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Right Touch? South Korea Reserves Job of Masseuse For Blind

If you find yourself in South Korea in search of a massage, if you visit a legal parlor, you won't even need a towel for modesty. That's because for the past century the job of masseur has been reserved for the legally blind. Just over 7,000 blind people with magic fingers work in 1,000 massage parlors throughout the country, but it's not enough to keep up with demand. A black market of massage has sprung up supplying another 150,000 to 700,000 illegal, sighted, masseuses who can face fines from $450 to $4,500 and up to three years in jail.

The stand off over the right to rub down has led to violent protests and suits filed by the sighted masseurs asking the Constitutional Court of South Korea to declare unconstitutional the blind-only law and a violation of their rights. A ruling on the matter could come next week.

To see both sides of the argument,


One sighted and illegal masseur says, “It breaks my heart when I think that what I am doing every day, what I consider my calling, is a crime. We are not trying to steal jobs from the blind. We just want to share the market. We want to live as normal citizens, not as criminals.”

However a blind masseur is fearful of losing his niche saying, “I have a wife and two children to support. If I lose this job, I will have to beg on the streets. How can taking away one job from people who only have one compare with taking one job away from sighted people who have a hundred jobs to choose from?”

Should the government be able to assign one profession to a group of people? Is it discriminatory to those left out — and does it hamper the progress of those the law is trying to help? Or is it a perfect plan, matching abilities with their opposite?


Join The Conversation
CYL CYL 8 years
Lol I think we need some of this admist the serious and sometimes depressing news that is on Citizen! and Jude C lol!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
and blue, :rotfl:
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, Mich! I miss college. Breakfast at noon!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
This thread went down south (literally) real fast.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Michelann Michelann 8 years
This just seems so wrong to me. Thanks for making me queasy right before breakfast, guys.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
His most memorable story can be summed up in two words. Mud butt. :sick:
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, eeewwww!!
CYL CYL 8 years
Ew Jude C and GS...I often wondered about that stuff as what if you are massaging/waxing someone and they fart?
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Me neither!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Wow. That is one job I would not take for all the money in the world. Yuck!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
:sick: Gross Jude!! I had a friend who did bikini waxing in college and she said she had to use peppermint oil under her nose with some people! Ick! :sick:
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I used to have a friend who was a massage therapist, and he said some of the people he worked on made him wish he was blind. And deaf. With no sense of smell.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
This is a good and bad thing. It is one of those times where the do gooder, doesn't do good. You know? Like over here when they were going to redesign money and the blind here said no!
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