Ariana Grande's Japanese tattoo, which translates to "small charcoal grill," has almost overshadowed the lead-up to her new album, Thank U, Next. After all the jokes about the tattoo died down, people noticed she was selling merch on her online store with Japanese text on it, too, resulting in accusations of her appropriating Japanese culture for aesthetic purposes. In a series of since-deleted tweets, BuzzFeed notes she responded to the accusations.
"I can't read or write Kanji obviously," she said in response to someone saying she should apologize for the tattoo, which was supposed to read "7 Rings" instead of "small charcoal grill." She continued, "What do you want me to do? It was done out of love and appreciation. [...] What do you want me to say? U kno [sic] how many people make this mistake and DON'T care just cause they like how it looks? Bruh... I care soooo much. What would u like me to do or say? For real."
In defending her embrace of the Japanese language for promotional material and her tattoo despite not fully understanding its meaning, she argued there was a difference between appreciating a culture and appropriating one. "My Japanese fans were always excited when I wrote in Japanese or worte Japanese sayins on my clothing," she said. "However, all of the merch with Japanese on it was taken down from my site not that anyone cared to notice."
While some of the merch featuring Japanese text was removed, one sweater featuring "ありがとう," which translates simply to "Thank You," is still available for purchase. In responding to all the calls for her to apologize, she said, "People on this app really don't know how to be forgiving or gentle when someone has made an innocent mistake. No one considers feelings other than their own. It's very pointless. Ion [sic] even know why I'm talking ab [sic] this anymore."
She has since deleted all of the tweets. Thank U, Next is out this Friday (Feb. 8).