Over 8,000 people turned up for the first ever tattoo show held in Singapore last weekend with Asian designs leading the ranks of most popular tattoo design choices.

Asian tattoo designs are increasingly prominent in Hollywood and pop culture. Yang Zhuo, tattoo artist, YZ Tattoo, Beijing, explains this phenomenon:

“A lot of people from the West like Chinese culture and those in the East are attracted to Western cultures. Such cross cultural attraction is only normal.”

Tattoos have actually long been a part of Asian culture stretching back thousands of years in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. For a large part of last century though, a tattoo was seen as a counter culture mark in many Asian cities. Its popularity in the West in the last two decades has inspired an increasing number of Asian youths to rediscover their tattoo cultures.

Not only are Asian designs increasingly popular, Asian tattoo methods are also being increasingly sought after. Conventional tattoos are done using machines but traditional tattoos from places like Thailand and Borneo are done using rods and nails which some say can be a lot more painful. A Borneo tattoo is done manually. The ink is hammered into your skin, leaving a design which gets darker over time, unlike conventional tattoos where the colour fades over time.

And many are reporting that the pain is worth it, and oh, it IS painful. If you are considering a Borneo tattoo, or a tattoo done through Asian methods, you WILL want to do your research to ensure that you know all that you need to do to prepare yourself for an experience you will likely not forget.