Ariana Grande Defends Japanese Tattoo Blunder: ‘There’s a Difference Between Appropriation + Appreciation’
The singer fired off a series of since-deleted tweets in response to fans who accused her of cultural appropriation after she got a misspelled tattoo on her palm. Grande, 25, believed the tattoo said "7 Rings," the name of her latest single, in Japanese kanji. It actually translated roughly to "small charcoal grill."
A number of fans felt that the tattoo, coupled with the kawaii aesthetic of the "7 Rings" music video, was cultural appropriation. Many fans called on Grande to apologize. One user even went as far as to point out that many Japanese-Americans were made fun of and even bullied over their culture, while Grande used it as an aesthetic, ignoring the plight of those people. She initially ignored the conversation, even joking about the drama with TMZ on Twitter, but as outrage grew she was forced to respond.
Before issuing an apology, Grande said that many of her Japanese fans were "excited" when she made nods to the culture. She added that she eventually took down all merch with Japanese writing on it and appeared apologetic.
"There is a difference between appropriation and appreciation," Grande tweeted, according to a report from Huffington Post. "My Japanese fans were always excited when I wrote in Japanese or wore Japanese sayings on my clothing. However, all of the merch with Japanese on it was taken down from my site not that anyone cared to notice."
In response to a fan who called on the musician to apologize, Grande explained that she "can't read or write Kanji obviously." She added that it wasn't an attempt to appropriate Japanese culture, but rather out of "love."
"What do you want me to do? It was done out of love and appreciation. What do you want me to say?" she tweeted.
Grande debuted the tattoo on Instagram, only to learn from fans that it said "shichirin," which is a small grill. She then tried to fix the error by adding another kanji character, but got it wrong again. The tattoo then said, basically, "small charcoal grill finger."