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Home > Culture > Entertainment > K-pop artists with meaningful tattoos, from BTS’ Jimin to EXO’s Chanyeol
K-pop artists with meaningful tattoos, from BTS’ Jimin to EXO’s Chanyeol

Every K-pop fan knows that their favourite K-pop artists are true pros at expressing their artistic selves. Whether it’s through elaborate performances, soulful tunes, stylish outfits, or trendy hair colours, they leave no stone unturned. However, tattoos are one form of self-expression which they tend to keep somewhat private, owing to the negative stereotypes surrounding tattoos and inked skin in South Korean culture.

In the socially conservative South Korea, it is believed that people with tattoos tend to be antisocial, criminals, gangsters, or juvenile delinquents. Although these beliefs are gradually changing, tattoos can only be administered by doctors with a medical license in the country and are largely banned on national television.

Many young K-pop artists are now challenging those outdated norms and are seen flaunting gorgeous tattoos through their social media pages or during live performances or photoshoots. From Jimin to Soojin, several beloved K-pop have tattoos that inspire fans to get inked too.

(Main and featured image credit: Jungkook/@abcdefghi__lmnopqrstuvwxyz/Instagram)

7 K-pop artists who express themselves through tattoos:

BTS’s Jimin

Sending the BTS army in a frenzy, the K-pop band’s member, Jimin, was recently spotted with two new tattoos as an addition to his ever-growing collection of amazing body art. Eagle-eyed fans spotted the freshly-done ink while he was performing at the ‘Permission to Dance’ concert on 10 March, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.

The images of the tattoos captured by eager fans went viral on Twitter as the BTS ARMY swooned over Jimin’s new tattoos and speculated the meaning behind them. The two new tattoo designs include a minimalistic crescent moon on the nape of the K-pop artist’s neck and delicate cursive lettering behind his ear, both done in beautiful black ink.

It is still not confirmed whether the tattoos are permanent or temporary, but either way, the fans seem to be lapping it up. Jimin is known to have at least four other tactfully hidden tattoos on his arms and sides in addition to the newer ones.

Although fans have not figured out what his moon and cursive tattoos symbolise yet, most of his tattoos have deep personal meanings attached to them, including dedications to his BTS fans and his music.

(G)I-DLE’s Soojin

The popular K-pop girl group (G)I-DLE’s members are known for their love for dainty and tiny tattoos. The former member Soojin has the most significant collection of eight known tattoos, strategically engraved on different parts of her body.

Her most popular ones include the minimalist outline of a heart on her shoulder, a cross on her back, a quote that says ‘self-love is the best love’ on the back of her arm, the word ‘BLUE’ on the nape of her neck and the number 1849 on the back of her hand.

Lending a more edgy, cool and spunky aesthetic to the girl group’s signature style, Soojin’s tattoos magnificently stand out during her live performances and photoshoots.

Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Tiffany

 

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The beloved K-pop girl group’s singers Taeyeon and Tiffany love flaunting inconspicuous, minimalistic fine-line tattoos on various locations on their bodies. A tattoo shop famous for their teeny tiny designs, Playground Tattoo, is frequented by Taeyeon to get her delicately feminine inkwork done. Sporting meaningful words such as ‘cool’, ’serenity’ and ‘purpose’, on her fingers and the nape of her neck, the micro tattoos definitely elevate her on-stage looks.

Similarly, Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany also has tiny, barely-there tattoos on her fingers, ribs and feet. Done by the famous celebrity tattoo artist, Jonathan ‘JonBoy’ Valena, who has inked the likes of Justin Beiber, Hailey Baldwin-Beiber, Sofia Richie and Zayn Malik, Tiffany’s tiny tattoos are no less than a pure work of art.

BTS’ Jungkook

BTS’s Jungkook’s immense love for tattoos is evident from the diverse collection of tattoos scattered all over his body, the latest being a full sleeve of intricate inkwork stretching up to his fingers. In spite of his ardent love for the art of tattooing, there aren’t many instances where Jungkook’s tattoos have been in full public display.

This may be due to the stigma attached to tattoos in South Korea. He has gradually become more comfortable with sharing his tattoos, piercings and other forms of creative self-expression and even flaunted his beautiful finger tattoos on the cover of Vogue Korea.

Some of his eye-catching tattoos include BTS’s iconic debut date 0613 paired with the letters ARMY, emoji symbols, a delicate crown and a J on his fingers. He also has a tiger flower and the words ‘Please Love Me’ written behind it.

Although Jungkook graces the loyal BTS ARMY with glimpses of his attractive tattoos from time to time, he keeps them mostly hidden with skin-coloured tapes or full-sleeved clothing during official award shows or variety shows. This is done to achieve a more formal attire and sober aesthetic.

Hyolyn

The former member of the South Korean girl group Sistar and their subunit Sistar19, Hyolyn’s best-known tattoo is the huge cross artfully drawn on her abdominal area. In 2018, she opened up about the multiple surgeries she had to get on her belly when she was just a baby, and the gnarly cross-shaped scar that it left behind.

Hyolyn was born with congenital biliary atresia, a medical issue concerning the bile duct, generally found in newborns. She revealed that she had battled with low self-esteem and self-image issues due to the scarring on her stomach.

She finally decided to own her battle scars and simultaneously covered up as well as enhanced it with a massive black-and-white cross tattoo, which helped her regain her confidence. While explaining what her tattoo means she said: “It signifies religion and it means to sing for somebody.”

EXO’s Chanyeol

 

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Marking his love, devotion and gratitude towards his die-hard fans, EXO’s Chanyeol tattooed the date L-1485 on his wrist. The L in his tattoo stands for EXO-Ls. The numbers represent the day on which the EXO fan club was created, which is 5 August, 2014.

Apart from this tattoo, Chanyeol has an abstract design of a guitar on his right arm and the word ‘LOEY’ on his middle finger. The K-pop rapper also has a monkey inked on his right arm, symbolising the ‘Year of the Monkey’ 1992, his birth year, along with a minimalist arrow on his forearm.

The article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Eesha Kulkarni
Eesha is a passionate digital nomad with a master’s degree in architecture and industrial design from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. A jack of all trades who enjoys writing art, architecture, travel and lifestyle features, she is found petting dogs, taking walks in nature and sniffing books in her free time.
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