Popular American television star Kim Kardashian has sparked off a debate in Japan by naming her new line of shapewear “Kimono,” prompting some to accuse her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.
The pop culture icon unveiled the new “Kimono” line on Twitter, revealing she had been working for a year on the underwear to offer “solutions for women that actually work”.
But the announcement garnered mixed reaction both at home and in Japan, with some offering their criticism on Twitter using the hashtag #KimOhNo.
“She’s been to Japan many times. I’m shocked. She has no respect,” tweeted one 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 a third.
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Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year. I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years. Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work. I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles, and there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapeware color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this. The third pic is the solution short. I developed this style for all of those times I wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit and still needed the support. Introducing Kimono Solutionwear™ for every body. Coming Soon in sizes XXS – 4XL in 9 shades. I can’t wait for you to feel this fabric!#KimonoBody @kimono Photos by Vanessa Beecroft
Kimono literally means “something to wear”, while Kardashian’s use of it appeared to be a play on her first name. The new line’s website offered no explanation, and Kardashian has yet to respond to her online detractors.
And not everyone was opposed to the name, with some users arguing it could offer a chance to promote a traditional outfit that is declining in popularity even in Japan.
Once a standard of the Japanese wardrobe, the kimono is now often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, and is mostly worn by women.
And while the elaborate outfits might appear to have little in common with the snug garb being offered by Kardashian, kimonos are not only often hugely expensive but also known for being hard to wear.
Women frequently hire experts to dress them in a kimono because the outfit requires seemingly endless nipping, tucking and strapping.