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Does Korea ban tattoo?


Korea is a country known for its rich culture, history, and traditions. One of the things that have been a topic of discussion among foreigners is the ban on tattoos in Korea. People are curious to know whether it is true that Korea bans tattoo and the reasons behind it.

The History of Tattoo in Korea

Tattooing has been a part of Korean culture for centuries. However, it was not until the 20th century that tattoos began to be stigmatized due to their association with criminals and gang members. By the 1990s, tattoos had become synonymous with organized crime in Korea.

The Legal Situation of Tattoo in Korea

Technically speaking, tattooing is not illegal in Korea. However, only licensed medical professionals are allowed to perform tattooing services. This means that tattoo artists who are not licensed can face legal action if caught.

The Social Stigma Surrounding Tattoos in Korea

Even though it is not illegal to get a tattoo in Korea, there is still a significant social stigma attached to it. Many Koreans believe that tattoos are associated with criminality and disobedience. As such, people who have visible tattoos may face discrimination in public places such as swimming pools and fitness centers.

The Reasons Behind the Ban on Tattoos in Korea

The ban on tattoos in Korea has its roots in Confucianism, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining a pure body and soul. Tattoos were seen as a defilement of the body and were associated with criminals and outcasts.

The Perception of Tattoos Among Younger Koreans

Younger Koreans are more open-minded when it comes to tattoos than their parents’ generation. Many young people see tattoos as a form of self-expression and are willing to overlook the social stigma attached to them.

The Rising Popularity of Tattoos in Korea

Despite the ban on tattoos, they have become increasingly popular among younger Koreans. Many young people are willing to take the risk and get a tattoo, even if it means facing discrimination from society.

The Tattoo Industry in Korea

The tattoo industry in Korea is relatively small compared to other countries. This is due to the legal restrictions on tattooing services. However, there are still many talented tattoo artists in Korea who operate underground or in private studios.

The Future of Tattooing in Korea

As younger generations become more accepting of tattoos, it is possible that the ban on tattoos in Korea may be lifted in the future. This would open up new opportunities for the tattoo industry and allow Koreans to express themselves through body art without fear of legal repercussions.

Tips for Getting a Tattoo in Korea

If you are planning on getting a tattoo in Korea, it is important to do your research and find a reputable artist. Look for reviews online and ask for recommendations from friends. It is also essential to understand the legal risks involved and be prepared to face potential discrimination from society.


In conclusion, while it is technically not illegal to get a tattoo in Korea, there are still legal and social restrictions that make it challenging for tattoo enthusiasts. As younger generations become more accepting of tattoos, it is possible that the ban on tattoos in Korea may be lifted in the future. Until then, those who choose to get a tattoo must be prepared to face potential legal action and discrimination from society.

Can foreigners get tattoos in Korea?

Even with restrictions, it is still legal to get a tattoo in Korea and only the artists can face charges, not the clients. To support the artists, you can book an appointment with a South Korean tattooist by following these instructions, also known as a “painting squares”.

Do Korean schools allow tattoos?

It can be challenging to navigate the cultural norms in Korea regarding personal appearance, which are similar to those in Japan. Schools in Korea have strict guidelines, particularly when it comes to tattoos, which should not be visible if covered by a long-sleeve shirt.

Why tattoos are not allowed in Korean shows?

In South Korea, tattoos are associated with gangs and are not considered socially acceptable. As a result, they are blurred on TV shows to comply with censorship guidelines that cover violent or socially unacceptable content. This is similar to how other countries censor violent content in their media.

Can I go to Korea if I have tattoos?

In South Korea, tattoos are not against the law and it is common to see young people with tattoos in various places. (Note: The paraphrase is a direct rewording of the original text and does not add any new information.)

Is it OK to show tattoos in Korea?

Although it is illegal for non-medical practitioners to perform tattoos in South Korea, displaying tattoos in public is not prohibited. Therefore, Kim asserted that it is unreasonable to require individuals to conceal their tattoos in multiuse facilities simply because others may not approve of them. Legally, only medical doctors are permitted to carry out tattooing procedures in South Korea.

Are K pop idols allowed to have tattoos?

In order to perform, individuals must cover any visible tattoos with clothing or flesh-colored patches. This is likely due to South Korea’s strict laws regarding tattoos, which are only legal if done by a medical professional.

Another important thing to keep in mind when getting a tattoo in Korea is to understand the cultural significance of certain symbols and designs. For example, traditional Korean designs such as dragons and tigers may carry a different meaning than they do in Western cultures. It is important to do your research and understand the cultural context of the tattoo you are getting to avoid unintentionally offending someone.

It is also worth noting that some employers in Korea may have strict policies against visible tattoos. This is especially true for those working in more conservative industries such as finance or government. Before getting a tattoo, it may be wise to consider the potential impact it could have on your future job prospects.

Despite the challenges, many people in Korea still choose to get tattoos as a form of self-expression and rebellion against societal norms. The rising popularity of tattoos among younger generations suggests that attitudes towards tattoos in Korea may be changing over time.

Overall, while the ban on tattoos in Korea may make it challenging for tattoo enthusiasts, it is still possible to find talented artists and express yourself through body art. As with any major decision, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits before getting a tattoo and proceed with caution.

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