Kim Kardashian “Kimono” Depicts Cultural Appropriation

Kim Kardashian West is preparing to launch her new Shapewear line “soon.” In late June, Kardashian introduced three of her products via Instagram. The first image is of a bra and underwear set. The second image shows a bodysuit. The third image, as Kardashian writes, “is the solution short.” Continuing with, “I developed this style for all of those times I wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit and still needed the support. Introducing Kimono Solutionwear™ for everybody. Coming Soon in sizes XXS – 4XL in 9 shades.” However, what was originally named “Kimono” by Kardashian, is being scrutinized by fans as cultural appropriation.

A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment. It’s robe-like with bell sleeves that can be tied with a belt located near the waist. It is the opposite of what the shapewear line is supposed to represent.

Kardashian was in fact seeking trademark rights to the name which further enraged the public. The trademark consisted of different versions of the name including, “Kimono Body” and “Kimono World.” Fans have taken to Twitter under the hashtag #KimOhNo, where they have expressed their discernment. Of these people, Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, Japan sent out an official letter explaining his sentiments.

Mayor Kadokawa’s Response to Kardashian’s “Kimono” and Cultural Appropriation:

He states, “I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to reconsider 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 a sense of beauty, spirits, and values of Japanese.”

He further details that they are proud of their culture and that they are taking initiatives to register their “Kimono culture” under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

Kardashian West’s Response:

At first, Kardashian did not want to change the name. Two days after introducing her brand, she told the New York Times, “I understand and have a deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture.” She explained that “Filing a trademark is a source identifier that will allow me to use  the word for my shapewear and intimates line but does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment.”

Her persistence only lasted a few days as she rescinded her initial reaction. As a response to all the backlash, Kardashian went on Twitter.


Although Kardashian succumbed to the criticism and decided to change the name of her venture, celebrities like Chrissy Teigen supported her.

Though most of the general public responded by simply saying, “Change the name.” The popular opinion of the public and evidently, Japan, forced Kardashian to do the same and change the name “Kimono” due to cultural appropriation.


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