Kardashian’s initial name choice, while intended as a pun on her first name, was ill-received because it was viewed as cultural appropriation. People took issue with the non-Japanese business mogul naming her body-clinging shapewear after loose-fitting silk robes that have held cultural significance in Japan since the late eighth century.
“I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” she said.
Despite that effort, the hashtag #KimOhNo trended on Twitter and a Change.org petition condemning the Kimono Solutionwear name raked in more than 100,000 signatures.
“I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to re-consider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark,” Kadokawa wrote in the letter, per Japan Today. “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 in our living. Also, it is a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese.”
The mayor also invited Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, to visit Kyoto “where many Japanese cultures including Kimono have been cherished” to “experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts and our strong wish.”
Kardashian tweeted later that day that she’d be “launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name” and that she is “always listening, learning and growing.”
“I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me. When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind,” she wrote.
This controversy is not the first in which Kardashian has been accused of cultural appropriation. Previously, she’s been lambasted for wearing Fulani braids, an Indian headpiece and appearing to be in blackface.