Tattoos are a bit of a taboo subject in South Korea. While it isn’t illegal to have tattoos there, it is illegal to get them in Korea, and illegal to be a tattoo artist. Under Korean law, it is considered a “medical service” and only allowed if the tattoo artist is also qualified as a medical practitioner. Because of this, many artists work undercover out of their homes or in underground parlors.
Many K-Pop idols, however, sport all kinds of ink – G-Dragon, Jay Park, and Hyorin, to name just a few. While tattoos used to be associated with gangs and gang violence, these high-profile celebrities have helped to lesson the stigma against them, and recent polls have shown a more positive opinion towards tattoos than in the past.
Even so, tattoos are still pretty controversial in the conservative culture, which leads some idols to hiding their ink. Jungkook is no exception. In the past, he has expressed an interest in getting tattoos – and recently, it seems like he’s finally been able to.
In September 2019, eagle-eyed ARMYs spotted the BTS maknae with several small tattoos – the word “ARMY” on his knuckles, as well as a heart, crown, and the letter “J”. While initial thoughts were that they were temporary, when they kept reappearing in photos, fans realized that they were real!
He’s been reported to have gotten other tattoos since then too, including a skeleton hand in the “sign of horns” gesture on his arm, and lyrics from the Nirvana song “Stay Away”.
Unfortunately, because he typically wears long sleeves and, when he doesn’t, his team often covers the tattoos in photo editing, it’s been hard to determine just how many tattoos Jungkook has. Sometimes he even wears patches to cover the tattoos on his hands.
However many tattoos Jungkook has, his fans are supportive of his choice to ink his body – and hopefully one day, he will be able to show them off without fear of judgment!