I feel anxious. The fear of someone overwriting the word we sincerely value is beyond the words. Kim Kardashian, a famous celebrity, launched the shapewear (solution wear/underwear) brand naming Kimono. The trademark of “Kimono” for the underwear is now under examination in USPTO. We are reacting this ridicules issue with mentioning #KimOhNo. I want you to realize what is going on with this, KimOhNo.
I had several opportunities to learn about Cultural Appropriation. I shared my conclusion to the (painful) discussion, “Why Do You Call it Sashiko?”. I encourage you to call your stitching Sashiko when you “try” to respect the Japanese culture behind Sashiko Stitching you do. Cultural Appropriation is a very sensitive matter. I do not want to discourage the enjoyment people are celebrating. However, using the public domain of the Japanese word “Kimono” is the Cultural Appropriation I fear the most. In fact, I got angry with some of the people who left the previous discussion above (Why Do You Call it Sashiko?) because of similar reasons. It is “Intentional Ignorance.” Not knowing is not the issue. They can learn it and change their mind. Ignoring the petition (and request) to respect the culture, yet not taking the action or saying “over-reacting” is the fear I feel the most.
When it happens in a small group like here, then I can just un-welcome them. However, it is very fearful to see the famous celebrity with more than 100 million followers may change the image of Kimono to the underwear. Individualism is great. Freedom of expression (art) is respected. However, it is not okay to just observe how one can change the more than a thousand of history for her own publicity. Not cool at all.
So, I asked my family to give me a time on the holiday weekend to film the video. It took so many hours to make one small video clip. So it is just a small bite of my whole message. I will continue making the video and sharing it to the world. I still have hope for the world. We can change it by taking action. Thank you for your time to watch the video, and possibly, please sign the petition someone started on the Change.org.
KimOhNo – As a Sashiko Artisan
The Video Script of KimOhNo (1)
It is my hope to deliver the messages to as large population as possible. For some of the English speakers, my English may be difficult to understand. Also, I would like to share my thoughts with the people with hearing disability. Please find the script here for the Video (1) – # KimOhNO – Your care would protect the Japanese Kimono
Thank you for watching this video. My name is Atsushi. This may be the first time for you to find this channel. I am a Sashiko artisan – Sashiko is a form of hand stitching developed in Japan a long time ago. This is a video expressing my disappointment and even anger, to the Cultural Appropriation and Inappropriate naming for the shaping underwear brand – Kimono – by famous celebrity Kim Kardashian.
Many people express their anger for trademarking the underwear brand with the word Kimono. There is a petition in Change.Org and I hope you would spare some of your time to be part of this petition. On top of that, as the one who practices Sashiko, I would like to share why it is not cool to name one underwear brand “Kimono”. The goal of this video and videos I plan to upload regarding this issue in future is to motivate Kim to change the name of her brand by us sharing a part of the rich history of Kimono and Japanese culture. I hope, Kim and some of those who are excited about Kimono Underwear brand, would feel embarrassed by learning how Kimono is deeply rooted in who the Japanese are.
This is the edited version of my speech in the Sashiko Live Streaming on 6/28. Instead of chattering randomly, I will simplify my message to communicate better. This is my first time to express my own personal feeling in public. It is already out of my comfort zone, but I couldn’t be silent for this issue. Please do not misunderstand my phrasing. I will not be offended by you enjoying Kimono as Kimono. Calling the underwear brand Kimono for the publicity is the issue I am upset with.
First of all. It seems trademarking Kimono is her business strategy, the intentional attempt instead of innocent ignorance. When I first learned this issue, I thought it was because of innocent wording misusage. Kimono has, “Kim” in it. So it is somewhat understandable that she used the word Kimono. However, I changed my mind when I found out they intentionally delete all of the Instagram comments requesting to change the name with explaining this is very inappropriate.
If this is the intentional ignorance, it is an issue of overwriting the cultural word for one’s benefit. Kim intentionally ignores our concern and disrespect the Kimono culture. She says she respects the Kimono and Japanese culture. However, without action, it means nothing.
The word of Kimono (It means things to wear) established its meaning as “Japanese clothing” when the western clothing was introduced to Japan. To distinguish them, western clothing was called Yofuku, and the Japanese Clothing called Wafuku – and Kimono.
