Kim Kardashian West is famous for being famous.
But even the queen of reality television has been forced to back down after unveiling her controversial “Kimono” line of lingerie last week.
The 38-year-old socialite and businesswomen decided to change the name of her latest creation after a cultural outcry.
At the weekend, Kardashian, who is married to rapper Kanye West, sparked a social media storm after earlier launching a new lingerie line. In Japan, she was accused of disrespecting the Kimono, a traditional and iconic outfit.
Following the row, which included the trending hashtag #KimOhNo, Kardashian revealed on Twitter and to her 142 million followers on Instagram that she would change the name.
“When I announced the name of my shape-wear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind,” she said.
“My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solution-wear brand under a new name,” she said.
Once a standard of the Japanese wardrobe, the kimono is now often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, and is mostly worn by women.
Even Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto, waded into the row when he asked Kardashian to consider renaming her shape-wear line.
“Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history,” he wrote in a letter to Kardashian.
“[I] ask you to reconsider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark,” Kadokawa added.
Explaining her decision to change the name, Kardashian said “being an entrepreneur and my own boss” has been a rewarding challenge.
It certainly has. In Forbes magazine’s fourth annual list of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women” in 2018, she was worth US$350 million.
“What’s made it possible for me after all of these years has been the direct line of communication with my fans and the public,” she said. “I am always listening, learning and growing … I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me.”
But Kardashian’s U-turn has failed to appease Japanese officials.
Later this month, the Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko will send a senior Patent Office staff to the US to discuss the situation.
“The kimono is a culture our country has given to the world. In America as well, kimono has a high name recognition as being Japanese,” Seko told the media in Tokyo.
“I hope the United States will take the appropriate screening measures, taking into account the spirit of the trademark system,” he added.
– reporting by AFP