#KulturdKonversations: Ariana Grande celebrated her new single “7 Rings” by getting the song title tattooed on her palm in Kanji. The tattoo would’ve been a great idea, had it been spelled right. Now, social media users are calling it an act of cultural appropriation.
A few days ago, Grande posted a photo of her brand new ink on social media, but fans were quick to point out the spelling mistake.
Grande’s tattoo reads: 七輪 (shichirin). The kanji character 七 means “seven,” while 輪 means either “hoop,” “circle,” “ring,” or “wheel.” But when both characters are actually put together, it reads as a whole new phrase: “small charcoal grill.”
The tattoo should read: 七つの指輪 (nanatsu no yubiwa). However, the singer was fully aware of the fact that she was leaving out characters and misspelling the phrase. Not only is the proper spelling found in her “7 Rings” music video, but she also defended her choice by stating that she “wouldn’t have lasted one more symbol” due to the pain. “Also….. huge fan of tiny bbq grills,” Grande added in a tweet.
H2: Nevertheless, Grande decided the tattoo should be fixed.
But here’s the kicker – it still isn’t spelled right! After consulting with a friend fluent in Japanese (and after a shot of lidocaine from her doctor to endure the pain) Grande shared what she thought was her new and improved tatt. Hoping to correct the “small charcoal grill,” Grande added the kanji 指, meaning “finger” below the kanji 七, meaning “seven.” Now, the new tattoo reads – drumroll please! – “Small charcoal grill, finger.” And of course, we can’t forget the heart symbol.
H2: This entire situation begs the question: Is Ariana Grande’s tattoo considered cultural appropriation?
Twitter user @leoyolk, who’s account is now private, tweeted: “Ariana grande not caring that her tattoo means bbq grill just proves she views kanji as an aesthetic and the people that still defend that 4’9 little bratz doll r literally digging the grave for her.”
More similar tweets were shared, as well:
Cultural appropriation is defined as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.” Grande has always had a genuine interest in the Japanese culture. She has even documented her progress in her Japanese language classes she takes in Little Tokyo, L.A. But the fact of the matter is that the singer knew she was completely butchering the words she was putting on her body.
Let Ariana Grande’s tattoo serve as a cautionary tale
For those thinking of getting inked in a foreign language, we encourage you to do your research, consult with someone fluent in said language, and be mindful of how your choices can affect those within a culture that you’re borrowing from. And think about thanking Ari for making her mistakes so you don’t have to.