Not many Japanese wear Kimono in ordinary days anymore. However, we enjoy Kimono on a special occasion such as a wedding, celebration for the children’s growth, and Coming of age ceremony. We associate our precious memories to the clothing – Kimono. Japanese naturally accept the concept of Animism – the thing has its the spirit in it. So, Kimono is not just the name for the clothing. It is more than disposable, purpose-oriented, wear. It carries memory and spirit, therefore it could be our identity.
Although we do not wear Kimono every day, we try to pass down this culture to the next generation by wearing Kimono on those special occasions. Kimono often get pass down from a mother to a daughter and grand-daughter. For Japanese, Kimono is not a brand name. It is no-one’s property. It is our identity to respect who we are.
Therefore, the intentional ignorance to overwrite the wording Kimono for one’s business is not cool. I hope I can communicate her “horrible taste” in naming and motivate them to feel embarrassed for supporting her brand.
By the way, I understand that Kim and her surrounding do not represent western people. I sincerely appreciate those who support and encouraged me over youtube and Instagram.
The more people get interested in Japanese culture, the more non-Japanese dress up with Kimono. I believe it is a very beautiful thing. They respect the Japanese culture and Kimono, and they enjoy wearing it. I never thought that the non-Japanese enjoying Kimono is an issue of Cultural Appropriation. In fact, I appreciated it. However, naming the underwear brand Kimono, in which there is absolutely no connection or respect to Kimono culture, is not acceptable.
I will continue expressing my feeling on Youtube, with more stories and reasons that I had shared on the Live Streaming. Please leave the comment if there is anything I can cover explaining the KimOhNo Issue. I am just a father with a regular responsibility to support the family, so I may not be able to reply to your comments in a good timely manner – but I will do my best to follow-up and answer the questions.
Lastly, from a legal point, I would like to share why it is important for us to speak up now. I went to the USPTO database and confirmed the application filed by the company Kimono Intimates. USPTO has not assigned the trademark to the exclaimer, but there is a possibility. Therefore, before it gets too late, the voice from “ordinary yet important people like us” is important to change “rich celebrity” who thinks she can own everything. I trust and respect the United States. I live in the US to contribute to this country. I hope we can laugh about her ignorance later on, but it already happens, your voice means a lot to the Japanese today.
Well. This is a more personal note. I may be picking a fight now to Kim’s followers. I am not happy with Kim. But more honestly, I am so surprised and disgusted by those who keep supporting Kim by leaving the comment with excitement how the solution wear is good for them. It may be. I don’t know the quality of the product itself. However, after so many comments with asking to change the name and some articles in a major publication like NY times, some people are still happy with that? I know many people encouraged Japanese for this petition, but 100 million followers are all happy about this?
- When did the world become so ignorant?
Now when we google the word Kimono, we can see “Kimono like” fashion. It is not preferable to see someone making money selling their item calling Kimono (or looking like Kimono) instead of traditional Kimono. However, Kim’s case is worse because her solution underwear will be the first image when we google the word Kimono when this trademark is accepted. Underwear instead of Kimono. Come on.
- I would like to “Wow” the world with sharing more authentic photos.
It is our responsibility to share what Kimono really is.
The Japanese are not good at that, I am not good at that neither – especially those traditional fields are mainly operated by elderly people. They do not speak English. They follow the Japanese mindset that avoiding conflict. So do I. I am scared and embarrassed talking about my own feeling so much in public. However, I couldn’t be quiet, especially because I value what I do – Sashiko. I am not a Kimono professional. I do not make a living with Kimono. However, I do respect kimono throughout Sashiko culture. Please. Please respect the Japanese culture to protect its original form.
Trademark – 商標について。
6月30日現時点で、USPTO – 米国の特許庁のデータベースを確認しました。キムさんの会社と思われるKimono Intimates が10点以上の商標を申請をしていて、特許庁はその書類を受け取っています。ただ、まだ確定されたわけではなく「3ヶ月ほどの審査」とペンディング状態になっています。だからこそ、今、声を上げれば、まだ世論に訴えられるかもしれません。
10点以上の商標申請の上、内容も細かいので、専門家ではない僕には理解が難しいところではあるのですが、申請の許可が下りればKimonoという言葉は、彼女の会社の所有物になります。簡単に見た所、今の着物そのものに商標規制が入るかどうかはわかりませんが、「Baby Dall Pajamas」と申請の一つにあるので、もしかしたら人形に着物を着せるという女の子の遊びができなくなってしまうかもしれません。