Despite her enormous wealth, Kim Kardashian can’t seem to keep out of controversy. Kim’s announcement that she would launch “Kimono” brand lingerie sparked a great deal of criticism.
The flesh colored bedroom wear bears little resemblance to the traditional Japanese garment of the same name. In fact, it appears that Kim only picked the name in question because it contains the name Kim.
In Japan, Kimono are a sacred, formal garment worn by men and women to mark special ceremonies, holidays, and other important occasions such as funerals, festivals, and weddings. A symbol of Japanese etiquette and elegance, it doesn’t seem possible to dissociate the term from its lofty origins.
Initially, Kim defended her right to use the name despite claims of cultural appropriation.
She also clarified to The New York Times that “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.”
One concern had been that Kim’s trademark would hurt or disrupt business for actual Japanese people making or wearing kimono.
Eventually, however, the court of public opinion caused her to reconsider.
Yuka Kato, a Japanese journalist from BBC was among the first netizens to speak out against Kim’s clothing line.
Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and historic cultural center implored Kim not to go with the kimono name, sharing his plea on Facebook.
He referred to kimono as “a fruit of craftsmanship” as well as something that “truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirit, and values of [the] Japanese.”
Yuka Ohishi of San Francisco, also began an online campaign to stop Kim’s appropriation.
In a lengthy tweet, she elaborated on why Japanese people and Japanese Americans were so upset by the brand name.
A hashtag opposing the name: #KimOhNo quickly surfaced.
On July 1st, Kim announced she would be going in a different direction for her shapewear. Evidently, she realized that she was getting even more bad publicity than usual.
Earlier this year, Kim was accused of appropriation for wearing an Indian headpiece. This doesn’t even take into account the many times people feel she has wrongfully appropriated black culture. Many of her detractors think that this will only be one of many incidents.