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Kardashian kimono shapewear sparks Japan debate

By Toshifumi Kitamura

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I hate to sound like a right-winger but the entire cultural appropriation debate is absurd. Get a life.

"She's been to Japan many times. I'm shocked. She has no respect," tweeted one user in Japanese.

What passes for journalism these days--anonymous tweets. As if you couldn't find outrage on social media for every single statement or act by public figures.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Well, years ago, Wacoal came up with a new pantyhose that they creatively named "City Pants." Try to imagine a TV commercial with that name in katakana!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

So a few tweets represent the voice of an entire nation?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

If non-Asians do anything kimono related in N. America, the people shout cultural appropriation. When they then ask people in Japan, they like it.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Ignore this trashy family. Why are Americans constantly subjected to the lives of this wealthy, vacuous family?

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." – Dorothy Parker

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Kim Kardashian and Outraged of Twitter, the new tsukkomi and boke.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

She is very clever to get hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free advertising across the globe, and it was part of her plan.

The word kimono wasn't a registered tradename like others are. So I guess that the word kimono is availble for use.

I thought she was studying to become a lawyer?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Kimono, ki (wearing) mono (thing) Kimono wearing thing. What about people in the west who use kimono for dressing gowns, is that being disrespectful?

What about Japanese people who cut up kimono to make dresses. Is that being disrespectful?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The kimono originated from China, and was an old type of dress that was worn prior to Chinese Qing Dynasty during the middle of 1600s.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

People are yelling "cultural appropriation"! I remember when this used to be called "influence".

7 ( +7 / -0 )

prompting some to accuse her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.

I didn't know we were required to respect clothes

5 ( +12 / -7 )

It used to be considered creative and edgy to borrow good aspects of other cultures to improve your own. I guess now we are just expected to stay in our own lanes, not learn from others and stagnant ourselves into mediocrity. Thanks a lot “Progressives”.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The majority of Japanese no longer wear kimono's. Older ones, and the entertainment and restaurant business, otherwise just weddings and coming of age.

My wife had a kimono collection plus all the necessary accessories and storage cupboards but she never worn them so gave them all away except for some valuable Obi.

I like to wear Samue because its more easy to paint in. People often say "you like Japanese clothes" to which I always reply "and you like western ones!"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kimono wearing seems to be a dying art in Japan. Few people know how to dress themselves in a kimono and kimono dressers are slowly disappearing. I would say Kim is giving the kimono a much needed boost in publicity.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I hate to sound like a right-winger but the entire cultural appropriation debate is absurd. Get a life.

The actual issue that has a lot of people up in arms about in both Japan and the West with this entire thing, is that she is trying to trademark the word 'kimono' in the United States. Which the article didn't mention.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She must knew it would cause a stir but still used it. Why? If it is of other name you think it would have made news on JT and other news sites. Free advertising, mates.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

American television star Kim Kardashian has sparked debate in Japan by naming her new line of shapewear "Kimono,"

Yes, everywhere I have been today, Japanese just don't stop talking about it. It's the biggest news of the month.

Sheesh. Nobody is talking about it, except people here and elsewhere who got sucked in by another viral Kardashian social media campaign, and fake controversy. This woman is a genius when it comes to marketing. I don't know why people call her stupid. She's smarter than I am.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People have too much time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The bra was invented by Caresse Crosby, an American woman, who had a patent at the end of 1914.

Yet you could claim that Triumph Bras have miss-used that "American garment item" for their own profits.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Similar situation with Apple.

In the beginning there was the Beatles Apple Music, which still exists today.

Then along came Steve Jobs and his Apple Computers.

Apple music sued.

Judge decide one was music, the other computers.

But Apple computers can't use their Apple logo in relationship to any music, so their app was called iTunes because they couldn't use the name Apple music.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Awwwww crocodile tears. Japan Kimono Inc. got a taste of cultural appropriation ( You've just been Kim K'ed ) and they don't like karma? Do unto others as you have them do unto you. Anyway, there's no copyright on language. If she wants to call it, Kimono, then so be it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The age of outrage and everything is offensive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan Kimono Inc. got a taste of cultural appropriation ( You've just been Kim K'ed ) and they don't like karma?

Let's be clear, thinking that the opinions expressed in the article are representative of Japanese people is like saying the opinions expressed on JT are representative of Westerners.

The reality is the overwhelming majority of Japanese people in Japan love seeing/dressing up foreigners in kimono.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This old chestnut "culture" in Japan is wearing a bit thin.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Much ado about nothing. But that's Japan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It used to be considered creative and edgy to borrow good aspects of other cultures to improve your own.

It still is. The jedi robes and Darth Vader’s outfit are a good example of appropriation of samurai culture. However, this “Kimono” neither borrows nor enhances anything about kimono culture. Rather, it is the complete opposite of the concept. It really would only make sense if into was named so because it was co-designed by Yoko Ono or something. (Kim, Ono... get it?) this isn’t cultural appropriation, it’s a cheap shot to sell product by stealing a well known name.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a load of pants. Move on with your day in a positive way people!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don’t find it offensive. Just crass and stupid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Westerners: "American wearing Kimono is cultural appropriation!"

