Tattoo. Yah? or Nah?

Tattooing has become a fashion, a lifestyle in the modern world. The tattooing style in the Western and Asian culture is different. Some people love tattoos. They consider inking the body as a form of art or a way to express themselves. On the other hand, some people were not amused by it. Why will people react so differently?


Tattoo, the word origin in Samoan language, is called tatau. It is commonly known as ‘inked skin’ or ‘body art’. It is a form of body decoration where ink and pigments will be inserted into human flash to form a design. The origin year of body tattooing was never being confirmed. However, the oldest known tattooed human was a mummy called Ötzi.


In the past, people with tattoo are often being categorised as ‘uncivilised’ in the Western country and ‘Gangster’ or ‘Prisoner’ in the Asian country. People are often feeling both fear and curious toward this form of culture. Till now, more and more people are open to tattoo. More people are inking their skin. Tattooing is developed into a sort of art. People are inking their skin as a decoration, as a reminder and as a hobby. Let’s take a look at the history of ‘Tattoo’ all around the world.




Tattooing in Thailand is very common, and Thailand traditional Sak Yant Tattoo is one of the most popular tattooing styles in the world. A Sak Yant Tattoo is also called the ‘blessed tattoo’. It is usually performed by monks. The tattoo was traditionally inked in a Thai temple using a bamboo rod instead of a tattoo gun. The designs are generally pattern and lines. They have different blessing and meaning for different designs you choose. Angelina Jolie also has several Sak Yant Tattoo.


Tattooing is one of the most misunderstood arts in Japan. Although traditional Japanese-style tattoos are trendy internationally, however, this form of fashion is still not as acceptable as in other countries. There is a long history to the culture of tattooing in Japan. People that wear tattoo are banned at some beach, gym and hot spring. This is heavily related to the history of a violent group, Yakuza. Most of the Japanese gangster member in Yakuza are tattoo wearers which made a stereotype of tattoo wearers are gangsters. This brings fear and uncomfortable feeling for people to stay around them and therefore tattoo wearers are banned in some areas. Apart from tattoo wearers, there is also restriction for inkling people’s skin in Japan too. You should be a doctor in Japan to be a tattoo artist. They must be trained and achieve their license at a certified government school before inkling others.


Tattoo culture in Nepal has a long history since ancient time. It is called ‘Lha Chyogu’ in Newari language means flesh writing literally. It is very common to see a tattoo on both men’s and women’s body. It is considered a form of art to express themselves via the symbol and designs inked on their body. They also believe that tattooing can help to protect children from illness and evil spirit. Tattooing in Nepal is very popular among Nepali people and tourists.

New Zealand

There are traditional tattooing in tribes in New Zealand. Maori Tattoo, Ta Moko, is described as one of the best ‘Tribal’ art styles worldwide. The traditional Maori tattoo is often on the face, and it is a unique expression for the identity and history. The body art is sacred and facial tattoo is the most sacred. They called the tattoo artist tohunga ta moko, they are highly respected in the tribes. Maori tattoo traditionally carved with knives and chisels, uhi, made from sharpened bones and stones. People with lower social status are not allowed to get a face tattoo. The facial tattoo is not only a representative of social status, but it is also used as an identification card. It also represents different meanings with a different design.

The culture of the tattoo is very different in different countries. This is profoundly affecting how people see ‘tattoo’. With different historical background and meaning to different tattoo design, the way people treats tattoo will not be the same. I, personally, have a tattoo on my body, I see the tattoo as a form of art to express myself. What do you think? Yah? Or Nah?

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