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Let's discuss Kim Kardashian West's Kimono line

This week’s featured article

KYODO

Less than a week after announcing an upcoming underwear line called Kimono Solutionwear, U.S. reality television star Kim Kardashian West has dropped the brand name following a backlash from people in Japan, including the mayor of Kyoto.

“My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name,” Kardashian West said in a statement Monday on social media, including Instagram where she has 142 million followers. “I am always listening, learning and growing — I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me. When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind.”

The TV-star-turned businesswoman, whose other entrepreneurial ventures include makeup brand KKW beauty and mobile game “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” announced “a new, solution focused approach to shape enhancing underwear” called Kimono Solutionwear on Tuesday.While a number of celebrities and fans expressed their support, Kardashian West’s social media accounts received hundreds of replies, many using the hashtag “#KimOhNo,” expressing distaste for her word choice.

As of Monday, more than 130,000 people had signed an online petition to “change this horrible cultural disrespect.” Despite the backlash, in a statement to the New York Times on Thursday, Kardashian West said “I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” but that she would not change the name.

Kyoto’s kimono-loving mayor, Daisaku Kadokawa, renowned for always wearing the attire while carrying out official duties, on Friday sent Kardashian West an open letter asking her to reconsider her attempt to trademark a name that includes the word “kimono.”

“Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history with our predecessors’ tireless endeavors and studies, and it is a culture that has been cherished and passed down with care,” Kadokawa wrote. The mayor went on to say that the word kimono “should not be monopolized,” before expressing his hope that the American mega-star would visit Kyoto.

First published in The Japan Times on July 2.

Warm up

One minute chat about kimono.

Game

Collect words related to fashion:

e.g., brand, wear, dress, style …

New words

1) backlash: a strong adverse reaction by a large number of people, e.g., “He received public backlash for his comment on race.”

2) reconsider: to consider something again after having considered it earlier, e.g., “The school reconsidered prohibiting students from bringing smart phones to school.”

3) cherish: to treasure or keep something with care and consideration, e.g. “Okubo cherishes the time she spends with her family.”

Guess the headline

Kim Kardashian to d_ _ _ Kimono name from s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ after objections

Questions

1) How many people signed the online petition to change the brand’s name?

2) What did Mayor Kadokawa say in his open letter to Kim Kardashian West?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How familiar are you with kimono?

2) Do you think Kim Kardashian West did the right thing by dropping the word kimono from her brand name?

Reference

日本文化が海外にも広まるようになっていった中で、Kimonoという言葉も広く世界に認知されるようになりました。日本の伝統的な形が完全にそのまま伝わってはいないケースが多かれ少なかれあるとは言え、一見着物とは無関係に思われる補正下着ブランドをKimonoという名前で始めようとするプロジェクトに、様々な声が集まっています。文化の盗用という、日本ではなじみの薄い問題としても描かれることの多いこの事案を、私たちはどのようにとらえればよいのでしょうか。朝英語の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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