Kim Kardashian Facing Backlash For Exploiting Japanese Culture With Her New Fashion Line

Kim Kardashian West attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City.
Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Kim Kardashian launched a new shapewear line on Tuesday called Kimono, and people aren’t having it. According to Page Six, the reality star is facing backlash for exploiting Japanese culture with her latest fashion venture.

The star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians posted an announcement on Twitter on Tuesday to reveal her new line of shapewear, which she says will work for women of all sizes. The makeup mogul says it’s something she has been passionate about for 15 years and has been working on for the past year.

But social media users aren’t feeling the love. The kimono originated in Japan during the Heian era – around 794 AD – and has been a traditional Japanese garment important to the culture ever since. These days, women wear kimono for formal occasions like tea ceremonies and weddings.

The word means “thing to wear on the shoulders,” and it’s a well-recognized piece of traditional dress that represents the country around the world.

“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,” one person tweeted in response to her announcement.

“Please be respectful with Japanese culture. The word Kimono shouldn’t be something that any one company can take advantage and making profit out of,” said another.

It’s not just social media users who are taking issue with the name of the undergarment line, however. Some people in Japan are upset with the use of the term kimono as well. According to The Washington Post, critics say that Kardashian is using a concept that is important to Japanese culture to promote consumerism and line her pockets.

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Since launching the line, the hashtag #KimOhNo has been trending on the site as people weigh in with their opinions.

Yoshifumi Nakazaki, the deputy director general of the Japan Kimono League, said that the idea of registering the word kimono for a trademark, as Kardashian did last year, is “unthinkable.”

Kardashian says the line of shapewear will come in nine different shades and a wide range of sizes. She revealed several new styles, including one that features a higher leg on one side so that a woman can wear a skirt with a slit in it without revealing her underwear. She hasn’t commented on the controversy surrounding the name of the garments.