Are Tattoos Banned In Korea? (What’s Allowed And Not Allowed)

Every country in the world is different, having different laws and rules that citizens and travellers have to abide with. Korea has different laws compared to the USA or Australia in regards to tattoos.

Here Is Why Tattoos Are Allowed In Korea:

As a customer you need to be very wise and do your research into the artist or shop you go to (in Korea), as any tattoo artist must have a medical licence to operate in Korea. It would be a good idea to check google reviews and do your own research into the shop or artist first before taking the step about going there.

This is article we have researched all all about Korea, what is allowed in regards to tattooing and what is acceptable practice in the country. Thanks for reading.

Are Tattoos Banned In Korea?

Getting a tattoo in Korea is not illegal. However, you need to ensure that the tattoo artist who will perform this service to you has the required medical license to operate their studios.

What is illegal is for a tattoo artist to run this type of business without proper legal licensing.

This is well documented in article 27 of Korea medical laws, where the unlicensed artist can be punished if found running these types of businesses and can be fined up to $950

Someone must serve in the military for about two years.

Therefore, before one serves in the military, they need to avoid having large tattoos on their body parts for several reasons stipulated in the military rules; one may not be accepted if they have tattoos, they will be accused of committing criminal offenses known as draft dodging.

You may also be subject to social stigmatization if you are spotted with tattoos; many people are viewed or associated with gangster activities and anti-social. Schools, therefore, forbid students from getting tattoos.

Both locals and foreigners are not prohibited from having tattoos.

With globalization, tattoos are increasingly being accepted, and the cultural norm in Korea about a tattoo is fading tattoo activists have been at the forefront of having these outdated tattoo policies that prohibit abolished tattoos in Korea. Many kpop stars in Korea can be seen with tattoos.

Can Girls Get Tattoos In Korea?

Yes, girls can get tattoos in Korea if they reach the legal age. However, girls with visible tattoos are viewed in certain areas in Korea as punk, no-brainers, and cocky.

Some are seen as naughty in the wrong ways, and if you spot a tattoo in the street, you will see people staring at you.

This may prevent you from going into public places with big tattoos, as you will be considered a criminal gang member.

It may also depend on different places in Korea and how visible the tattoos are on girls. Nowadays, many girls have tattoos in visible areas, and they are not afraid to show them off.

If you walk around places where piercing shops are situated, such as Gangnam, Hongdae, or Shinchon, you will spot many ladies with tattoos, and they are not afraid to flaunt them.

An internet poll conducted in Korea showed that Korean men about 12 percent of Korean men would judge women with tattoos negatively.

Majorities have accepted ladies with tattoos, and it’s no longer an issue to them.

The stigmatization of girls with tattoos is fading away where society belied that tattoos ruin the symbolic and physical purity that Korean women used to have.

A lady was only allowed to have a simple ear piercing alone.

Anything beyond that was viewed and tied to the related criminal activity. Additionally, Koreans believe that bodies were gifts from their parents; therefore, girls are not allowed to decorate or mutilate their bodies out of filial piety. But this negative perspective of tattoos ended in the 2,000s.

Globalization has helped tremendously in tattoo acceptance among girls in Korea.

With Koreans featuring among the top 10 groups of international travelers to various destinations worldwide, it has led to widespread exposure of people visiting Korea and residing to bring different global trends like tattooing, making it easy to accept, it is no longer viewed as a rebellion but an attraction among girls.

The majority of young women are more reserved when it comes to tattooing. Therefore they are cautious of where to get tattoos on their body parts. They have a tattoo on hidden places.

Some are using tattoos to make memorable statements. For instance, it may show that a person is not coming from the mainstream.

Girls can still get tattoos, but they will be prohibited from going to specific public areas like swimming pools and public baths to discourage gangsters from vising such places.

How Do You Get A Tattoo In Korea?

The cultural view about tattoos in Korea has changed drastically; people are no longer being stereotyped as anti-social who violate social norms and are viewed as criminals, juvenile delinquents, or gangsters.

The military has also revised its rules on accepting individuals to serve in active services.

As a result, tattoos are gaining popularity among young people because of acceptance. It is estimated that close to 1 to 2 million people get new tattoos yearly.

Here are the steps to follow when you want to get a tattoo in Korea:

(I)Choose a Tattoo design

If you consider getting a tattoo, the first step is to settle for a design you want.

It is advisable to look for inspiration online. Look into sights with tattoos and gather nice pictures of different tattoo styles that you might want that you can present to your chosen artist to help them design your perfect tattoo.

It would be best to start thinking of the body area where you would want the tattoo to be placed.

For instance, if you wish to areas where they may not be visible, the ribs, back areas, or collarbones will be good. If you do not want to experience more pain, sites with more fat will be appropriate.

Areas with less fat, such as the feet and ribs, usually pain a lot. Still, it will depend on your tolerance to pain because different people have different tolerance to pain.

Another option of getting a tattoo design is to look for designs that a Korean artist already has. Many articles in Korea use their Instagram pages to showcase their work. Therefore, visit their pages, and you will find hundreds of different designs to pick from.

(II)Finding your tattoo artist

Instagram is the best place to locate a tattoo artist in Korea.

Many artists use Instagram to showcase their work. Most of these artists will advertise their “special events “where you can get a small design tattoo cheaply for as little as 30,000 KRW.

You can contact a tattoo artist on kakao if you love their showcased work to make an appointment and discuss a design you want. It would be best to find out if the artist can be able to speak English.

A translation app can help communicate whatever you want with an artist and present your ideas to get the best service and concept.

Korean tattoos are unique compared to others performed elsewhere. There is a wide variety of licensed artists everywhere in Korea with different styles. Therefore, it is easy to find a tattoo artist to perform this service to you.

You can also use a search engine to find licensed physicians allowed to perform tattoos in Korea on different websites and discuss the payment and their service before booking an appointment.

Most of them will require that you book an appointment and make a deposit first. It is essential to read reviews to settle for the best artist. You can tell a good artist by their response to your questions and the feedback from their previous clients.

The legal age for one to get a tattoo in South Korea is when they turn 18 years.

If found breaking this rule, licensed doctors who can operate such a business may face the law.

However, many unlicensed underground parlous are running that don’t follow the law and may break these rules.

Tattoos are also prohibited in schools all over Korea. Therefore, one can be expelled from school if they have tattoos because of their association with criminal activities.

Are Kpop Idols Allowed To Have Tattoos?

Kpop idols can have tattoos if they want, and many of them do have tattoos. However, the only issue is the Korean Broadcast laws prohibit them from appearing on shows with visible tattoos.

Therefore, pop idols with tattoos on their bodies will appear on shows wearing clothing covering their tattoos or using tape to cover their tattoos.

If one wants to be a pop star in Korea, you need to be ready to obey clauses about not showing your tattoos on set.

Can The Military Get Tattoos In Korea?

Yes, the military can get tattoos in Korea. Initially, men who served in the military were not accepted if they had big tattoos on their body parts.

And at some point, they were taken but given grade four which allows them only to serve in the military and perform non-active roles in places such as city halls, government agencies, local community centres, and public facilities like subway stations.

However, the military revised these rules in 2014, so individuals with heavy tattoos in Korea will no longer avoid serving in the military in active duty services capacity deliberately by getting tattoos on their body to fail the military requirement test.

Negative social perception about people with tattoos has also changed drastically.

Therefore, the military department did not see any reason to prohibit people from joining the military when they have tattoos. They see individuals with tattoos as ordinary people who can perform their regular military duties.

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