In a letter on June 28, Daisaku Kadokawa, mayor of Kyoto, asked Kardashian to reconsider her decision to use the name for her brand, describing it as “a fruit of craftsmanship” that “truly symbolizes the beauty, spirits and values of [the] Japanese.”
“I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to reconsider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark.
“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.”
Last week, Kardashian broke the internet with her announcement of Kimono, her “take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work.”
Her plan has since been met with accusations of cultural appropriation, giving rise to the hashtag #KimOhNo on social media.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
According to Kadokawa, both Japanese and foreign tourists have been wearing kimonos in Kyoto and other cities in Japan in recent years. He described this as “proof” that people around the world love the kimono.
“We are currently undertaking initiatives nationally to make ‘Kimono Culture,’ symbol of our culture and spirits, registered to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list,” Kadokawa added. “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.”
The letter concludes with an invitation for Kardashian to visit Kyoto to experience authentic Kimono Culture for herself.
“I would like you to visit Kyoto, where many Japanese cultures including Kimono have been cherished, to experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts and our strong wish.”
Kadokawa, who is currently serving his third term, is renowned for wearing kimonos while carrying out official duties, according to The Japan Times. He began wearing the garment soon after his election in 2008, all in support of the traditional industry. Today, the collective effort to deter Kardashian from trademarking “Kimono” appears to have paid off. The 38-year-old celebrity announced her decision to rename her collection in new tweets:
“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,” Kardashian wrote. “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.”