6 K-pop idols with tattoos who aren’t afraid to flaunt them, from BTS’ Jungkook, Got7’s Jackson Wang and Twice’s Chaeyoung, to Jay Park, Hyolyn and Hyuna – who matches with her fiancé Dawn
Many of us already know about the rules forced on K-pop artists by their agencies, but did you know that television shows enforce rules too? From having to cover up their belly buttons, to only being allowed to show one nipple, idols have to follow a set of (sometimes weird) guidelines set by the Korean television industry.
Another rule that K-pop idols must follow is the covering up of tattoos. They must use clothing or flesh-coloured patches to cover up any body art that might be visible during their performances. This likely has to do with Korea’s conservative views on tattoos: they are considered illegal in South Korea, except when done by a medical professional.
You would think that this would stop stars from getting tattoos in the first place, but that’s not always the case. So which K-pop idols have been inked – and are proudly flaunting it?
1. BTS’ Jungkook
While he spent a long time in his career hiding his tattoos from the public, BTS’ Jungkook has started confidently showing them off. The star wore short-sleeved shirts in season two of BTS In the Soop, and in a video for Vanity Fair, allowing fans a glimpse at his arm art.
Jungkook has a full sleeve of tattoos featuring a snake, tiger, clock and flower, among others. His more sentimental tattoos include the number 7 behind his ear (a friendship tattoo shared by all members of BTS), and the word “Army” across his knuckles.
His fans seem to love his ink: according to Koreaboo, he started trending on Twitter after a behind-the-scenes video of the band’s 2021 Muster Sowoozoo event showed off the tattoos on his right arm.
2. Twice’s Chaeyoung
Twice’s Chaeyoung is no stranger to performing with body tape on to hide her tattoos. However, she likes to show them off when she can, especially in Twice’s dance practice videos and on social media.
Her biggest tattoo seems to be on her lower back, where it has been glimpsed during several dance numbers, but she has yet to do a full reveal. Chaeyoung’s other notable tattoos are a pair of lips on her left wrist in Twice’s official colours, a shot through the heart behind her ear, and a self-designed fish tattoo by her left elbow.
3. Jay Park
Jay Park is a K-pop veteran known for his prominent tattoos. Most his public appearances are concerts and music videos, allowing him to appear without covering up his ink. It helps that he frequently performs shirtless, giving fans a closer look at his body art.
Most recognisable to his fans is his tattoo of a lion, which covers his entire left pectoral muscle. Other tattoos reference his music career: he has an AOMG tattoo on his leg (the name of the entertainment agency he founded), and the words “New Breed” (the title of his first album) on his left hand.
In an episode of Life Bar, singer-songwriter Hyolyn admitted that she got a tattoo on her tummy for more than just aesthetic reasons: she had a cross-shaped scar from two previous stomach surgeries that caused her to feel insecure and hunch over.
She decided to cover it up with a tattoo of the same shape, and she later shared that getting it helped greatly with her insecurity: “After getting the tattoo, my complex disappeared. I developed confidence,” she said.
5. Got7’s Jackson Wang
Among them were the Chinese character “福” (meaning good fortune or luck); a lantern, which he said reminded him of lantern festivals when he was a boy; and his parents’ Chinese zodiac signs.
The largest is on her left shoulder, which reads, “My mother is the heart that keeps me alive.” According to Channel-Korea, a representative from Cube Entertainment explained that Hyuna got the tattoo as a dedication to her mother, whom she had been apart from for a while at the time.
- Jungkook has a full sleeve of tattoos on his arm and the word ‘Army’ across his knuckles, while Jay Park’s frequent shirtless appearances show off the lion on his left pec
- Hyolyn has a cross to cover old surgery scars while Hyuna and Dawn have matching designs on their hands – but why are tattoos controversial in South Korea in the first place?