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Japan tries its hardest to keep up with the Kardashians

by Tom Hanaway

Staff Writer

The internet desperately tried to keep up with the Kardashians last week when the famous family visited Japan. Kim, Kourtney and Khloe traveled to Tokyo and Kyoto while filming an episode of their enormously popular reality show that has been running for 14 seasons, and they brought their entire entourage with them.

Kim seemed to be inspired by Japan before the trip even began, dyeing her hair bright pink in a very anime-esque fashion. When asked about it on Twitter, Kim removed any doubt by writing, “I am obsessed with anime.” She also posted a photo of a pink-haired character from the animated show “Darling in the Franxx” on Instagram with a succinct caption: “My hair inspo.” (The photo currently has more than 970,000 likes.)

Hardcore anime fans had a mixed reaction online about Kim’s new “inspo,” arguing that she’s not a real fan. User @syanneferguson7 wrote “It’s 2018 and everybody coming out as an anime lover.” User @bella_17 defended her, saying, “If you have a problem with Kim Kardashian liking anime then block me delete me I don’t want you in my life.” Many users noted that her husband, rapper and designer Kanye West, has been particularly vocal about his anime habits in the past, so this could just be one of his interests rubbing off on her.

Kim’s pink vision landed the Kardashian clan on the front pages of websites they probably wouldn’t have expected to see themselves, including Anime News Network. They even forced Vice News to ask the question of our generation: Is Anime ‘Cool’ Now?

The only thing more controversial than Kim’s hair was Khloe’s baby bump. The 33-year-old sister joined everyone in Japan, a trip that can feel long and exhausting to even a seasoned traveler, despite the fact that she’s eight months pregnant.

Many people online voiced their outrage over what they argued was an unwise decision. User @StephanieSidley asked “Why would you fly 17 hours over an ocean at 8 months???”

The backlash over her decision to fly prompted articles in Travel + Leisure, U.S. Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle, while Google Trends revealed that the phrase “Can I fly while pregnant” spiked in the United States during Khloe’s time in Japan.

After all the mean tweets and think pieces, Khloe silenced everyone by writing: “Of course, before our flight, I took all precautions and got my body checked from my dr and I’m completely healthy. I wouldn’t put my baby at risk in any way.” It seems publications finally stopped questioning her health and focused on the wild maternity clothes she was wearing in Japan instead.

Kourtney, on the other hand, had a low-key trip. She focused all her energy on taking Instagram photos in front of classic tourist spots such as Asakusa, Kyoto’s bamboo forest and a bunch of innocuous vending machines. (The latter has more than 1.5 million likes on Instagram.)

Kourtney’s photos, which featured her in an array of dramatic poses and outfits, dwarfed any snapshots mere mortal travelers dream of taking during their time in Japan. User @endylipa wrote “Kourtney Kardashian in Japan is what I aspire to be.”

The Kardashians’ posts can also be a godsend for companies in the country. Harajuku’s Kawaii Monster Cafe, which sells colorful drinks and dishes in a fantastical and trippy setting, received a gift from the social media heavens after Kim and Kourtney posted a picture of them eating ice cream there with the simple caption “Kourtney & Kim Take Tokyo.”

The Kawaii Monster Cafe has been trying to become a tourist mainstay over the past few years, and the Kardashians’ photos may do the trick. Kim’s post received more than 1.7 million likes and even garnered a story by People magazine, and the restaurant posted a simple message that read, “yes, the girls came finally.”

The Kardashians are just the latest in a line of celebrities whose trips to Japan have been immortalized on social media, whether it’s Justin Bieber standing around shirtless, Lena Dunham posing at the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel or Keanu Reeves walking carefree down the streets of Akihabara. Before his death, Robin Williams often spoke about his love of anime and the joy he felt when doing press tours in Japan.

The trip seems to have made an impression on the Kardashians, too. Kourtney posted a picture of herself surrounded by women in kimono with the message: “I am still in awe of Japan and its beautiful culture. Never have I met more kind and polite people. Thank you for being so welcoming to us. Until next time … arigatō (thank you).”