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Kim Kardashian’s Kimono

The mayor of Kyoto requests Kim Kardashian change her Kimono branding

After the trademarked name of the shapewear brand drew cultural appropriation criticisms

You’d have to have been living under a wifi-less rock to have missed Kim Kardashian West’s most recent blunder (that is, her “culture vulture” reappropriation of the word “kimono”). However, a refresher: ‘Kimono’ is the name of KKW’s new shapewear brand, which she unveiled June 26th.

Obviously, the name of the label is a play on Kim’s own name. Equally obvious, however, is how it was going to be seen as disrespectful of Japanese culture, in which the garment comes loaded with hundreds of years of history and is often used in ceremonies, or as an important family artefact. Like, how didn’t anyone from Kim’s team point out that possibility when the name came up?

Anyway, after an unsurprising barrage of criticism on social media, Kim has received a more formal request to “reconsider” using the name Kimono in her trademarks (which seem to be still pending, though she’s launched the brand under the name on Instagram). 

Specifically, the Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, has reached out in a statement that emphasises the cultural importance of the (real) kimono.

“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,” the statement reads. “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.”

As well as its symbolic effects, the trademarking of Kim’s ‘Kimono’ may affect the abilities of Japanese companies to import the garment into the US.

Kadokawa also explains that initiatives are underway to make “Kimono Culture” symbolic of the nation and invites Kardashian West to go and experience it first hand for a better understanding of the situation.

Will this change anything? Well, the BBC reports that she has no plans to change the name after previous criticisms, so it’s probably unlikely, but we’ll have to wait and see.