Tattoos only in the hands of doctors?
When you have a tattoo, you feel confident, content and excited. Looking at the tattoo would make you feel better. There’s no certain explanation, but tattoos have mysterious charms. But tattoos are considered a trademark for gangsters. Recently, some kids from wealthy families intentionally caused a car accident, showing their tattoos and posing as gangsters to intimidate the other party. Tattoos may play a certain function by encouraging abnormal excitement and power trips among gangs.
However, tattoos are no longer an exclusive signature of gangsters. Tattoos have become diversified for cosmetic purposes and have evolved as a fashion genre. For a famous designer’s fashion show, models appeared with tattoos on the runway. Many celebrities and athletes also have tattoos, and young Koreans increasingly opt for tattoos. As life is full of challenges, some people get tattoos for a sense of escape or as a reminder for determination.
Hongdae is a “mecca for tattoos” and more than 300 tattoo parlors thrive there, with some owned by tattoo artists trained abroad. “Tattoo artist” was even included among a list of new professions in creating jobs announced by the government. The tattoo has already become a common fashion item.
However, Seoul and Busan announced that dozens of illegal tattoo parlors have surfaced. Tattoo shops are regularly raided, and the ones that do not comply with standards are considered illegal. According to a new precedent, only doctors are allowed to apply tattoos because of the risk of infection, and those without a medical license will be fined. In fact, some shops use unhygienic tools and harmful ink that pose health risks.
Recently, Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Choon-jin proposed a bill to enact a law on tattoos to establish a licensing system for tattoo artists as well as hygiene standards to regulate tattoo shops. But industry insiders say similar bills have been proposed over several years now, with none passed. They ask, “Is there a doctor in Korea who knows how to apply a tattoo properly when it is only legal to get tattoos from doctors?” Too many people get tattoos to leave the tattoo art in such a legal blind spot, and health of the citizens is also involved. What is a wise solution?
*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By YANG SUNNY