Japan’s trade minister says the kimono belongs to Japan — not to Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand.
West announced the line, Kimono Solutionwear, last week. But some Japanese critics on social media said the name, which the reality TV star, makeup mogul and budding lawyer trademarked, is an inappropriate take on centuries-old kimono clothing.
West then tweeted that she would launch her brand under a new name following careful thought and consideration.
Japan’s trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, said Tuesday that the kimono is globally known as belonging to Japan, and urged U.S. trademark officials to examine the case appropriately.
“Kimono is Japan’s cultural pride that we boast to the world. Even in the United States, kimono is highly recognized as a Japanese thing,” Seko told reporters. “We hope the case is examined appropriately to reflect the purpose of the trademark system.”
Seko said he will dispatch senior officials to Washington next week for talks with U.S. trademark officials.
The planned kimono brand also triggered a backlash in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, home to many kimono makers and a popular tourist destination.
Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, who wears a kimono at work, said in a June 28 letter to West that kimono are not only part of Japan’s cultural heritage but also the “fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolize the sense of beauty, spirit and values of Japanese,” and that she should perhaps visit the city to “experience the essence of kimono culture.
“We think that the name for kimono is an asset shared with all humanity who love kimono and its culture, therefore it should not be monopolized,” said Kadokawa, who is campaigning to register kimono as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
Kadokawa on Tuesday thanked West for her decision to reconsider the brand name.
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.