Tattooing is illegal in South Korea, but this artist does it anyway

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I would never have imagined they were illegal in South Korea.

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In South Korea tattoos have long been seen as a symbol of violence, membership to a gang, or at the very least, rebellion against mainstream culture.

They were that way for a long, long time.

Now they are main stream in the US. When you got grandmas and preachers getting tattoos, they are no longer rebellion and counter culture.

I wonder how long for the paradigm to change there.

Fun Fact - no tattoos, but if someone put a gun to my head and made met get one, I would get a red mythosaur on a field of white or maybe UV, with yellow around it. Basically Boba Fett’s shoulder pad thingy.

My desire to do this -pretty low.


That was excellent. The reporter asked really compelling questions and didn’t step on her responses, especially when they got into icky territory. Spoiler alert: toxic masculinity is a global issue.


It goes in cycles. Winston Churchill’s mother (who was American) had a tattoo. So did King George V.


Really? Of what?


A snake coiled around her wrist, apparently.


Hard core!


She was also (allegedly) a quarter Iroquois: so would that make Churchill Britain’s first Prime Minister of colour?

I do hope so: it would be brilliant for winding up the gammons.


Many members of British royalty and the upper levels of society had tattoos, they just weren’t obvious, and when you consider the style of dress and attitudes to the display of bare skin, it’s little surprise that tattoos, while popular, were hidden away.


What?!? Was she a pagan?

“Look at the priest in his gold robes! That’s the bishop Patricius, they say he drove all the snakes out of his own country…think of that! Do you think he fought them with sticks?”

“It’s a way of saying he drove out all the Druids…they are called serpents of wisdom,” Morgaine said.

-from The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I’m surprised it’s illegal - seems like I’ve seen enough K-pop stars with tattoos, and the way they’re talked about in Korean tv shows, that it didn’t seem like that big a deal. Now I’m wondering just how illegal it is - how much the law is enforced, and what the penalties are. Saying something is illegal doesn’t mean much, as that covers a range from “de facto legal in that the law is never, ever enforced” and “you get life in prison.” Trying to find information on the internet doesn’t enlighten me much - it sounds like it’s highly inconsistently enforced, and businesses get shut down, but I have no idea if people actually do jail time or just get fines.

The juxtaposition of talking about how it’s illegal along with her being interviewed in her black pandemic mask is funny - suddenly she’s not just a tattoo artist, but a very cool outlaw.

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Why the hell would I want to put a mark on myself that makes it easier for others to identify me? Sorry, man, tattoo’s kinda dumb, imo. Not unlike burning and inhaling tobacco fumes, makes me always think… why?

He got his tattoo when he was in the Royal Navy.

In 1881 on a visit to Japan, George had a local artist tattoo a blue and red dragon on his arm,[5] and was received in an audience by the Emperor Meiji; George and his brother presented Empress Haruko with two wallabies from Australia.[6]


From a pragmatic standpoint, there is no reason. But then … it’s art. Why paint the cave wall? Why sculpt a person when there are thousands of people walking around? Why sing when it makes you stand out? ( etc etc )

Not knocking your opinion - I don’t have tattoos, either, so we have that in common - but as a ‘why do people do this thing’ it doesn’t seem to take that much empathy to figure out.


Huh. My kid came back from living in South Korea for 18 months with a tattoo about 6 years ago. It may be illegal to tattoo without a medical liscence there, but it’s not really enforced.

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