Japan is to dispatch patent officials to the US next week to discuss the uproar over Kim Kardashian West’s “Kimono” branded underwear, it was announced on Tuesday.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the minister said he wanted a “careful examination” of the issue and that the executives would be sent to “properly exchange views”, Reuters news agency reported.
“The kimono is regarded around the world as a distinct part of our culture,” he added. “Even in America, kimono is well known to be Japanese.”
On Monday, Kardashian West said a statement published on Twitter and Instagram that she would be launching her brand under a new name “after careful thought and consideration.”
On June 25, the reality TV star announced the launch of a new line of flesh-colored shapewear called “Kimono.”
Kim Kardashian West’s new ‘Kimono’ underwear range sparked accusations of cultural appropriation. Credit: Kim Kardashian/Twitter
The launch met with an immediate backlash from people of Japanese heritage around the world, with many expressing their disapproval using the Twitter hashtag #KimOhNo.
She also appeared to have trademarked the word “kimono” — according to Business Insider, a search of the online database for the United States Patent and Trademark Office revealed that Kimono Intimates Inc. applied to trademark a specific font version of the word.
Originating in the Hakuhō (Early Nara) period (645-710), the kimono is an ankle-length gown with long, wide sleeves and a V- neck. With neither ties nor buttons, it is tied left over right across the chest and secured at the waist with a broad sash called an an obi.
San Francisco-based Yuka Ohishi, who tweeted about the controversy, told CNN: “I was not very pleased by companies using the word kimono to market beach cover-ups and robes. And then Kim Kardashian went to a whole new level by simply using the word as a pun. Her line is not at all inspired by the Japanese kimono, pays no respect.”
The mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, wrote an open letter to Kardashian West urging her to “reconsider” the line.
“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,” Kadokawa wrote.
In her statement Monday, the reality TV star responded: “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.”
She said she named her products “with the best intentions in mind.”