Kyoto mayor steps into #KimOhNo row over Kardashian line

Japanese women wearing kimonos. (File/Reuters)
Updated 01 July 2019

Kyoto mayor steps into #KimOhNo row over Kardashian line

  • The American pop culture icon sparked a social media storm last week when she unveiled the new line
  • Kimono literally means “something to wear,” while Kardashian West’s use of it is a play on her first name

TOKYO: The mayor of Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto has entered into an unlikely correspondence with the queen of selfies Kim Kardashian West, asking her to reconsider naming her shapewear line “Kimono.”
The American pop culture icon sparked a social media storm last week when she unveiled the new line, with some in Japan and abroad accusing her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.
And now the mayor has waded into the debate — being had on Twitter under the hashtag #KimOhNo — penning a letter to the star to ask her to reconsider, Kyoto officials told AFP.
“We’re concerned that a wrong understanding of kimono will spread since Ms. Kardashian is such a powerful influencer,” said Mai Sakai, a Kyoto city official in charge of traditional crafts.
“(I) ask you to reconsider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark,” Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa wrote in an English-language letter sent to Kardashian West.
“Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history,” he wrote, asking her to visit the city to experience kimono culture.
Kimono literally means “something to wear,” while Kardashian West’s use of it is a play on her first name.
The reality television star told the New York Times that she had no plans to produce clothes that “would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment.”
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 West, kimonos are not only often hugely expensive but known for being hard to wear.
Women frequently hire experts to dress them in kimono because the outfit requires seemingly endless nipping, tucking and strapping.


Indonesia taps into Muslim tourist market with Shariah hotels

Updated 56 min 51 sec ago

Indonesia taps into Muslim tourist market with Shariah hotels

  • Indonesia made top destination for halal tourism in the world in latest report

JAKARTA: With a rising awareness to promote Muslim-friendly travel, the widespread adoption of Shariah-based accommodation is not always successfully put into practice, as Octine Riyantini realized during one of her stays at a hotel that claimed to be Shariah-compliant.

Riyantini has stayed in two Shariah-based hotels in Indonesia and had a good experience with the first one, where she found that hotel staff always greeted guests with the Islamic greeting, had call of prayers blasted from a speaker and provided prayer amenities as well as a Qibla sign in each room. 

“The ambiance was very much Islamic and the hotel itself was clean and well-maintained,” she told Arab News.

She had a different experience with the second one, despite the Shariah label that goes with the hotel’s name in an online hotel reservation website. 

Although they provided a prayer room on each floor, Riyantini said it seemed like it was hastily prepared and a bit spooky, so she and her family chose to pray in their room. Moreover, the hotel was not properly maintained. 

“Maybe they consider their hotel to be Shariah-compliant just because they provide a prayer room on each floor and a Qibla sign in the room, yet the overall ambiance hardly felt like it was Muslim-friendly,” she said. 

“I learned that not all hotels that claimed to be Shariah-based are really compliant to the value. If we have to stay in such a hotel another time, we will have to consider which hotel chain it is associated with,” she said. 

Muslim-friendly travel and tourism in Indonesia continues to rise, with Indonesia named as the number one destination, out of 130 countries, for halal tourism in the world by the Global Muslim Travel Index 2019. 

Service providers have been quick to tap into the growing market, despite the controversy and misconceptions about halal tourism in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. 

According to a survey conducted by accommodation network operator Airy, 60 percent of Indonesian travelers think that it is important to have Shariah-based accommodation. The figure was consistent with data from the Alvara Research Center, which showed that 64 percent of Indonesian millennials travel and go on holiday at least once a year, providing a market of about 26 million holiday-hunting Muslim millennials. 

Responding to the market demand, Airy in 2016 began offering a segment called Airy Syariah or a Shariah-based accommodation network. 

“Our Airy Syariah properties offer Muslim-friendly accommodation so that guests can stay comfortably and worry-free. The market response has been good and demand for Shariah-based accommodation continues to rise every year. Our occupancy rate so far stands at 40 percent to 70 percent,” Airy vice president for marketing, Ika Paramita, told Arab News. 

Paramita said Airy cooperates with more than 400 Muslim-friendly properties in some 50 cities across Indonesia and it has been growing at a triple-digit rate year-on-year.

“The food and drinks in our properties are halal-certified, and we provide Muslim-friendly amenities. Guests can immediately experience their stay in our Shariah-based properties, where hotel staff uniforms and attitudes conform to Islamic values. Moreover, we validate the marriage status when a couple is checking in,” Paramita said. 

Shariah-compliant accommodation is not new in Indonesia. The Sofyan Hotel chain in Jakarta has implemented the concept in its two properties since 1992 by removing nightclubs, bars and alcoholic drinks from its facilities. 

But the concept does not always appeal to all Muslims in Indonesia. University lecturer Ratna Djumala said she prefers to stay in a conventional hotel to show her children about meeting people of various backgrounds. 

“I want to show my children about diversity and tolerance, especially this coming December when hotels are adorned with Christmas decorations. I want my kids to experience the ambiance, too. A family-friendly hotel doesn’t always have to be a Shariah-based one. What’s important for me is the food has to be halal,” she told Arab News. 

Muslim-friendly travel was valued at $189 billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach $274 billion by 2024, according to the State of Global Islamic Economy Report 2019.