If you’re familiar with K-pop culture, then you’ve probably noticed that tattoos are heavily censored in media. When an idol has tattoos, it’s either they cover it up with long sleeves or are straight-up blurred out on live television. This goes hand in hand with the stigma tattoos carry in the Korean society, with the tattooing industry itself being taken underground due to its illegal status.
However, this isn’t stopping South Korea’s younger generation from getting tattoos as a form of fashion, art, and self-expression. These days, more and more K-pop idols are getting inked as well, and it’s not just the guys too! Your favorite female idols are flaunting their tattoos on Instagram, music videos, and promo shoots, and boy, do they look damn good. And their tats actually vary from cute little micro pieces to daring designs that cover entire body parts.
Thinking of having a new tattoo done? Maybe these popular female idols can inspire you in choosing your next design! Run through this list of Korean celebrities breaking the norm.
ONCEs have been aware of Chaeyoung’s tattoos since she started getting them at an early age. She has a number of them on her arms, neck, and fingers, with her iconic cherry tomatoes being the most renowned one. Meanwhile, the lips tattoo on her wrist symbolizes her love for her group TWICE as well as herself. Recently, her ink gained more traction at an Oh Boy! magazine shoot, where she showcased her arm tattoos in full view. Fans thanked the magazine for “letting her tattoos breathe.”
Amber, formerly from the girl group f(x), was never one to stick to society’s standards. She’s one of the very few androgynous idols in the industry and is also known for having full-arm sleeves of tattoos. Ever since departing from SM Entertainment in 2019 and becoming more US-based, she’s been exposing her tat sleeves a lot on Instagram, which looked amazing on her shoots with brands like Nike. If you’ve been thinking of having tattoo sleeves done, you might want to browse through Amber’s social media accounts for pegs.
Hyuna is another idol who’s been having tattoos done since she was young, even during her 4Minute days. One of her most iconic ones would be the tattoo she inked in for her mom, which reads “My mother is the heart that keeps me alive” on her back. She also has multiple mini tats all over her body, including a cross, a heart, colorful smiley faces, and Latin text. Hyuna and her long-term boyfriend Dawn love flaunting their tats on Instagram, so for inspiration, go check their accounts.
Girls' Generation's Taeyeon and Tiffany
Taeyeon and Tiffany seem to be huge fans of small, minimalist tattoos. Taeyeon has gone to Playground Tattoo, a shop known for tiny tats, a bunch of times for her micro pieces. She has tattoos of words such as “cool,” “serenity,” and “purpose” on strategic places on her body, plus other charming finger tats of various symbols. Tiffany also has small finger tattoos plus a couple more on her rib and foot as well.
MAMAMOO's Hwasa, Wheein, and Moonbyul
Looks like birds of the same feather really do seem to flock together, because the majority of MAMAMOO’s members have gotten ink done! Hwasa has around six tattoos in counting, which includes her baptismal name “Maria” written on her nape. Moonbyul, who has a special meaning for each of her pieces, seems to be a fan of line art, since she has a portrait of her family in this style on her arm. Finally, Wheein has some fun and feminine-colored tattoos such as butterflies and flowers. Hwasa and Wheein even got matching tattoos on their necks to celebrate 10 years of being BFFs. Talk about best friend goals!
Hyolyn has multiple tattoos on her body, but her most famous, and probably her most meaningful one as well, is the huge cross on her abdomen. In 2018, she revealed that she had a big scar shaped like a cross on her belly due to having abdominal surgery when she was a baby. It bothered her immensely and caused her to have low self-esteem, but she decided to cover the scar up with a tattoo. She never looked back since and became more confident thanks to her ink. Hyolyn’s story further reinforces the fact that people don’t only get tattoos for aesthetics, but for better confidence as well.
Other (G)I-DLE members also have pretty and small tattoos, but Soojin has the most of them at a total of eight as of writing. Her most popular ones include the minimalist outline of a heart on her shoulder, a cross on her back, and a quote that says “self-love is the best love” on the back of her arm as well. The latter two look amazing whenever she’s shot from the back, providing an edgier and more daring look for this girl group idol.
Suzy’s really good at hiding her tattoos, and that’s probably because they’re so tiny! Fans love it when the former miss A member exposes her minimalist, small tattoos whether accidentally or intentionally, so when a Lancome shoot showed her nape ink for their promos, everyone rejoiced. Suzy has two heart tats: Apart from the one below her nape (which has a cross on it as well), the other is on her finger.
Rumor has it that Jiyeon from the T-ara fame has more than six tattoos all over her body. Her biggest is a quote (“My parents are my heart and soul”) that she admitted was inspired by Hyuna’s back tattoo, and she had it inked on the same placement too! She also has several that she hides on other parts of her body, like her chest, abdomen, lower back, and hips.
This famous K-rapper and idol rose to prominence after her stint on Unpretty Rapstar thanks to her feisty and sassy personality that everybody came to love. Jessi has around eight beautiful tattoos on different placements, including large pieces on her back! But a fan-favorite tattoo is the swallow on her arm, which symbolizes her fandom called JEBI, the Korean word for swallow. Jessi is one of the many idols who’ve expressed their love and appreciation for fans through tattoos.