Ask any high school student in Japan who their favorite Western artist is, and you’re bound to get the usual One Direction, Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande. Although she’s only been active as a professional solo artist since 2013, Ariana already has a huge following in Japan, rivaling that of Taylor Swift! Since then she’s released three albums, consistently ranking in the top 3 of the Japanese charts. Her most recent album, Dangerous Woman, ranked number 2 in Japan and she also has remakes of two singles that are exclusive to Japan.
Ariana professes to be a “Japanophile”. She is a frequent visitor to Japan and enjoys shopping in Harajuku. She’s even learning to write hiragana and often posts pics of her practicing in notebooks.
She appeared a month later on The Tonight Show explaining about the appeal of the zettai ryōiki (絶対領域), which is the space between a woman’s skirt and her high socks that go over the knees in Japanese fashion and is part of her signature look.
In April of 2016 the starlet took to Twitter to send a message in Japanese to the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake while she was in the area to promote her new album. She often posts Japanese tweets such as “I love Japan!”, “I miss Japan”, and “We really want to go back to Japan soon!”
私達は、本当に、早く日本に戻りたいわ。 @mattbennett ☁️— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 20, 2015
In the Japanese version of the Dangerous Woman music video, popular Licca-chan (リカちゃん), which is the Japanese version of Barbie appears. The doll also stars throughout the music video of the single Focus which was released exclusively in the Japan.
As a huge fan of Japanese fashion, Ariana collaborated with SHIBUYA 109 with an event to celebrate her album release last May, drawing a huge crowd of fans to purchase her merchandise and take commemorative photos. Due to her petite stature ― she’s 5’1― the starlet often has trouble with clothes in America and therefore, loves that Japan’s smaller sizes fit her so well. Plus the clothes are so fashionable and cute!
Japan is very proud of Ariana’s love for the country. Many fans thanked her for her kindness and concern when she took to Twitter to recognize the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake. She has also appeared a number of times on Japan’s most-watched music performance show Music Station where she even makes an effort to speak Japanese.
Ariana loves edamame, tofu, Hello Kitty, and even Kyari Pamyu Pamyu (きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ). She wished Kyari a happy birthday via Instagram, and she also loves top YouTuber, HIKAKIN, and invited him to New York to appear in a video with him. She has performed in Japan on two tours in 2014 and 2015, but has yet to announce plans for another.
Swift may have a big following in Japan, but Ariana’s vocal love for Japanese culture gives her an edge. The fact that she is studying Japanese and even posts social media messages in Japanese shows her dedication not only to pop culture, but to the language and people as well!
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