Ariana Grande’s New Kanji Tattoo Is An Unfortunate Mistake [Update: She ‘Fixed’ The Tattoo]

Ariana Grande’s New Kanji Tattoo Is An Unfortunate Mistake [Update: She ‘Fixed’ The Tattoo]

To celebrate her newest single “7 Rings,” pop star Ariana Grande got a kanji tattoo. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.

Update: Ariana Grande got her tattoo “fixed,” but at best, it’s still an odd kanji tattoo. At worst, she’s made the tattoo worst.

Japanese can be read left to right like in English. It also can be read in vertical columns going right to left, top to bottom.

ImageInstagram” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Ariana Grande, Instagram

Grande added the kanji 指, meaning “finger,” to attempt at turning the kanji 輪, meaning wheel or hoop, into the word 指輪 (yubiwa), meaning “ring” as in for a finger. However, the kanji 指 and 輪 are split into different lines, so it looks strange. In English, it would be like writing “seven ri” and then “ngs” in another paragraph for “seven rings.” Japanese kids are taught not to split kanji characters in school because reading becomes convoluted.

Now, you could split kanji for a stylised design, but that’s with correct Japanese. People can figure out that the characters are split and understand the meaning. Since the way that “seven” is written is still wrong, this is awkward and confusing.

As in Grande’s music video, the correct way to write “seven rings” in Japanese is 七つの指輪 (nanatsu no yubiwa) and not simply what her tattoo has, 七指輪 (shichi yubiwa or nana yubiwa—I’m not sure because that phrasing doesn’t exist in Japanese). It’s awkward and wrong.

It seems the “fix” is to have the tattoo read from left to right, top to bottom. But that going left to right, top to bottom isn’t how Japanese is supposed to be read. If you are reading the correct way, which is right to left, top to bottom, the characters would be 輪指七, which is backward and utter nonsense.

“Rip tiny charcoal grill,” Grande wrote on Instagram. “Miss u man.” But…the Japanese word for BBQ is still there.

Because the tattoo reads strangely, people might be inclined to read it the other correct way (across, left to right) because the tattoo still has the word 七輪 (shichirin, meaning “small charcoal grill”) and underneath that it reads, 指 (finger) with a heart. So from right to left, the tattoo now reads, “Small charcoal grill, finger *heart*.” Once you see it, you cannot unread it.

Original story continues below.

Grande posted a photo of her tattoo. In Japanese, it reads, 七輪 (shichirin). You can see the pic photo (via Grande’s official Japanese Twitter), which has since been deleted from her Instagram.

The kanji character 七 means “seven,” while 輪 means “hoop,” “circle,” “ring,” or “wheel.” However, when you put them together, the meaning is different! 七輪 (shichirin) is a “small charcoal grill” and not “seven rings,” which is written differently in Japanese.

Here is a shichirin:

There is even an English language Wiki page for shichirin.

ImageWiki” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Wiki

A Google image search for 七輪 brings up these pics:

ImageGoogle Images” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Google Images

The most unfortunate thing of all is that Grande has people in Japan operating a Twitter account for her (next time ask them to check stuff!) and the video for “7 Rings” has the proper Japanese.

In the video, it’s correctly written as 七つの指輪 (nanatsu no yubiwa) or “seven rings.” It’s a shame she didn’t show that text to her tattooer.


How did this tattoo mistake happen? In a now deleted reply, Grande wrote, that she “left out ‘つの指’ which should have gone in between,” thus shortening the correct 七つの指輪 (seven rings) to 七輪 (small charcoal grill.” Whoops!

Continuing, she wrote that “it hurt like fuck” and “still looks tight,” adding that, she “wouldn’t have lasted one more symbol.” But those symbols have significance and unfortunately here, they totally changed the meaning of this tattoo.


    • First time I tried pigs anus and I fucking loved it, had Ox tongue and liver as well.

      It was an all you can eat and drink place cost around $30 Australian for two hours.

  • Why do people get Kanji tattoos anyway? Japan has a tattoo stigma anyway. It doesn’t make you likeable to them and getting a tattoo of a language you don’t understand is just begging for problems. I mean I understand wanting a tattoo of signifigance and Kanji does look beautiful but, if you don’t know the language that well, you’d be better pff just tattooing something else that gives the same meaning. in this case seven rings in a wonderfully designed pattern would work.

      • Kanji does look beautiful. Katakana/Hiragana are rather eh. She should have gone just for the two kanji in the word “rings”.

    • Ive been to Japan and never once ran into some one that wasnt welcoming or was asked to leave an establishment. You might have an issue finding an Onsen bathhouse that lets you in with tattoos but thats par for the course.

      I even had people stop me and ask for photos.

      • I just mean in general. I mean it’s not hated but, not exactly an encouraged practice either.

      • Don’t be fooled. Japan has a terrible xenophobia problem. You might not encounter it often, but it’s definitely always there.

    • I have a lot of tattoos and I have one Kanji piece as well, it was done in Japan while I was there on holiday It’s of a Japanese proverb so it kind of works being in Kanji.

      I didn’t have an issue with Japanese people either even in bath houses some of them actually complemented some of my tattoos, there isn’t as big of a stigma if your foreign.

      I understand a bit of the language and when I went to get the tattoo the artist actually pointed out a small mistake I made with the number 1000, I’m surprised Ariana didn’t have a Japanese speaking person check it or even a Japanese artist do the job.

  • It’s on her palm (is that a thing now?) so no wonder it hurt! Maybe she could say she was branded by a charcoal grill?

  • I’d say she was more unlucky than anything, though a little caution would have been wise. 五輪書 is the kanji for “Book of Five Rings” and 五輪 means “olympic rings” so it’s not like writing 七輪 to represent “seven rings” is nonsensical – it just happened to be already used. To mean “small barbecue”.

  • Moral of the story?

    don’t get a tattoo in another language unless you can understand said language. Otherwise you are opening yourself up for trolling like this.

  • Update: Ariana Grande got her tattoo “fixed,” but at best, it’s still an odd kanji tattoo. At worst, she’s made the tattoo worst.

    Might want to fix that second sentence in your story about grammar… 😉

  • All she had to do was swap the kanji and heart on the second line and it would’ve been fine.

    Can she not afford to pay an interpreter for 5 minutes?

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!