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Kyoto mayor posts letter to Kim Kardashian on Facebook,explaining what kimono really is

55 Comments
By Scott Wilson, SoraNews24

Kim Kardashian recently came under fire for trademarking the name “kimono” for her upcoming brand of shapewear. No, the underwear doesn’t have anything to do with the traditional Japanese clothing, and the celebrity has been taking a lot of heat online for what seems to be either an intentional misnomer or a baffling misunderstanding.

But now someone else has entered the ring: Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Kyoto. Kyoto is known for its blending of modern and traditional Japan, with many geisha and maiko still living and performing there… geisha and maiko who wear real kimono daily.

If any place in the world is an expert on kimono, it’s Kyoto, and the mayor posted a letter to Kardashian on his Facebook page.

Ms. Kim Kardashian West

Kimono Intimates, Inc.

I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to re-consider 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. Also, it is a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese.

In recent years, we see not only Japanese but also many foreign tourists wearing Kimono and strolling around in Kyoto and cities in Japan. It is a proof that Kimono, that we are proud of as our traditional culture, is loved by people from around the world.

We are currently undertaking initiatives nationally to make “Kimono Culture”, symbol of our culture and spirits, registered to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 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.

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.

Yours Sincerely,

Daisaku Kadokawa

Mayor of Kyoto

The mayor’s letter to Kim Kardashian may not be the most savage burn of all time, but it is brutal in its honesty. It explains what kimono is, asserts that it should not be monopolized, and invites Kim to come visit Kyoto to see kimono for herself.

That last part is especially poignant, since Kim and her husband Kanye have visited Tokyo before. Is the mayor saying that they haven’t fully experienced Japan just by popping around Shinjuku grabbing McDonald’s apple pies? Well, we’ll just have to leave that up to interpretation.

Here’s how some Japanese netizens reacted to the letter on the Facebook page: (posts in Japanese have been translated, posts in English have been left as originally written)

“Thank you so much.”

“Please, mayor! Do your best to stop her!”

“Well said. I agree with you Sir.”

“As a certified Kimono Consultant who has been serving both in Japan and the U.S., what Mayor of Kyoto promptly taking his action on this issue truly supported my back. I deeply appreciate him and those people who are supporting Japan.”

“The Mayor of Kyoto claimed to a company who is registering KIMONO as their trademark. As he states in his letter, KIMONO is not a name of typical cloth or brand but our culture and tradition in Japan!!! Who is owning the name of Aloha shirts? or Kilt? Dose this company intend to monopolize Japanese culture??? I would love to support the action Mr Kadokawa took!!”

This isn’t the first time Kyoto has spoken up about how to be respectful of its traditional culture, and it likely won’t be the last.

Source: Facebook/@kadokawadaisaku

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kimono rental shops in Kyoto and Nara offer Japanese-style hijabs to buy or rent

-- Kimono artisans hope to revive dying industry by taking kimono to New York Fashion Week

-- Beautiful line of Kimono Pouches let you add traditional Japanese style to any outfit

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

55 Comments
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Did you really need to stoop to her level?

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

The mayor is an ass.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

He didn't have anything better to do? Must be nice.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Seriously, who cares.

The only thing this mayor did was to give any sort of attention and 'legitimacy' to anything Kardashian says or does, which is never a good thing.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

This seems to be a big publicity stunt by Kardashian.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The entire Kardashian realm suffers from a dire lack of imagination and ingenuity

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This is just stupid. I will never get back the 3 minutes of my life it took me to read this. Who cares where the word is used. Maybe I don't truely understand because I am nit a 99 year old Japanese person. In other news, it is raining today.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

What I find interesting here is that the Japanese have appropriated many cultural things from every where, my country included. I hope they take a good look in the mirror.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Oh! please please Mrs West do not disrespect our small nation Japan's , we are kind people, many nice guys here in Japan, we are the only island country please please leave our Kimono alone, Oh! Please Ms West come to Kyoto, and see that we We are UNESCO world heritage site. Please Please bring Yeezy with you.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

American trash culture.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

We will never allow Kardashians to dictate terns to Japan. We will never allow the Kardashians to tell us what is fashionable and what is shapely ! Never!

Thank you Mr Mayor for telling it like it is.

Again Good Work.

