Korean Studies *: Useful Resources

Calendar Conversion

Prior to 963, Korean years were expressed as Korean era names. 

From 963 to 1895, Chinese era names were used.

Western to Chinese converter

Briefly, from 1894 to 1896, years were numbered using 1392 (the year of the founding of the Choson dynasty) as Year 1.  To convert from Korean to Western years, add 1391.  ('503' equates to '1894'.)

Between 1896 and 1910, Korean era names were used: Chonyang 1-2 (1896-1897), Kwangmu 1-11 (1897-1907), Yunghui 1-4 (1907-1910).

During the period of the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945), Japanese era names were used for most of books published in Korea

1868   明治   Meiji  Emperor Meiji, 1868–1912.
1912  大正  Taishō  Emperor Taishō, 1912–1926.
1926  昭和  Shōwa   Emperor Shōwa, 1926–1989.


Korean nationalists outside of Korea, however, commonly numbered years using the Western year 2333 B.C. as year 1.  This convention was maintained in South Korea until 1961.  To convert from a 'Tangun' year, simply subtract 2333.  ('4278' equates to '1945'.).   The Western calendar was adopted in 1961.

When the Propositional Government was established in China in 1919, Korean nationalists outside of Korea also began using the Minguk years (Minguk 1 equates to 1919).  

In North Korea, the Juche calendar dates years from 1912, the year of Kim Il-song's birth (Year 1).  To convert from Juche to Western years, add 1911.  ('89' equates to '2000'.)

Romanization Tutorial and Tools


This handy tool, developed by Hyungbae Lee, Korean Studies librarian at Princeton, converts Hangul texts into ALA/LC Romanization.  


Since the ALA/LC Romanization Rules for Korean, a McCune-Reichauer based system,  is quite different from the South Korean rules, you are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with a Korean Studies librarian for an introductory session.  If you prefer learning on your own, please try the tutorial below.    

Why Romanization>?

While the Unicode enables scholarly communication in original scripts, there are still important reasons for Korean Studies scholars and students to learn the standard Korean romanization:
1. Romanization facilitates information retrieval in American academic databases (e.g. search for 青春 will retrieve different set of records from a search for 청춘 while the romanized "chongchun" will retrieve both sets);
2. Most American academic publishers require standard 
romanization when publishing your articles or books.  A serious 
scholar of Korean Studies will benefit from learning the ALA/LC Romanization rules, which are the standard for all libraries in the western world including USC.