A Japanese mayor has urged Kim Kardashian to think again about the name of her new shape-wear brand, which she has chosen to call ‘Kimono’.
The 38-year-old reality star reportedly trademarked Kimono Intimates last year, a play on her world-famous name.
The choice to name her shape-wear range after the traditional Japanese garment has led to criticism from fans in Japan, some of whom believe this decision to be a disrespectful example of cultural appropriation.
View this post on Instagram
Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year. I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years. Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work. I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles, and there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapeware color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this. The third pic is the solution short. I developed this style for all of those times I wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit and still needed the support. Introducing Kimono Solutionwear™ for every body. Coming Soon in sizes XXS – 4XL in 9 shades. I can’t wait for you to feel this fabric!#KimonoBody @kimono Photos by Vanessa Beecroft
Now the Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, has penned a letter to Kim, encouraging her to reconsider the name and explaining the cultural significance of the garment.
In a letter which has been published publicly on the City of Kyoto website, Mayor Kadokawa wrote:
I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to re-consider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark.
Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history with our predecessors’ tireless endeavours and studies, and it is a culture that has been cherished and passed down with care in our living.
Also, it is a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese. In recent years, we see not only Japanese but also many foreign tourists wearing Kimono and strolling around in Kyoto and cities in Japan.
It is a proof that Kimono, that we are proud of as our traditional culture, is loved by people from around the world.
Mayor Kadokawa continued:
We are currently undertaking initiatives nationally to make “Kimono Culture”, symbol of our culture and spirits, registered to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
We think that the names for “Kimono” are the asset shared with all humanity who love Kimono and its culture therefore they should not be monopolized.
Mayor Kadokawa then proceeded to invite Kim to visit Kyoto, where she could ‘experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts and our strong wish’.
— Martin Fackler (@martfack) June 28, 2019
Kim has responded to the controversy surrounding her new brand, however she has reportedly chosen to stick with the name ‘Kimono’.
In a statement to The New York Times, Kim said:
My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come.
Filing a trademark is a source identifier that will allow me to use the word for my shapewear and intimates line but does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment.
I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.