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Japan

Chinese company trademarks ‘Princess Kako’ nappies. Japanese netizens are royally miffed

Chinese firms have a history of ‘borrowing’ Japanese names and images for their products in an effort to boost their popularity

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 8:19pm

Japan’s royal family may be keeping a stoical silence after it was learned that a Chinese company that makes nappies was slapping the trademarked “Princess Kako” label on its products.

But Japan’s netizens are not holding back after it was reported that a company in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, was cashing in on interest in the Japanese royal family by using the name of 23-year-old Princess Kako, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito.

The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment when contacted by South China Morning Post.

However one poster on the News Seven website said: “This is terrible,” while another added the more aggrieved “This is war!”

Yet another commentator added: “This is about as insulting as it can get”.

Others have suggested that the Japanese government should sue the company for royalties, while there were several suggestions on the Japan Today website that Japanese firms retaliate by producing toilet paper named after China’s leaders.

According to News Seven, the trademark was registered with the Chinese office for Industry and Commerce in June 2015, a time when the princess’ profile began to rise as she entered Tokyo’s International Christian University.

Last year, she entered the University of Leeds, in England, to study performing arts and psychology.

The Chinese company was trying to “piggyback” on her popularity, the report claimed.

In a written response to News Seven, the Chinese company – which has not been named in Japanese media reports – confirmed that it had legally registered the trademark.

“We are planning to sell disposable diapers for children with this trademark soon,” a spokesman for the company was quoted as saying.

“Children are princes and princesses to their parents, so we first registered the name ‘Princess’ and then ‘Princess Kako’.

“Japan has a positive image because of its high levels of safety and quality,” the official said. “We believe the name of Princess Kako is perfect for our product. There is no intention to insult the Japanese Imperial Family.”

Chinese firms have a history of “borrowing” Japanese names and images for their products in an effort to boost their popularity.

Chinese companies have given rice and noodles Japanese names and packaging that appears to be Japanese in an effort to make them appear to be high-quality imports.

A row over intellectual property rights broke out in 2010 after a theme park in Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan Province erected a huge statue of a robot that bore a striking resemblance to the Gundam robot in the Odaiba waterfront district of Tokyo.

Fake electronics products bearing the names of Toshiba, Sony, Casio and Panasonic cost the Japanese companies millions in lost revenue every year.

In 2016, the operator of the hugely popular Oedo-Onsen Monogatari protested after a nearly identical-themed amusement park opened in Shanghai.