The calendar borrows elements from two historical calendars used in Korea, the traditional system of Korean era names and the Gregorian calendar in which years are tied to the birth of Jesus. In contrast to these two, the Juche calendar begins with the birth of the leader, Kim Il-sung.
The decree on the Juche calendar was adopted on 8 July 1997, on the third anniversary of the death of Kim Il-sung. The same decree also designated the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung as the Day of the Sun. The birth year of Kim Il-sung, 1912 in the Gregorian calendar, became "Juche 1" in the North Korean calendar. Thus, the year 2011 is "Juche 100", and so on.
The calendar began to be implemented on 9 September 1997, the Day of the Foundation of the Republic. On that date, newspapers, news agencies, radio stations, public transport, and birth certificates began to use Juche years.
The year 1912 is "Juche 1" in the North Korean calendar. There are no "before Juche 1" years, and years before 1912 are given numbers based on the Christian calendar only. Ranges of years that begin before 1912 and end after it are also given in Christian calendar numbers only.
Any other years after 1912 will be given in either Juche years only, or in Juche years and the corresponding year in the Christian calendar in parentheses. In material pertaining to relations with foreign countries, "the Juche Era and the christian era may be used on the principles of independence, equality and reciprocity. "