Tonight I will wear a kimono in your honor.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Youtuber, That Japanese Man Yuta presents his points and explains why this is an issue well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Like she cares.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Dear Mayor,

It's funny how you wasted time on this rather than other issues that make sense. Wether Kim Kardashian used that word or not, the image of Kimono isn't stained. People around the world know the difference between the real Kimono and Kim Kardashian's brand.But maybe you should've looked yourself first in the mirror as there are several times when Japan did the same thing. I'll just give you one example, your fake church weddings. You built so many fake Christian chapels just to do fancy western style weddings eventhough you are not Christians at all. For atheists and non Christians this could be nothing, but Churches for devoted Christians are very sacred, many even kneel down when they cross the altar and you just make these to satisfy the Cinderella fantasy wedding that many of your shallow materialistic women dreamed of without even considering what these actually means to some other cultures. Again I would not make an issue out of these weddings and I am not defending Kim Kardashian as she annoys me more than anyone. The only point I am making is, before you over react mabe better to check your own people first for doing exactly the same thing.

Regards,

A Gaijin who doesn't matter to you

8 ( +18 / -10 )

The majority of the world don't even know what a kimono is. That's what happens when a country closes itself off for a couple of hundred years.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

@noypikantoku excellent points, and consider how many other Western customs and words the Japanese have 'plagiarized' and massacred into Katakana and colloquial slang - I haven't heard any native speakers complaining about those. Mayor of Kyoto is an arrogant fool.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

If I recall, Kimono is already used as a noun and registered within the Webster English Dictionary so I do not think Ms. Kardashian can register it as their own.

They will have to come up with a certain font and associate it with the word Kimono in which both are needed to be used to be recognized as a registered trade mark and not just the word like Coca Cola.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Like hashtag in Twitter, what's wrong with her changing a bit to KimOhNo!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

noypikantoku, You are dead right about this.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Time to write a gazillion letters to protest each wasei-eigo monstrosity.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The major of Kyoto is too free.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Very humble and nice letter! Don't expect anything back from American model or American people. As they have no concept of culture. They will not simply understand. Thats the fact. This is a denigration of Japanese culture and it should be condemned not just by Japan but by the rest of the world.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Neil

Don't expect anything back from American model or American people. As they have no concept of culture.

Kim Kardashian doesn't represent the whole American people if you think America has no concept of culture perhaps you should ask Japan to stop playing baseball then .

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Kim Kardashian is trash and I'm sure she's just too stupid to understand why it's offensive to try to trademark another culture's clothing (name, mind you) but CMON... Japan is the king of cultural appropriation in Asia, they literally don't have a leg to stand on in this fight. It's literally the pot calling the kettle black. This mayor is just trying to gain brownie points among his nationalistic base.

And every single person likening a garbage, pop-soup tabloid celebrity to the entirety of America is every bit as bad as Kim K. herself. In that case am I allowed to take the crap example of a Japanese person and hold them as the representative of your country? No? Cool, then you don't get to do it to mine either.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Guess the mayor is OK with Kimono-brand condoms, bars and nightclubs named kimono, etc. Search Google for "kimono" and you'll get about 1,460,000,000 results. Looks like the mayor has too much time on his hands. Much ado about nothing.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

What a loser this mayor is. A publicity stunt? Her behavior is dwarfed by the way Japan bastardizes English and foreign customs. but then if any foreigner calls them out about it it will be labeled as an attack on Japanese culture

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I see Kim giving the 'rarely worn kimono ' a giant boost in publicity

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just the mayor of Kyoto getting the opportunity to grab the headlines for the city. In the beginning the kimono wasn't worn by the common people they had to wear simple indigo dyed peasant clothes.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Literally "kimono means "something to wear." It became over time something special to wear. K.K. does not know the nuances of "kimono" and whatever she is selling isn't "kimono."

Noypikantoku made a good point about Japanese expropriation of Western things, like the fake Christian wedding in fake churches. In the Meiji Era the Japanese went crazy over Western clothes. Kipling wrote that in Tokyo he saw hordes of Japanese dresses as English ladies and gentlemen, none of whom could speak a word of English.

The American flag has become decoration in Japan, too often ending up on the seat of some young lady's blue jeans.

The truth is that societies borrow and steal culture from each other. It can be irritating but it is the constant imitation and refinement of other cultures that keeps world culture alive.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Rich cultural heritage etc blah blah blah. Give back all you have appropriated and I will call Kim tomorrow for you

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don’t even know what to say on that one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those Kardashians represent the typical US decadent garbage "culture"..

