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‘Take the bandages off BTS’: pro-tattoo lawmaker

Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong’s pro-tattoo Facebook post (Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong’s Facebook)
Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong’s pro-tattoo Facebook post (Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong’s Facebook)
Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong of the minor progressive Justice Party posted photos of BTS member Jungkook on Tuesday to gain support for a bill that would legalize and regulate tattooing in South Korea.

Jungkook has tattoos on his hands and arms, but he covers them with bandages when he appears on national television because of a Korea Communications Commission rule against showing tattoos on TV. 

Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong (Yonhap)
Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong (Yonhap)
In lengthy Facebook and Instagram posts, which contained photographs of Jungkook with bandages covering his tattoos, she wrote: “Have you ever seen bandages on your favorite celebrity’s body? This hideous sight, which is often seen on Korean television, was made in accordance with the rules of the broadcasters not to expose tattoos on national television.”

Some BTS fans expressed displeasure at the lawmaker’s posts and accused her of “using a certain K-pop artist for politics.” Comments under the posts said she could have achieved her objective some other way instead of using BTS’ fame to get attention.

Tattoos are becoming popular in Korea. It is estimated that more than 3 million people here have tattoos, but the subject remains a hot issue in Korean society.

In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that only medical professionals could perform tattoo procedures, and nonmedical tattoos are still illegal. 

Ryu said she drafted the bill so that tattooing could become a legal practice regulated by the government. The lawmaker said the legislation would define the requirements for issuing tattooing licenses so that only qualified, skilled tattoo artists could obtain licenses and open tattoo businesses. The law, if passed, would protect artists in the tattoo industry and protect people’s rights to health, hygiene and safety, she argued.

By Yoon Chae-won (choenayoon@heraldcorp.com)   
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