Codye Lazear (USA), teacher/model/party organizer/…, Seoul

Born 26 years ago in Iowa (USA), makes her 28 following the counting in Seoul (Korea) where she’s living now. Her friends gave her the Korean name Kangnabi (River butterfly), which she fancies a lot. 

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When dating a Korean boy, she got her first tattoo. “It’s a couple tattoo with my granddad, he had the same heart on his upper arm. I went in the shop with my boyfriend. After the tattoo artist finished his tattoo, she told me: “If you don’t mind using the same needle, I can do you for free.” Kind of shocked at first, I was like, yeah, why not, haha, and there it started. After that I was dating a Korean tattoo artist and he wanted to practice all the time, so in 3 years I got all this for free, cheap for me and a good practice for him! He got completely covered in less then 3 years by the way, from neck to toe.


A lot of tattoo artists in Korea are working illegal, as you actually need a surgeon’s license to be allowed to tattoo. Police shuts down a lot of conventions for the same reason. They are not allowed to tattoo there, but they always are. Tattoos are still affiliated with gang members, who tattoo most of their bodies in irezumi, but now tattoos are merged into fashion and youth culture in Korea. It’s really exploding, you can see tattooed people everywhere on the streets.

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My family really doesn’t have a problem with my tattoos. My granddad had one, my mom has my name tattooed on her ankle. We’re quite open minded. Sometimes when I model in Korea, they do photoshop them out though, if they need a softer, more cute version of me. I love my cute characters though, it’s kind of nostalgia to my happy times as a kid.

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Quite often I visit my best friend here in Tokyo, just for a long weekend or so. Hanging out, eating sushi or soba, shopping in Don Quichote, walking around in areas like Shimokitazawa. I once saw an old Disney Babies picture at a takoyaki shop in that neighborhood. I took a picture of it and had it tattooed later as a memory to my good times here.”

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