Japan will send patent officials to the U.S. next week to hold discussions over Kim Kardashian attempting to trademark “Kimono,” a move widely slammed as cultural appropriation on social media.
While Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko is aware of Kardashian’s decision to ditch the moniker, he is still seeking “a thorough examination” of the matter.
— 世耕弘成 Hiroshige SEKO (@SekoHiroshige) June 28, 2019
Kardashian caused a global backlash last week after announcing her plan to trademark “Kimono,” her “take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work.”
This week, the 38-year-old celebrity conceded to the outcry, stating that her solutionwear brand will launch “under a new name.”
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Being an entrepreneur and my own boss has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve been blessed with in my life. 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.
Seko, who vows to follow the situation closely, will send patent executives to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 9 to “properly exchange views on the matter.”
“This has become a big deal on social media,” the trade minister said at a press conference in Tokyo, according to Reuters, adding that such an issue falls under his jurisdiction. “The kimono is regarded around the world as a distinct part of our culture. Even in America, kimono is well known to be Japanese.”
— 世耕弘成 Hiroshige SEKO (@SekoHiroshige) July 2, 2019
Ahead of Kardashian’s about-face, Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa joined the worldwide effort to deter the celebrity from claiming “Kimono” for herself.
“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,” he wrote in a letter, which included an invitation for Kardashian to visit his city.
Seko’s plan to monitor the situation received an outpour of support from Japanese netizens, with some demanding a formal apology from Kardashian and a review of other foreign businesses capitalizing on Japanese culture.
“Thank you very much for your hard work. I don’t think this issue ends with changing the name. It hurt the pride of Japanese people. I think we need a formal apology,” one Twitter user wrote.