This Question Came to My Inbox: “Does the Korean actress Han So Hee have a tattoo?”

Some Koreans are beginning to get tattoos. However, it is not a mainstream thing in S. Korea. When I was teaching a university class, one of the students was thinking about getting one, and she decided to ask her classmates if she should get one, and they all emphatically told her “no!” You see, technically, there are tattoo parlors in Korea, but not many because they are technically illegal.

Neither the dress nor the tattoos would fly in S. Korea. Tattoos are illegal, and the Koreans would be trying to cover her arms because arms are considered too sexy, and nice girls don’t uncover their arms in S. Korea. They have special lace jackets nice girls wear in the summer so they don’t show their arms in S. Korea. Photo by Gabriela Cheloni on Pexels.com

And, if an actress happens to have a tattoo, she probably won’t be revealing it to the public. You see, there is a kind of code on the people in the public eye in S. Korea. They must be completely upstanding as far as S. Korean values. If they are caught with drugs, sleeping around, getting drunk, lying, cheating, etc. they will lose their jobs, and the other people who hire for their type of positions will not hire them. In America, we have tried to separate the politician or the actor or actress from their lives saying, “As long as it doesn’t effect their job, we should leave them alone,” but Koreans don’t feel that way. I was surprised to find out that corn ribs like are worn by some black people are even considered a big no-no if you want the Korean people to accept you. They want nothing that even suggests shady or edgy, and to them, corn ribs or dread locks suggest shady or edgy. So, if that actress has a tattoo, you may never actually know because she will be hiding it because of the attitudes of the other S. Koreans. This goes for actors and actresses, singers, and politicians too.

This girl’s braids and nose ring would never make it in S. Korea. Koreans just don’t understand this kind of thing at all. It could be part of this woman’s culture, but it is not culture the S. Koreans want. Photo by Ezekixl Akinnewu on Pexels.com

I have seen people lose their jobs and careers in S. Korea over some things that would just be blinked at in other places. I saw an African woman pushed out of her job in S. Korea because she was wearing corn ribs, and her co workers thought she must be a gangster. There was even one retired president who the people suspected of cheating, and he killed himself out of the shame. The moral code in S. Korea can be extremely strict!

After growing up with marijuana being illegal in America and recreational drugs non existent in S. Korea, it has a huge shock to me after fourteen years out of the States to come back and find Americans opening up businesses on street corners where they sell this stuff. Even though with sleeveless blouses and corn ribs not bothering me at all, if they have the same reaction to these things that I have had to seeing the marijuana shops, I understand and can’t blame them. All these things are completely foreign to them, and they don’t want to bring them into their country. Photo by Michael Fischer on Pexels.com

There was a K-pop singer who was caught with marijuana in Japan, and he was fired. He was at the top, but he had to start at the bottom trying to work his way back up again because none of the directors or producers would touch him. I could continue, but it is the Korean mindset. They only want the purest of the pure in the public eye. If that actress has a tattoo, if she has half a brain and wants to keep her job, she will keep it covered. Advertising in a movie or on TV is not very smart if what you have done is technically illegal.

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