On Tuesday, Kim Kardashian introduced a new shapewear brand that had a very unique name. The name caused her to receive some backlash as people felt it was cultural appropriation.
The Keeping up with the Kardashians star and businesswoman took to social media with three images from the photo shoot of for the garments. She was seen posing with models who all wore the shapewear.
A number of Japanese people have accused Kardashian, 38, of disrespecting Japanese culture. The kimono is known as a traditional 15th-century clothing item.
"I find the naming of your products baffling."
According to the reality star, her trademarked brand “celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women.” An editor for BBC News Japan, Yuko Kato replied to Kardashian’s post asking her to reconsider the name.
“Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress, … kimono, I find the naming of your products baffling (since it has no resemblance to kimono), if not outright culturally offensive, especially if it’s merely a word play on your name. Pls reconsider.”
Professor Sheila Cliffe from the Jumonji Women's University in Niiza, Japan, spoke about the history of the kimono. She revealed that the garment was actually worn for the opposite purpose compared to Kardashian’s brand.
Cliffe explained that the kimono was meant to be “graceful, elegant and gentle.” It’s not supposed to be tight or shape the wearer’s body in any way.
The professor further elaborated on why the use of the name for such an item was offensive. She said: “If I made a bra and called it a sari... some people would be very annoyed. It shows extreme disrespect.”
The garment is considered as the national dress code in Japan. However, it is now usually worn for special occasions like weddings, and women are the ones who mostly wear them.
One person who seems excited by the new brand is Chrissy Teigen. She tweeted: "Oh my god I don't have to cut one side of my spanx anymore!!!!!"
However, a person named Sono Fukunishi started a Change.org petition to fight against Kardashian's use of the word. So far the petition has more than 28,000 signatures out of 35,000.