2 ( +4 / -2 )

She should have called her product line Kim, Oh No. It's actually very unattractive underwear.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many Chinese people admire Japan for preserving good old Chinese culture they lost over there.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There is then a supposition that this kardashian can read things by her self

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kim Kardashian West is studying to be a lawyer.  Has enrolled for the first stages of the California bar exam, and is currently ploughing through the basic principles of tort, contract and criminal law under the supervision of two mentoring attorneys.

I guess she has already done the class on trademarks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

well it is a Japanese a traditional ethnic dress and he have the right to say whatever he want. good on him and i would do the same i were him

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Good lord, mayor, relax. She trademarked "Kimono" as a name for a line of shapewear (whatever that is) and nothing else. Just as Kimono condoms trademarked as a line of condoms (to no huge backlash, unless I missed it.) Just as Kimono Labs trademarked it for their software company.

I despise the Kardashians, but this is ridiculous.

If she changes the name, please be so kind as rename all those "mansions" and stop eating the "pan" appropriated from the Portuguese. And we'll ask the Chinese and Koreans to come up with a short list of things they'd like Japan to stop enjoying because they did it first.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Kim Kardashian has stated she has dropped the name Kimono for her underwear after the very public cultural outcry. She said it wasn't her intention to upset people. She will reveal the new name soon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The mayor of Kyoto obviously has too much time on his hands.

....and I am sure that the mayor would be happy for Ms. Kardashian to visit Kyoto and collect the hotel accomadation tax.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Let me get this straight. Japan took the idea for the kimono from the Chinese (along with their writing and numerous other things) they changed the garment over time to be different yet still similar to the original Chinese garment, and are now upset that someone is using the word kimono? Japan constantly takes foreign things and rebrands them to suit their own tastes. Modern neo-Marxists call this process ”cultural appropriation”. Anyone with a brain would recognize this as basic as evolution. The Mayor is exhibiting a huge blind spot in his objections.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Did he write similar letters to Kawasaki and Suzuki over their use of 'ninja', 'katana' and 'samurai'? Let's hope he doesn't find out about the Ninja blender...

I expect this kind of 'cultural appropriation' nonsense from my own country, but I'm surprised to see it come out of Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

In a mean time, it seems Kim changed her mind.

https://image.itmedia.co.jp/l/im/nl/articles/1907/02/l_ah00_kim1.jpg#utm_source=yahoo_v3&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=20190702-025&utm_term=it_nlab-soci&utm_content=img

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some posters seem to be really confusing issues. The Japanese were never upset about ninja/katana/samurai word to describe blades or sharp objects that are not too far from the image of the ancient items or people.

Kim Kardashian's brand, on the other hand, is about shapewear designed to enhance women's curves, which is exactly the opposite to how the kimono flattens the women's body to present the style.

And while kimono literally means "things to wear" originally, it is referred to the certain Japanese ethnic dress style. The Chinese never called their garments "kimono" in Japanese.

The Japanese may have raised eyebrows a little but never really took issues out of Hollywood celebrities calling polyester bathrobes "kimono" or wearing it in a cheap geisha style. What's offending them is mislabeling the underwear with high-end outerwear. If Kardashian had named it "Kim's fundoshi," the Japanese would've enjoyed the humor.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

These replies, so many po'ed people here. Worth a laugh about once a month or so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it's always funny to see how people react. good for khardashian for realizing the error and cancelling the name.

Our kimono is unique. And yes our culture had lots of influence from both china, korea, india/nepal, holland, portugal, and so forth. Is it the same? no. similar? not even close. can trace an origin by its looks? perhaps.

The issue is that kimono is a type of clothing product. By trademarking, which i was thinking could easily be challenged and overturned if registered, anyone who sells kimono by using the word kimono could potentially be subject to cease and desist order, because both are clothing items with a very similar application and can easily confuse consumers.

it's akin to what might happen if someone trademarked a word hamburger for a particular beef product that is actually not a hamburger. Or the word underware for a clothing product that's not an underware. KK's naming sense therefore is so stupid if you looked at it from legal perspectives but not bad as a marketing stint, whether she actually planned that way is a separate debate.

