15:25 GMT +317 November 2019
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    Kim Kardashian arrives for the 2019 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York.

    Japanese Mayor Writes to Kim Kardashian Asking Her to ‘Reconsider’ Kimono Brand

    © AFP 2019 / ANGELA WEISS
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    A Japanese mayor has issued a statement urging Kim Kardashian West to “reconsider” her new shapewear line named “Kimono” after it sparked a huge backlash all across Japan.

    Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa has written an open letter to Kardashian West, saying the kimono is "a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolises a sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese," publishing his letter on the city of Kyoto’s official website.

    Kadokawa noted that the kimono is popular in Kyoto, worn both by locals and tourists, proving that it is “loved by people from around the world” and “should not be monopolised.”  The mayor even invited Kardashian West to visit Kyoto, saying that it is “where many Japanese cultures including kimono have been cherished, to experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts.”

    The reality star didn’t respond to the letter but addressed the controversy in a statement released by The New York Times on Thursday 27 June, saying the name was an intentional “nod to the beauty and detail” that goes into making a traditional kimono. She noted that she has “deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture” and has no plans “to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonour the traditional garment.” Nonetheless, she said she won’t change the name of the brand in light of the backlash.

    The collection of nude-coloured underwear was announced on Tuesday 25 June. It has faced massive criticism, with many accusing the reality star of engaging in cultural appropriation. Many social media users have vocally complained about Kim’s new trademark, arguing that the word "kimono" bears huge cultural significance in Japan, some even coining a new hashtag, #KimOhNo, adding that this word shouldn’t “belong” to Kardashian West as a trademark.


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