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  • 작성자 사진Kim Jae-hyun

[Culture] Interesting Information about Tattoos

No 153 / Sep 6, 2021

People are painting their skin for their individuality. Painting on the skin is called tattoo, and in the past, there were many negative views about such people. People viewed them as “bad guys.” Recently, however, it is regarded as a sign of personality, and the art is better appreciated as more people get tattoos. According to the Korea Tattoo Association, there are 20,000 tattooists registered with the association and three million people have received tattoos. Celebrities are also not a fraid of getting tattoos; rather, they show off their tattoos to the public. Where did tattoos start and what genres exist these days when the perception of tattoos is changing?

Tattoos have existed since ancient times. Tattoos, which once carried used in a magical sense, were used in many ways, by members of a tribe for health, and by warriors. In the case of the Maori people, tattoos also symbolized their status. Korea also has a record of tattooing in ancient times, but it was also used as a punishment. Tattoos have evolved from ancient times to modern times, and there are many genres of tattoos. To introduce some of them, the Old School was written in the late 18th century to sailors and soldiers who went out to sea, with tattoos such as anchors, sharks, and ships. Irezumi is a Japanese word for tattoo or genre. It has tattoos in many countries and draws carp, dragons, tigers, etc. Lettering is a tattoo that embeds letters and has a charm in meaning and simplicity. In addition, there are many genres, such as linework and skulification.

As in the case of many genres, tattoos also have multiple meanings. A carp symbolizes wealth, honor, etc. A skeleton has the meaning of avoiding or preventing death or accidents. A rose symbolizes passionate love, but it also implies fun, which varies slightly depending on the color. However, if there is a good meaning, there is also a bad meaning tattoo. Typically, the tear tattoo under the eyes means a killer or long-term prisoner, and three dots represent gang members, and Evil, Wicked, Mean, Nasty (EWMN) is a tattoo that many American prisoners have.

Tattoos, which have many meanings and genres, are illegal only in Korea. Last year, Japan decided to legalize tattooing, making South Korea the only country where tattoos are illegal. After the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that, “Tattooing is a medical act,” people with non-medical tattoos can be sentenced to up to five years in prison or fined up to 50 million won. There are continuous pros and cons to this policy. The pros of legalizing tattoos are based on changes in the perception of tattoos and the growth of the tattoo market, while the cons are opposed because of concerns about hygiene and infection during tattoo procedures and confusion in the scope of medical work.


By Kim Jae-hyun, AG Reporter

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