Kyoto mayer was pretty clever by involving consumers and appealing in a very civil and diplomatic manner, which many who commented here don't seem to be capable of. At least most are plain trolls with no brain and just after instigating others like a teenager with a little junk syndrome.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@sariri

Some posters seem to be really confusing issues. The Japanese were never upset about ninja/katana/samurai word to describe blades or sharp objects that are not too far from the image of the ancient items or people.

Except that in the cases I mentioned, which you are obviously talking about because I'm the only one who mentioned it, the Ninja, Katana and Samurai were motorcycles and a light truck (and now a food processor). What the heck does that have to do with the image of 'ancient times or people'? Your comparison is completely backwards, at least in the case of Kim Kardashian, it was still clothing.

There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to get upset about this. Companies have been using common old words as product names forever. This whole uproar is meaningless and a waste of time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@joe

The issue is that kimono is a type of clothing product. By trademarking, which i was thinking could easily be challenged and overturned if registered, anyone who sells kimono by using the word kimono could potentially be subject to cease and desist order, because both are clothing items with a very similar application and can easily confuse consumers.

it's akin to what might happen if someone trademarked a word hamburger for a particular beef product that is actually not a hamburger. Or the word underware for a clothing product that's not an underware. KK's naming sense therefore is so stupid if you looked at it from legal perspectives but not bad as a marketing stint, whether she actually planned that way is a separate debate.

Except that is not how trademarks work. Someone trademarking the name 'Kimono' for their clothing brand means that no one else can call their clothing under the brand name 'Kimono'. It does not mean no one else can sell a kimono and call it a kimono.

And if someone ordered Kim Kardashian's 'Kimono' brand underwear expecting to receive a Japanese kimono, well, that person would be stupid.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

noypikantoku,

Has Kyoto tried to trademark the words, "Wedding", "Bride", or "Chapel"?

No. Of course not.

So there is no equivalency here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

taj

Has Kyoto tried to trademark the words, "Wedding", "Bride", or "Chapel"?

No. Of course not.

So there is no equivalency here.

Ok maybe the Chapel and Wedding is too soft as examples, I give you another one, Japan has an under wear brand called "Black Man" , any backlush? I think the whole point is the over reaction because of too much "pride", the same pride for Japanese people's disapproval of having non Japanese national sushi chefs, because only Japanese can do it (But Japanese can be Italian food chefs) . As if their culture is only for them and cannot be shared and at the same time they don't care about other cultures. Just turn the TV on, everyday you will see TV Variety shows where Japanese comedians making fun of some foreign cuisine somwhere. My whole point is, Japanese people do the same thing! So better for this mayor to look in his own yard first before writing this letter.  People know the difference between the real Kimono and Kim K.'s brand, so Japanese people and their apologists just have to relax.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

America and the west in general, has taken Japanese cultural items and butchered them. Japan has taken American and other western cultural items and butchered them. But you can't blame these individuals for it, so neither can be called a hypocrite. We don't have laws to stop this silliness and I don't think we ever could without resorting to full fascism. So letters like this are one of the few weapons we have to prevent this stupid butchery of cultural items.

The mayor's letter is fine. Non-clothing items being named kimono offers zero confusion, unlike underwear. Kim's choice of Kimono as a name for underwear was stupid, but she certainly has a lot of company for such stupidity in both Japan and America and elsewhere. Americans will continue to think a futon is a kind of folding sofa and Japanese will continue to think Viking means a buffet.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Non-clothing items being named kimono offers zero confusion, unlike underwear.

Where is the confusion? What person in their right mind would look at a picture of Kim Kardashian's underwear on Amazon and think they are ordering a Japanese kimono for $29.99?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What person in their right mind would look at a picture of Kim Kardashian's underwear on Amazon and think they are ordering a Japanese kimono for $29.99?

When I first heard about it I saw no picture. So I assumed there was a kimono relationship. When I saw the picture I was wondering if it had something to do with what was worn as the inner kimono that you don't see, and there are ton of layers. For example it could be taken to mean its suitable as the lowest layer for traditional Japanese female kimono.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disheartening to see that the woke "cultural appropriation" nonsnse has now founds its way to Japan. Is there any sane place left?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

extanker:

Where is the confusion? What person in their right mind would look at a picture of Kim Kardashian's underwear on Amazon and think they are ordering a Japanese kimono for $29.99?

Rethorical question?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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