Kim Kardashian announced yesterday that she’s coming out with a shapewear line called “Kimono Intimates” that ‘celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women.’
Now, I’m sure she thought it was a delightful play on words – her name is Kim, get it? – but the fact is, a traditional Japanese kimono is actually the opposite of figure-hugging shapewear.
As Professor Sheila Cliffe from the Jumonji Women’s University in Niiza, Japan explains it:
‘The [aesthetic] of the kimono is graceful, elegant and gentle. It is not overtly revealing or figure-hugging. It wraps the wearer so they are not exposed.
‘If I made a bra and called it a sari… some people would be very annoyed. It shows extreme disrespect. [the Kimono] is an expression of Japanese identity. That word does not belong to Kim Kardashian.’
And the response on social media has been mostly along those lines:
One Instagram user wrote: ‘I feel very sad that the name ”Kimono” is being used to something completely different from what we Japanese know about it. Kimono is Japanese traditional clothes and we are very proud of its history and culture. I’m sorry but I feel this name choice is simply ignorant.
Another wrote: ‘Wow, @KimKardashian. Thanks for BUTCHERING Japanese culture!!! My culture is not your plaything. You don’t have any respect for people who are not your family, do you? In the 15 yrs developing this project, couldn’t you find a cultural advisor? #KimOhNo #culturalappropriation.’
‘She’s been to Japan many times. I’m shocked. She has no respect,’ tweeted one social media user in Japanese.
‘I like Kim Kardashian, but please pick a name other than kimono if it’s underwear,’ wrote another.
‘The Japanese government should file a protest against Kardashian,’ wrote yet another.
(via Daily Mail; photo: MediaPunch)
Coincidentally (or not), Kim is on the cover of Vogue Japan this month.