Category : Stories

Apro Lee

Apro Lee

I first came across Apro Lee when I was looking for tattoo artists in Seoul a couple of years back. Impressed by his excellent black-and-grey work, I followed his Instagram and kept up with what he was doing. Now, as I’m getting closer to completing my Tattoos of Asia project, I have started looking for interesting voices to add to the interviews with tribal people from all over Asia. Being a tattooed man, and especially having facial tattoos, in Korea, […]

Sahnai Wangsa - Wancho Headhunter Facial Tattoo

Sahnai Wangsa

Getting to Sahnai Wangsa was somewhat of an ordeal. We had all the relevant permissions and had been signed into the area by both the military and the government. Every single stop along the way, however, required yet another Xerox copy of every piece of permission and another interview about why we were here. Something was happening, but nobody would let us know what. Eventually, we made our way out to Konsa, a village on the Myanmar border. Being so […]

Konyak Naga Facial Tattoo - Penlung


“We are born with nothing. We die with nothing. The only thing we can take with us is our tattoo.” Our interview with Penlung was our last before we left Sheanghah Chingnyu. We had been trying to catch him for a couple of days, but despite the constant rain and his age, he was always out working. We finally managed to meet him on our way home late one night and asked if we could see him the following morning. As […]

Truku Facial Tattoo

Ipay Harong

“They knew me as the ‘Strong Woman’.” Ipay Harong is 98 years old. She is a member of the Truku people of Taiwan. At the age of 92 she began to exhibit signs of Parkinson’s disease, which has since worsened, and she is now unable to communicate except for physical gestures. During our visit, she would periodically attempt to make both eye contact and physical contact. Our interview was conducted with her daughter, who now takes care of her in […]

Lai Tu Chin Woman Facial Tattoo

Si Coung

“I wasn’t ready for the pain.” Si Coung is a good-humoured 73-year-old woman from Rakhine State in Myanmar. Her people, the Lai Tu Chin, are known world-wide for their distinctive spider-web facial tattoos. This pattern helps differentiate them from the other Chin peoples. She began by recalling the day she was tattooed. She really wanted to get it done, as she thought her peers were so beautiful. However, at 9 years of age, she was not quite prepared for the […]

Taipei Tattoo Artist Kacaw


“Tattoos are a way to remember the events of your life.” Kacaw is a native Taiwanese from the Amis Tribe. He moved to Taipei from his home of Hualien to become a tattoo artist. You can find him at Showhand Ink in Taipei City. We sat down with him during our time in Taipei to talk about tattoos and what they mean to him. According to Kacaw, those who have facial tattoos within the tribes must be great people. They […]

Apatani Tattoo-Faced Woman Tanyang Jayo

Tanyang Jayo

“I came down with the rain.” My interview with Tanyang Jayo is hard to get. She is a tenacious soul with an appetite for life that makes her step out the door and work every day despite her age and her family’s constant pestering to keep her home. She is my guide Guddi’s grandmother, Thankfully that has some sway and we finally get to meet her. Her stories and experiences were well worth the wait. As a young lady, she […]

Myanmar Tattoo-faced Woman Shen Har

Shen Har

“I wish my husband could be here with us.” After a two-hour motorbike ride along a goat track that wound up mountains and down into valleys, we arrive in Sam Tai, a Yindu village outside of Kanpetlet. We stop by the chief’s house for a cup of coffee and to introduce ourselves and the Tattoos of Asia project. We then move over to Shen Har’s house, where she resides with her family. We are welcomed at the door and her grandchildren […]