“Kimono is Japan’s cultural pride that we boast to the world.”
Japan has a message for Kim Kardashian.
Following the reality star’s bid to trademark her shapewear line and related products under the brand-name Kimono, the country’s trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, asked American trademark officials to examine the case appropriately.
“Kimono is Japan’s cultural pride that we boast to the world,” the official said, according to the Associated Press, “Even in the United States, kimono is highly recognized as a Japanese thing.”
“We hope the case is examined appropriately to reflect the purpose of the trademark system.”
The trade minister said Japan would be sending senior officials to Washington D.C. the following week for a discussion with U.S. trademark officials.
Kim, who announced last week her Kimono Solutionwear brand, has been met with massive criticism online with many declaring the name of her shapewear line outright cultural appropriation. Kimono is a centuries-old clothing tradition with a rich history still alive in Japan.
On Monday, the beauty mogul announced she will be launching her shapewear brand under a new name in response to the criticism.
“Being an entrepreneur and my own boss has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve been blessed with in my life,” Kim’s social media statement began. “What’s made it possible for me after all of these years has been the direct line of communication with my fans and the public. I am always listening, learning and growing – I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me. When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind. My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon. Thank you for your understanding and support always.”
The concern over Kim’s initial bid to trademark kimono was even felt in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital and the home for many traditional kimono makers.
The mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, wrote a letter to Kardashian last month urging her to reconsider, according to AP. Kadokawa extended an invitation for the reality star to visit Kyoto to experience how the clothing tradition is the “fruit of craftsmanship” which also “truly symbolize the sense of beauty, spirit and values of Japanese.” The mayor expressed the desire for Kim to “experience the essence of kimono culture.”
“We think that the name for kimono is an asset shared with all humanity who love kimono and its culture,” Kadokawa said, “therefore it should not be monopolized.” The mayor is campaigning for kimono to be registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
Kadokawa thanked Kim upon learning of her decision to launch her brand under a different name.