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Japanese mayor writes letter asking Kim Kardashian-West to reconsider shapewear brand name

Lauren Frias , Business Insider US
 Jun 29, 2019, 07:11 PM
Kim Kardashian West is the founder of makeup brand KKW Beauty.
  • The mayor of Kyoto wrote a letter to Kim Kardashian-West on Friday, urging her to "reconsider" trademarking her new shapewear line, "Kimono."
  • Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa wrote that national initiatives are already underway to register "Kimono culture" with UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list, as it is an asset to be "shared with all humanity" and therefore should not be "monopolised."
  • Kardashian-West responded to the backlash, saying she has no plans "to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment."
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

A Japanese mayor wrote a letter to Kim Kardashian-West on Friday, urging her to "reconsider" trademarking her new shapewear line, "Kimono."

"Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history with our predecessors' tireless endeavors and studies, and it is a culture that has been cherished and passed down with care in our living," Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Kyoto, wrote in the letter.

He described the kimono as "a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolises sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese," and that it is loved "by people from around the world" as foreign tourists and Japanese residents alike wear the traditional robe around Kyoto and other Japanese cities, Kadokawa wrote.

Mayor of Kyoto letter to Kim Kardashian-West.
Kyoto City Official Website

Kadokawa also wrote that national initiatives are already underway to register "Kimono culture" with UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list, as it is an asset to be "shared with all humanity" and therefore should not be "monopolised."

INSIDER emailed the Kimono team for a statement but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.

Kardashian-West responded to the backlash she had been receiving over social media in a statement published in the New York Times, saying she has no plans "to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment."

She clarified the use of a trademark on the brand, saying that it will be a "source identifier" to use the word for her shapewear and intimates line. She added that it "does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment," Kardashian-West said in a statement.

"I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture," Kardashian-West said in a statement to the New York Times.

An official launch date for the brand is yet to be announced.

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