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K-Pop groups are known for their high-energy performance on many Korean music TV shows. However, many moments have been cut from these K-Pop groups due to their strict rules and high moral standards. Here are the top 3 strangest rules that K-Pop Idols have to follow while on South Korean TV shows.

Jimin, J-Hope, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Suga, and V of BTS perform at the 2021 American Music Awards
BTS | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for MRC

K-Pop idols can only show one nipple at a time

While female K-Pop idols are prohibited from showing their belly buttons, male idols aren’t allowed to show more than one nipple at a time. This is probably the strangest of the Korean broadcasting rules and has led to many accidental mishaps.

When BTS first debuted in 2013, the group gave a high-energy performance in the Concept Trailer on the music show KBS’ Music Bank. BTS member RM had a “nip slip” when he nearly broke the one-nipple rule after he ripped off his uniform and accidentally ripped his tank top too. RM spent the rest of the performance trying to keep at least one nipple covered.

K-Pop stars must keep their belly buttons covered

In 2010, the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) wanted stricter rules on the female group’s outfits while performing for the top 3 broadcasters: SBS, MBC, and KBS. They adopted the rule that female K-Pop idols must not show cleavage, and surprisingly, belly buttons must be covered too.

This rule is across the board but is strictly enforced with underage idols. During GFriend’s debut performance on SBS show Inkigayo in 2015, most of the members were high-school-aged, wore high-waisted pants, and some of the idols even went as far as taping over their belly buttons.

K-Pop idols can’t show their tattoos

Since South Korea has a strict moral standard for K-Pop idols, they have other rules to ensure that the idols keep their clean image. One of these rules being idols can’t show their tattoos during these televised performances.


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Idols aren’t allowed to flash their tattoos on TV because of the complicated history of tattoos in Korea. Tattoos in Korea are considered a medical service, meaning tattoo artists must have a medical license to operate. Since most artists don’t have a medical degree, many smaller shops operate illegally. On top of this, there is still a stigma around tattoos since they were primarily associated with gang activity.

However, despite this rule, many K-pop idols still have tattoos and opt to cover them up for TV performances. On top of the no-tattoo rules, idols are prohibited from swearing and must avoid sexually provocative performances, which often means changing lyrics and choreography.