- Ariana Grande recently got a tattoo on her hand, which was meant to say “seven rings” in Japanese, the name of her newest single.
- Fans quickly noticed, however, that the two kanji characters paired together actually translates to “shichirin,” which is a small barbecue grill.
- The following day, at the advice of her Japanese tutor, Grande added an additional kanji character to correct the phrase.
- But because Japanese is read vertically from top to bottom and horizontally right to left, the tattoo is now technically nonsensical.
- According to BuzzFeed Japan reporter Eimi Yamamitsu, reading it as you would in English, the tattoo now translates to “Japanese barbecue finger.”
- It’s most likely that Grande intended for the tattoo to be read vertically from top to bottom and horizontally left to right, which would actually translate to “seven rings.”
Ariana Grande’s most recent tattoo continues to cause controversy, even after the pop star attempted to correct the misspelling.
The original tattoo, “七輪,” was meant to say the name of her newest single in Japanese: “七,” which means “seven,” and “輪,” which means “hoop,” “circle,” or “rings.” Fans quickly noticed, however, that the two kanji characters paired together actually translates to “shichirin,” which is a small barbecue grill.
After receiving ridicule and accusations of cultural appropriation, Grande added another kanji character at the advice of her Japanese tutor Ayumi, whom she has been working with to learn the language since 2015.
According to a text exchange that Grande shared on her Instagram story, Ayumi suggested that she add the character for “finger” (指) ” between and above” the existing kanji characters.
It appears that Grande’s original plan was to black out the second character and restructure the phrase so that it would read vertically downwards as “七指輪.” As Ayumi told her, this would literally translate to “seven finger circle,” or “seven rings” in Japanese.
Instead, however, Grande simply added “指” directly below “七” and added a heart below “輪.”
Because Japanese is read vertically from top to bottom and horizontally right to left, the tattoo (“輪♡七指”) is technically nonsensical. According to Google Translate, it could loosely translate to “ring seven fingers.”
If it’s read horizontally from left to right and then vertically from top to bottom, as you would read it in English, it would look like “七輪指♡.”
According to BuzzFeed Japan reporter Eimi Yamamitsu, this means “Shichiba finger,” or “Japanese barbecue finger.”
Despite these unfortunately funny mishaps, I just wanted to shout my respect to Ari, her tutor & all Japanese learners! As someone who learned Japanese at home, I know how learning/teaching this language(or any language really) can be SO????DAMN????HARD. But it’s definitely worth it.
— Eimi Yamamitsu | 山光瑛美 (@eimiyamamitsu) January 31, 2019
According to Google Translate, “七輪指” means “a fiery finger” in Japanese and “seven wheel” in Chinese.
It’s most likely that Grande intended for the tattoo to be read vertically from top to bottom, as you would in Japanese, and horizontally left to right, as you would in English. This would return the phrase to Ayumi’s suggestion, “七指輪,” but with a heart added on the end.
if you read it like 七輪指♡ then yep it’s jpn bbq finger but if it’s 七指輪♡ then it’s seven rings
— ᴮᴱchihiro⁷ (@kookceptional) January 31, 2019
Grande may be aware that the updated tattoo still isn’t perfect. She dubbed it “slightly better” when sharing a photo on her Instagram story.
everything i do is out of love n appreciation. down for all the corrections and guidance. thank u.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 31, 2019
Thomas Looser, an Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at NYU, told INSIDER that if Grande designed the originally tattoo without guidance from a Japanese speaker or teacher, he would actually “find that somewhat impressive.”
“Written Japanese is unusually complicated,” Looser said. “To me this looks like there was at least some genuine attempt, by someone who is nonetheless a novice – though one would think someone like her would have gotten expert advice first.”
He also noted that Japanese people have been known to use “often hilariously bad English” as a kind of inside joke, especially in places like advertisements or restaurant names.
“Japan-related popular cultural language is inherently playful, and personally, even if [Grande] could’ve been more careful, I think that playfulness is worth embracing as much as criticising,” Looser said. “The attempt is as much a gesture toward Japanese culture as it is a refusal to actually work with it.”
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