KYOTO – Kyoto’s kimono-loving mayor sent a letter to American pop culture icon Kim Kardashian West asking her to reconsider trademarking “kimono” as the name of her new underwear brand, the ancient capital said Monday.
“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,” wrote Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, who is renowned for always wearing kimono while carrying out official duties.
The mayor said not only Japanese but also foreign tourists often stroll around Kyoto wearing kimono, adding that his city is trying to have kimono culture registered on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
“We think that the names for ‘kimono’ are the asset shared with all humanity who love kimono and its culture, therefore they should not be monopolized,” Kadokawa wrote.
A spokeswoman for the municipal government’s traditional industries section said the message has been sent to Kardashian West in English by post and in an email, as well as being uploaded onto the mayor’s official Facebook page. However, the city has yet to receive a reply from the American celebrity.
Kardashian West released details about her upcoming Kimono Solutionwear collection on social media last week. “Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work,” she wrote.
However, her announcement was slammed on social media, with people creating a pun hashtag “#KimOhNo” to pour scorn on the name.
Kadokawa, who is serving his third term as mayor of Kyoto, began wearing kimono soon after he was elected in 2008. He does so in support of the traditional industry.
The mayor ended his letter by inviting Kardashian West to visit Kyoto, asking her to “experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts and our strong wish.”