Korea Media Rating Board

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Korea Media Rating Board
Revised RomanizationYeongsangmul Deunggeup Wiwonhoe
McCune–ReischauerYŏngsangmul Tŭnggŭp Wiwŏnhoe

The Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) is a ratings organization in South Korea. They rate movies, videos, stage performances, and phonogrames. The current chairperson is Kyung-Soon Lee. It was founded in 1966 as "South Korea Art and Culture Ethics Committee" before changing into current name in 1999.

Initially, the KMRB also rated video and computer games; However, they rated a gambling game machine called Sea Story (Bada Iyagi) as if it were an ordinary game, due to a bribe, confusing the Korean game industry.[1] After some controversy, the Korean government established the Game Rating Board for rating games in 2006.


Ratings are determined on films, videos, stage performances, and advertising. Stage performances have been rated ALL, Teenager restricted, or not rated. Advertisements have generally been rated ALL or not rated.[2] The media that is rated includes:

  • Nationally produced movies
  • Foreign movies
  • Advertisements on:
    • previews
    • posters
    • newspapers
    • notice boards

Film ratings[edit]

KMRB ratings

The Korea Media Rating Board (영상물등급위원회) in Seoul divides licensed films into the following categories:[2][3]

  • All (전체 관람가) – Film suitable for all ages.
  • 12 (12세 이상 관람가) – Film intended for audiences 12 and over. Underage audiences accompanied by a parent or guardian are allowed.
  • 15 (15세 이상 관람가) – Film intended for audiences 15 and over. Underage audiences accompanied by a parent or guardian are allowed.
  • R (청소년 관람불가) – No one under 18 is allowed to watch this film.[4])
  • Restricted (same as Teenager restricted, but limits release to "special theater" venues[4])
  • Restricted Screening (제한상영가) – Film needs a certain restriction in screening or advertisement as it is considered a highly bad influence to universal human dignity, social value, good customs or national emotion due to excessive expression of nudity, violence, social behavior, etc (technically not an age restriction but films with this rating may only be screened at "adults only" theaters, with the age of majority set at 19).

TV program ratings[edit]

South Korea[edit]

The South Korean television rating system has been in force since 2000, and it started with only four classifications which are All, 7, 13 and 18. In February 2001, all programs except domestic dramas (which had been enforced since November 2002) has required to have a rating system. In 2007, rating 13 was changed into 12 and a new rating, 15 is introduced. Most programs have to be rated, except the "exempt" rating below. Even if it qualifies for being exempt, a broadcaster may apply a rating.[5]

Example of Korean TV rating icons.
  • Republic_Of_Korea_Broadcasting-TV_Rating_System(ALL).svg All (모든 연령 시청가, Mo-deun yeon-ryeong si-cheong-ga): This rating is for programming that is appropriate for all ages. Television programs with this rating may contain some violence and/or some mild language. No adult content is allowed.
  • Republic_Of_Korea_Broadcasting-TV_Rating_System(7).svg 7 (7세 이상 시청가, chil-se ii-sang si-cheong-ga): Children under 7 are prohibited from watching this program/film. Children aged 7-8 may watch this program/film, but must be accompanied by an adult. Television programs with this rating can contain mild violence, mild language and few romance.[6]
  • Republic_Of_Korea_Broadcasting-TV_Rating_System(12).svg 12 (12세 이상 시청가, sib-i-se i-sang si-cheong-ga): Children under 12 are prohibited from watching this program/film. Television programs with this rating may contain horror, some fantasy violence, some sexual content, little use of strong language, mild blood, and/or mild suggestive themes.
  • Republic_Of_Korea_Broadcasting-TV_Rating_System(15).svg 15 (15세 이상 시청가, sib-o-se i-sang si-cheong-ga): Children under 15 are prohibited from watching this program/film. TV shows with this rating may contain use of alcohol, more sexual content, mild violence or little strong violence, major blood or gore, and/or suggestive themes.
  • Republic_Of_Korea_Broadcasting-TV_Rating_System(19).svg 19 (19세 이상 시청가, sip-gu-se i-sang si-cheong-ga): Children under 19 are prohibited from watching this program/film. 19-rated programming is banned from airing during the hours of 7:00AM to 9:00AM, and 1:00PM to 10:00PM. Programs that receive this rating will almost certainly have adult themes, sexual situations, strong language and disturbing scenes of violence.
  • Exempt (no icon or name): This rating is only for knowledge based game shows; lifestyle shows; documentary shows; news; current topic discussion shows; education/culture shows; sports that excludes MMA or other violent sports; and other programs that the Korea Communications Standards Commission recognizes. Disclaimer or rating icons are not needed.

Rating icons may be transparent, and can be positioned either on the upper-left or upper-right corner of the screen. The icon has a size of at least 1/20 of the screen, and has black writing on a yellow circle with a white outline. These icons are shown for 30 seconds when the program starts, and are shown again every 10 minutes, and when the program resumes after commercial breaks. This does not apply to 19-rated programs, where the icon must be visible throughout the entire program. These regulations do not apply to the "All" rating, as it does not have an icon. A rating disclaimer is displayed on the start of the program for five seconds explaining "This program is prohibited for children under the age of X, so parental accompaniment is required"(이 프로그램은 X세 미만의 어린이/청소년이 시청하기에 부적절하므로 보호자의 시청지도가 필요한 프로그램입니다, I peu-ro-geu-raem eun "X: se-mi-man ui eo rin-i/cheong-so nyeon-i si cheong hagi e bu-jeok jeol ha-meu robo hoja ui si cheong-ji doga pir-yo han peu-ro-geu-raem ipnida) for 7, 12, and 15 ratings. "All" and "19" ratings have a different disclaimer, which say "This program is suitable for all ages"(이 프로그램은 모든 연령의 시청자가 시청할 수 있는 프로그램입니다) and "This program is prohibited for children under the age of 19"(이 프로그램은 19세 미만의 청소년이 시청하기에 부적절한 프로그램입니다) respectively.

These ratings are used by all South Korean television broadcasters. Despite being intended for viewing outside of the country, KBS World also uses these ratings.

South Korean television ratings do not include content descriptors or advisories as they do in other nations. The ratings are therefore used in a broader sense.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2013.11.05  Tue. "News in Zoom/News/KBS World Radio". World.kbs.co.kr. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  2. ^ a b "Classification: Categories". Seoul: Korea Media Rating Board. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  3. ^ Lee, Claire (7 August 2013). "Media Rating Board OKs Screening of Kim Ki-duk's Controversial 'Moebius'". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Media Rating Board OKs screening of Kim Ki-duk's controversial 'Moebius'-프린트화면". Koreaherald.com. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  5. ^ Kim, Su-jin (2009-11-10). "TV 드라마의 등급 분류 기준은?" (in Korean). 매일경제. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
  6. ^ "7세 시청가".