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Japan warns Kardashian in kimono clothing range dispute

Trade minister Hiroshige Seko said the kimono is globally known as belonging to Japan.

Kim Kardashian West (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Kim Kardashian West (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Japan’s trade minister has said the kimono belongs to Japan — not to Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand.

Kardashian West announced her Kimono Solutionwear line last week, but Japanese critics on social media said the name – which the reality TV star, make-up mogul and budding lawyer trademarked – is an inappropriate take on centuries-old kimono clothing.

On Monday, she tweeted that she would launch her brand under a new name following careful thought and consideration.

Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said on Tuesday that the kimono is globally known as belonging to Japan, and urged US 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 recognised as a Japanese thing,” Mr Seko told reporters.

“We hope the case is examined appropriately to reflect the purpose of the trademark system.”

He said he will dispatch senior officials to Washington next week for talks with US trademark officials.

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(Toru Hanai/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The planned kimono brand triggered a backlash in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, home to many kimono makers and a popular tourist destination.

City mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, who wears a kimono at work, said in a June 28 letter to Kardashian West that kimono are not only part of Japan’s cultural heritage but also the “fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolise the sense of beauty, spirit and values of Japanese”, and that she could 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 monopolised,” said Mr Kadokawa, who is campaigning to register kimono as a Unesco intangible cultural heritage.

Mr Kadokawa also thanked Kardashian West for her decision to reconsider the brand name.

PA

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