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Can you show tattoos in Korea on TV?

Can You Show Tattoos in Korea on TV?

Tattoos have become increasingly popular worldwide, but in some countries, they still carry a certain stigma. In Korea, tattoos have been associated with criminal activity and are often seen as taboo. As such, many people wonder if it is possible to show tattoos on TV in Korea. This article aims to answer that question and provide insight into the cultural significance of tattoos in Korea.

The Cultural Significance of Tattoos in Korea

In Korea, tattoos have historically been associated with gangsters and criminals. Many Koreans still hold onto this stereotype, and as such, tattoos are not widely accepted in mainstream society. Tattoos are often viewed as a sign of rebellion or a lack of respect for traditional culture. This perception has improved slightly in recent years, but tattoos are still not widely accepted.

The Legal Status of Tattoos in Korea

Tattoos are not illegal in South Korea, but they are classified as a medical procedure and can only be performed by licensed medical professionals. This means that tattoo artists must operate in a legal grey area and may face legal consequences if caught by authorities. Despite this, there are still many tattoo shops operating in Seoul and other major cities.

TV Regulations Regarding Tattoos in Korea

The Korean Broadcasting Standards Commission (KBSC) regulates what can be shown on TV in Korea. According to their guidelines, tattoos can be shown on TV as long as they do not promote or glorify them. If a tattoo is shown, it must be blurred or censored to avoid offending viewers who may have conservative views on tattoos.

The Impact of K-Pop on Tattoo Culture

K-Pop has gained immense popularity worldwide and has had a significant impact on Korean culture. Many K-Pop stars have tattoos, and as such, tattoos are becoming more accepted by younger generations. However, there is still a divide between the older and younger generations when it comes to tattoos.

Tattoos in Korean Entertainment

Korean entertainment has been known to feature tattoos in their programming. In some cases, actors or performers may wear temporary tattoos for their roles. In other cases, tattoos may be visible but blurred or censored to avoid offending viewers.

International Influence on Tattoo Culture in Korea

The influence of Western culture has also played a role in changing attitudes towards tattoos in Korea. As more Koreans travel abroad and are exposed to different cultures, they may become more accepting of tattoos. However, this shift in attitudes is slow and gradual.

The Future of Tattoos in Korea

As Korean society becomes more open and progressive, it is possible that attitudes towards tattoos will continue to change. However, this change will likely be slow and incremental. It may take years for tattoos to become fully accepted in mainstream society.

Alternative Ways to Express Yourself in Korea

If you’re interested in self-expression but don’t want to get a tattoo, there are other ways to express yourself in Korea. For example, you can experiment with fashion or hair styles. You can also express yourself through art or music.

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Tattoo in Korea

If you’re considering getting a tattoo in Korea, there are several pros and cons to consider. On the one hand, Korean tattoo artists are known for their skill and attention to detail. On the other hand, getting a tattoo may still carry some stigma in Korean society.


Tattoos are becoming more accepted in Korea, but they are still not widely accepted in mainstream society. If you’re considering getting a tattoo, it’s important to be aware of the cultural significance and legal status of tattoos in Korea. While attitudes towards tattoos may continue to change, it will likely be a slow and gradual process.

Why do Koreans cover their tattoos on TV?

Although K-Pop stars are not strictly prohibited from getting tattoos, the Korean television industry has not fully embraced this trend, and there exist regulations prohibiting the display of tattoos onscreen. As a result, it is common to see K-Pop artists like Taeil from the group Block B wearing large sweaters and covering their tattoos with tape.

Are kpop idols allowed to show tattoos?

Performers in South Korea are required to cover up their tattoos with clothing or skin-colored patches during their shows due to the country’s strict laws regarding tattoos. In South Korea, tattoos are generally illegal unless performed by a licensed medical professional.

How do Koreans view tattoos?

Historically, tattoos were seen as a form of mutilation or a sign of punishment or ownership. During the period of Japanese occupation, Korean gangs began using tattoos to identify themselves, adopting the style of the yakuza. These cultural and legal associations are still difficult for older Koreans to shake off.

Can tourists have tattoos in South Korea?

In South Korea, tattoos are not forbidden and it’s common to see young people with them. However, it is against the law to get a tattoo as it is considered a medical procedure and only licensed medical professionals are allowed to perform it.

Can kdrama actors have tattoos?

It is well-known that Korean actors generally do not have tattoos, partly due to the hassle of covering them up while filming, but also because of the negative stereotypes associated with tattoos. It should be noted that in Korea, getting a tattoo from a non-medical practitioner is still considered illegal.

Do Korean schools allow tattoos?

Similar to Japan, Korea has a society that values tradition and customs, and schools have high expectations when it comes to personal grooming. One of the most significant requirements is that tattoos should not be visible (if they can be concealed by a long-sleeve shirt, that would be acceptable), and facial hair should be neatly trimmed. This standard applies as of March 13, 2023.

It’s worth noting that the stigma surrounding tattoos in Korea is not unique to this country. Many cultures around the world have similar attitudes towards tattoos, especially those associated with criminal activity or rebellion. However, it’s important to remember that tattoos can have many different meanings and are a form of self-expression for many people.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo in Korea, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable tattoo artist. Look for someone who is licensed and has experience working with foreigners, as language barriers can sometimes be an issue. You should also be prepared to pay a higher price for a tattoo in Korea, as it is a medical procedure and requires specialized training.

Finally, it’s important to remember that getting a tattoo is a personal decision and should not be taken lightly. Tattoos are permanent, and while they can be removed or covered up, it’s best to think carefully about what you want before going under the needle. If you’re unsure about getting a tattoo, consider trying temporary tattoos or henna designs first to see how you feel about them.

In conclusion, while tattoos may still carry some stigma in Korean society, attitudes are slowly changing, especially among younger generations. If you’re interested in self-expression through tattoos, it’s important to be aware of the cultural significance and legal status of tattoos in Korea. With careful research and consideration, you can find a reputable tattoo artist and express yourself through this unique art form.

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