreans as the “common era” calendar system. The Gregorian calendar is adopted by all UN member nations. North Korea still purposefully maintains its alternative calendar system, hence the sometimes confusing situation where North Koreans are sometimes five or six years ahead or behind international law.

The current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, has embraced the historic calendar and has so far been successful in promoting its sense of nostalgia, in addition to the sense of pride and identity it gives the nation. He has often referred to it in speeches, using the old calendar dates to mark anniversaries of momentous occasions. The calendar is used in all official documents, including birth and death certificates, school diplomas and emails.

The Juche Calendar is similar to other Julian calendar systems as it follows the same calculation of days and months. The major difference, however, is that it uses Korean mythology to define their calendar years. This system is based on the story of a 4,300-year-old Korean god named Tan’gun whose son, Hwanung, overthrew him and became the god of heaven. According to the Juche System, the years since the overthrow of Tan’gun are considered to be the “first era” of the North Korean calendar.

Despite the traditional values associated with the Juche calendar, many North Koreans still use the international system as a more reliable indicator of time. The younger generation, in particular, prefers to use the Gregorian calendar. Locals incorporate this system into their daily lives, even though they may refer to the year using the traditional system. For example, they will refer to the current year as 2018 when setting meeting dates or making plane reservations, and then revert back to referring to the year as 106 when discussing traditional events.

What Is The History of The Juche Calendar?

The Juche Calendar was created by the Workers’ Party of Korea in 1997 with the intention of moving away from the widely used international Gregorian Calendar. It was intended to eliminate the notion of time associated with imperialism, a result of North Korea’s desire for autonomy and unique national identity. The calendar is used for all official business, and Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder, outlined the intention to have it adopted nation-wide.

The Juche Calendar was created around the same time as the official adoption of the Juche ideology – a political ideology based on Korean self-sufficiency. It is based on the belief that, since Kim Il-sung had changed North Korea for the better and established it as a socialist state, a new timeline should be created, so that its citizens could move out of the era of Imperialism and towards a future that was dependent on self- effectiveness.

The calendar was established to mark years based on the date of Kim Il-sung’s birth, April 15th 1912, when he was 17 years old. The first year is thus 1912, and the second year is 1913, then 1914 and onwards. This is done to match the story of Tan’res overthrow as mentioned earlier, creating a strong connection between mythology and the calendar.

How Does The Juche Calendar Impact North Korea’s Relationship with the International Community?

The adoption of the Juche calendar has had some practical implications for the wider international community. North Korean news programs, for example, are often broadcasted five or six years ahead of the rest of the world. This can create a distortion in terms of understanding North Korean news, as reporters must take into account the calendar difference when reporting on North Korean affairs.

The difference in time also creates confusion in diplomatic conversations as North Koreans give different dates from their counterparts – even if the information is from the same year they may be referring to two different dates. It can also be difficult to set up meetings or calls as the date and time of these events rely on having a universal understanding of what year it currently is.

The Juche Calendar has been met with criticism by those outside of North Korea due to its purposeful deviation from international standards. Its use of mythology to denote years has been a source of controversy for many years. This can be seen when North Korean athletes competed in international events, and their years of birth would often be reported as twelve or thirteen years earlier than the actual year.

What Are The Benefits of The Juche Calendar?

Despite its controversial nature, the Juche Calendar is still actively promoted and used by North Korea. It is seen by many as a symbol of their national pride and is often used to mark important anniversaries or to celebrate the achievements of their leaders. This calendar also benefits North Korea by making its citizens forget or overlook the impact of international sanctions, its reliance on international organisations, and its various geopolitical issues – by using a calendar that is supposedly independent of external influence, it allows the nation to downplay these factors.

In addition, the calendar creates a sense of nostalgia, allowing North Korean citizens to look back on the past with pride at their nation’s growth over the past century. It also creates a unique national identity, allowing North Koreans to differentiate themselves from the Western world. This is an important factor when it comes to fostering a sense of loyalty to the nation’s government. For the ruling family, this system also helps maintain a connection with late leaders, such as Kim Il-sung.

What Challenges Does North Korea Face With The Juche Calendar?

The most obvious challenge with the Juche Calendar is that it is extremely confusing for outsiders. Many people simply cannot get their head around the fact that the current year is 106 and not 2018. This creates confusion in international dealings and can cause problems with communication within the nation.

The calendar system is not exactly the most practical either; it is difficult to create and keep track of events when one is unsure what year is being referred to. There is also the possibility that some dates and events may be confused, such as the birthday of Kim Il-sung or the anniversary of an important event.

Furthermore, North Koreans are sometimes culturally isolated from the rest of the world due to their adherence to the Juche calendar. The system can be seen as a barrier to globalisation and progress, and this is something that both critics and supporters of the system equally recognise.

What Is The Future of The Juche Calendar?

The Juche Calendar is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, as it has become part of North Korean culture and a symbol of North Korean national identity. As North Korea moves forward as a nation, it is likely that the Juche Calendar will remain an important part of its history and a symbol of its autonomy. It may even be possible that the Juche Calendar could be adopted by other nations in the long term.

Recent developments in North Korea, such as the various diplomatic meetings between Kim Jong-un and other world leaders, may lead to more international recognition of the Juche Calendar and its significance to the nation. The international community may eventually become more accepting of the calendar system and less confused by it.

It is also plausible that the North Korean government may eventually decide to update their calendar to be more in line with the international system. North Koreans are increasingly exposed to western culture and values, which could eventually lead to a more accessible timeline for the nation.

How Can The Juche Calendar Be More Accepted Internationally?

In order for the Juche Calendar to be accepted more widely, North Korea should focus on increasing its international ties and the amount of information available about its cultural systems. This could include inviting foreign scholars to study the Juche Calendar and its mythology in more depth, as well as translating documents and recordings which explain its historical background.

The nation should also focus on providing accurate information when communicating with the international community. This could involve providing clear explanations of counting systems and dates or having a designated official who can act as a bridge between North Korea and the rest of the world.

Finally, North Korea should aim to increase its citizens’ exposure to other international calendars, such as the Gregorian system. This could involve introducing more international media, expanding access to technology, and teaching Western-style maths and date systems in schools. In doing so, North Koreans could be better equipped to interact with the outside world.


The Juche Calendar is an integral part of North Korean culture, and it has remained an important symbol for the nation since it was introduced in 1997. The system may seem mysterious and confusing to outsiders, but its significance is rooted in the nation’s desire for autonomy and its pride in its history and national identity. While there may be challenges in terms of international relations and communication, there are also clear benefits to this calendar system, and it is likely to remain in use for many years to come.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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