Ariana Grande tried to fix her Japanese tattoo but it still doesn't technically say '7 rings'

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for BillboardAriana Grande has now gotten 36 tattoos.
  • 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.

Ariana grande tattoo mistake@arianagrande/InstagramGrande has been working with her Japanese tutor, Ayumi, 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.”

Ariana grande fixed japanese tattoo@arianagrande/InstagramGrande’s original tattoo, which she revealed in a now-deleted Instagram post, and her updated version.

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.”

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.

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.

She also wrote on Twitter that she adjusted it because she wants it to be “more respectful and more correct,” while thanking fans and critics for “the corrections and guidance.”

Grande has often expressed a love for Japan and Japanese culture. She began learning the language in 2015 and has demonstrated her progress on numerous occasions.

7 rings music videoAriana Grande/YouTubeThe correct spelling of ‘seven rings’ in Japanese was included in Grande’s music video for her song, ‘7 Rings.’

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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