Other Westerners: "Cultural appropriation is BS! Japanese are so sensitive!"

Give me a break.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She should change the name but I don't think she should be forced to. Free speech and all that...

1 ( +1 / -0 )


she banned all the comments including Japan/cultural appropriation

there no any negative comments on her brand account


1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the photo the Japanese girl wearing the Kimono is far better looking than Kim Kardashian wearing her version.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In the photo the Japanese girl wearing the Kimono is far better looking than Kim Kardashian wearing her version.

They're both lovely.

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." 

Which people did God give money to?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's a word. Jeez. Get over it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shes’s also bringing out a new cutlery range. She’s calling it ‘chopsticks’.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


No! Chopsticks are japanese - soon to be registered as World Heritage!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh please. Japanese are so sensitive! Ask a regular Japanese person and I bet they wouldn't even know how to wear one properly

0 ( +9 / -9 )

@redtail swift, Not to split hairs, but it is not a matter of copyright, but trademark registration. She is trying to get a trademark: Kimono TM.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Will she be allowed to sell her Kimono underwear in Japan? I think coke had to use a different name in China?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think coke had to use a different name in China?

No, it's called coca-cola (though written with Chinese characters, and pronounced with a Chinese accent).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cant figure out what is so wrong with this. It is a sign that Japanese culture is spreading and appreciated. Not everything has to be authentic and correct. She clearly has respect and appreciates Japanese culture to use it on her brand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Many people (not all) will not understand, because they don’t come from a deep cultured place, some countries culture is just a few hundred years, they destroyed the original culture. How can this people understand what it means.. (I’m not talking about everyone, many understand).

This people have the mentality of conquering, destroying their culture, imposing their way of thinking, living etc.. an example are the natives in the whole American continent, their culture, traditions, destroyed, laughed, bullied.

Please have some respect to the people that feel offended.

You won’t use the n... word because it offends people right (even if is sounds cool now with all the pop influence).

You respect this people right or no? Don’t make excuses if your not them (the people affected). Don’t be the white guy telling the black guy you can’t protest.. (Analogy, just an example)

Don’t be a bully like you know who.. ; )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great branding working her first name into a recognisable garment name.  Wait till she makes something and calls it Kimchi.  Or Kim Jong Un.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She's a modern day Barbarian. Believe me...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've been looking at commentary about this in English and Japanese. As numerous others have suggested this looks like an advertising ploy, a very successful effort to get free advertising. Overall, there is not really all that much "outrage" being expressed in Japanese and what there is focuses on the use of the word kimono for underwear.

I checked the US patents and trademarks database.

There are (as of this morning) 103 trademarks using the word kimono with six or seven of these belonging to the Kondrashian's company. In other words, "appropriation" of the word kimono is not new.

My own advice to other Japanese would be to ignore her and the rest of the Kondrashian clan. They are shameless self-promoters. As numerous American commentators have pointed out, they are famous for being famous.

Japan is more than self-sufficient in tarento (the term most frequently used in Japanese to characterize the Kondrashians) who have nothing going for them except their superb ability to promote themselves. If Japanese are going to focus on utterly vacuous people, they should cheer for the home team.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh please. Japanese are so sensitive! 

I looked at Twitter on this. There are some Japanese posting in English but most of the criticism appears to be coming from non-Japanese including black and Hispanic people who see this as yet another case of cultural appropriation.

I would also note that Japanese are very open to non-Japanese wearing kimono or yukata. I have interviewed Japanese running rental kimono shops in tourist areas. They are happy to rent kimono to non-Japanese of any size, shape, colour, nationality, or gender. NHK often shows non-Japanese wearing kimono.

The issue here is misuse of the word KIMONO. It's like calling a line of breakast cereal SUSHI. More moronic than anything else.

Quite a number of posters on Twitter are also saying the same thing several people have said here -- that this is a cynical attempt to get an enormous amount of free advertising. I tend to agree with this suspicion.

I'll also check Twitter in Japanese later today.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Thanks a lot “Progressives”.

Why are you thanking me? I think these calls of cultural appropriation are ridiculous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Embarrassing. no creativity. she could of stolen another word.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kimutaku should release a line of bulge-enhancing underwear and name it “Mt Rushmore” or “Washington Monument” in retaliation.

The TV spots will have America the Beautiful, with emphasis on the lyric segment “purple mountain majesties” playing in the background.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Oh dear. Kardashian being typically crass.

I'm worried as to how she was allowed to register he word 'Kimono' as a trademark. That is cultural theft.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hope she shows some respect and changes the name. Imagine the out range if it were the other way around. Kim; wanna be an entrepreneur? Spend some time and do some research before you insult another country's cultural and tradition!

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

Upsetting news. This is disrespecting Japanese culture by Kardashian.

"The Japanese government should file a protest against Kardashian,

Agree 100%. An official protest should be lodged. Furthermore the government should apply to register "Kimono" with UNESCO, so incidents like this would be illegal in future.

-8 ( +13 / -21 )

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