Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Tattoos in Korea: art or a dangerous medical procedure?

Tattoos were once generally thought of in association with gang members but now more and more people think of it as fashion or art.  According to a law that was put in place 25 years ago, all tattoo procedures are considered illegal in Korea unless performed by a medical professional.  
There was a time when majority of the people thought of tattoos as intimidating and disgusting but now the debate on tattoos is at a neck and neck race. 
"Tattoos offer a surprise.  It's an engraved picture so it allows you to see a different side to someone."
"I think tattoos are dangerous.  There can be dangerous side effects and once you get one it's hard to get it erased." 
More than a million people have tattoos and there's a growing number of tattoo artists in Korea.  It's becoming even more prevalent with semi-permanent tattoos for eyebrows, eyeliner, and other types of makeup on the rise.  But did you know that you can't give a tattoo if you're not a medical professional?
"I didn't know that it was illegal [to give a tattoo].  It's the first time I'm hearing that."
"I was completely unaware.  Everyone's getting it done though, aren't they?" 
At the 19th national assembly, there was an attempt to legalize tattooing but the proposal was rejected. A speaker for the Korean Medical Association said, "The act of using a needle to insert chemicals into a person is considered a medical procedure.  Viruses can spread.  It can cause infections and that's dangerous."  On the other hand the chairman of the Korean Tattoo Association argued, "I don't think it's that complicated of a procedure that a specialized doctor has to perform it.  I don't think there's a problem as long as we set rules like disposing of waste materials and following single-use protocols."

Japan and Korea are the only countries where tattooing is illegal.  The chairman said, "I don't know of any other country that sees it as a medical procedure.  They just strictly control it with sanitary practices and licensing.  I know that there's inadequacies but why can't we make it so that people in Korea can receive a license for it instead?"

The speaker for the Korean Medical Association commented, "Our country [compared to other countries] has double the prevalence for hepatitis.  It can spread [through tattooing procedures]."

The tug of war between tattoo as an art and tattoo as a danger continues.

Naver: Artistic or dangerous... an age where millions have tattoos, what's your take on it?

1. [+4772, -213] It's your choice whether you get a tattoo or not but I think it would be much better if legally we can set rules like banning minors from getting it, providing the proper tools, hygiene education, supervision, and license registration.

2. [+4014, -178] Tattoos are okay and all but please don't get couple tattoos......ㅠㅠㅠ you're going to regret it when you break upㅠㅠㅠ

3. [+3780, -491] I heard people regret it when they get older....

4. [+2601, -113] There's a lot of tattoo businesses that don't throw out needles after one use and are just unsanitary.  They even give tattoos to minors without the parents' consent

5. [+1302, -72] The true kind of 'cool' is when you've got a body that's been toned by self-management, tidy clothes and when only smart words come out of your mouth.

6. [+1155, -33] Objectively speaking, men that have so many tattoos just look pitiful.  If you wanna look cool and strong go work out instead,,

7. [+998, -21] I read back then that people use tax money to erase their tattoos. Don't do that

8. [+1082, -91] Tattoos aren't bad, it's just that I've never seen someone with a tattoo that's normal

9. [+860, -31] A few days ago I saw my neighbour.  He's a big guy in his 20s and he got a tattoo on his shoulder.  He was walking around with his head up high and flaunting his shoulder... ugh annoying

10. [+669, -14] Getting a tattoo = your choice but the responsibility is all on you too.

11. [+653, -55] I especially don't like it when I see celebrities getting tattoos and coming out on TV

12. [+491, -20] I don't care whether someone gets a tattoo or not. That's a personal choice but those that get one and then show off their arms acting all though & swearing ㅋㅋ You cute bastards


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