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Myanmar: Outrage Over ‘Buddha Shoes’

Myanmar netizens are outraged over the ‘Buddha shoes’ created by a company called Icon Shoes. Nang Nyi was one of the netizens who left a complaint in the facebook page of Icon Shoes:

I wrote a complaint in the FB wall of Icon Shoes Company just now. They should not do so. I have no idea what motivated them to create those designs. Two pages of them will appear if you type “Icon Shoes” in FB search box.

Yan Yan Chan, a famous rapper, commented [my] on that post by providing a link to the feedback form of the Icon Shoes website:

You can complain here. FB page is not that useful.

A couple of famous local bloggers joined the discussion as well. They requested their readers to send complaint letters against those shoe designs. Some netizens also created protest images which featured the Icon Shoes logo together with the controversial shoes. One Ko Ko Aung reminded the company not to insult religion:

Regardless of who they are, religion should not be insulted. There are a number of religion related problems recently.

Nyein Chan expressed his frustration as well:

What if we put Jesus or Muhammad on our shoes? Shame on you.

The image asking netizens to send complaints to Icon Shoes for using Buddha images in their shoe designs. Photo - Lin Oo (Psychology)

The image asking netizens to send complaints to Icon Shoes for using Buddha images in their shoe designs. Photo – Lin Oo (Psychology)

Lin Oo (Psychology) observes [my] how Buddha images are casually used by many people in designing products:

We have been seeing that Buddha statues are used as fancy stuff in bars and recreation centres regardless of other people's religious beliefs.

Now, American based Icon Shoes produced shoes with Buddha image designs. Buddhists around the world are also complaining about this. We can also send feedback through their Facebook page.

Another community blog called Moemakha urged [my] readers to show protest by flooding the company with complaint letters:

We found out that a shoe company called Icon Shoes based in Califonia is selling shoes designed with Buddha images and floral arabesque. Three designs of such shoes are produced in USA and are being sold within the price range of $29 to $149. Their “About Us” page mentioned Icon Shoes was founded by an anonymous filmmaker from Hollywood in 1999.

We are completely against the improper use of Buddha images on shoes which insult the graciousness of Buddha. We sent a complaint mail to Icon Shoes. We request you, our readers, to send protest messages in their Facebook page.

Khin Sandar Ko also posted her opinion on Icon Shoes:

their motto says “Icon is for the art lover and the woman who loves shoes and handbags. We support artists by paying royalty for the use of their art” …

What I wrote is “Icon never respects other people's valuable things.
We support shoe designers by insulting other people's religion.”

Kyaw Myo Khaing shares his observation on the repeated insult to Buddhism in many places:

Akon did sexy dance in front of Buddha statue. There's a bar called Buddha Bar in France. We've once seen the use of Buddha images on clothing. And now, on shoes! Enough is enough, guys. It will be too shameful for our 21st century society if Buddhists are repeatedly insulted just because they do not protest or voice out enough. It's like the babies couldn't get snack because they do not cry enough. The nature of Buddhism is to promote calm and peace. Please do not bully us for the sake of fancy art.

On August 5, 2012, although many people thought that Icon Shoes seemed to have removed the controversial products from their website, it is believed that only users from Singapore where most of the people complained live are blocked to access their website .  But the complaints asking not to use Buddha images on their shoes are still being posted on their Facebook page almost every minute.

  • No one has rights to hurt
    other religion. If this shoe design catalog hurts the peaceful
    religion Buddhist, then what the hell this company is acting against
    pure peaceful sentiment of such best part of the world! Responsible persons
    need to bring for confession and punish them for their serious
    misconduct against other religion.

  • Phạm Quốc Bình

    I suggest that you come to join to sign the protest petition at: 

    We, the International Buddhist community would like to see the concerned business houses, designers and production companies immediately stop using any type of Buddhist images on any of their goods. We want the concerned companies to pull-out all existing catalogs from their retailers or online shops and stop selling such goods which is against the sentiments of all Buddhist around the world. Additionally, we do not want any companies to repeat such disrespectful action in the future. 

  • Jeckwilliam

    good. it is a beautiful i like.

    • abc


  • yen

    congratulations to stupid designers for designing Buddha shoes.

  • Tharindu_jayasekara

    dont insult other religons if these ppl came from real mom they never do like this.if they can make money they will sell there mother also….

  • This is an offense in India and we have lodged complaint with the Delhi Police bearing No. 42-B dated August 5, 2012 repeated by Sukanya Kadyan and Abhishek Kadyan on 13th with Prashant Vihar Police station, Delhi. We have managing online petitions to book eBay India for trading these objectionable footwear, 30+ banks to accept payments.

  • shame on those business people. They have no creativity but insulting thousands and thousands of people believe in Buddha. I will never buy anything from this company. Besides asking the company to stop this disrespective behavior also let’s not buy any stuff from them.

  • Could I add that it is a matter beyond cultural conventions? The triumph of modern science, boosted by the massive development of precision instruments that swayed learned men’s and laymens’s focus towards the purely empirical aspects of reality, has made more and more people, especially in the West, disdain the millenia-old legacy of the Symbolic Sciences pursued in all great civilizations. Those Sciences have estabilished the relationship between all symbols (or elements of reality taken as symbols and archetypes) and absolute consciousness, including the subconscious, purified through prayer or meditation from any arbitrary influence of tastes and instincts. The result has been to estabilish the deepest meaning of symbols with amazing convergence of conclusions in, say, Europe, Middle East, India and China.

    In this context, human feet, despite its invaluable physical role or even the power of attraction of female feet over men, have an intrinsical conscious association to lowliness and debasement as opposed to the head or the heart. To elevate the archetype of the “feet” to the Buddha’s Perfection, as it happens with the widespread symbology of the Buddha’s footsteps, is the extreme opposite of an act of lowering the symbol of Perfection, the Buddha, to the feet of ordinary people. The latter forces our consciousness into an unacceptable association, and that is what we as Buddhists should repudiate peacefully and without anger, as a compensation for the unwitting damage such a spurious association automatically inflicts in anyone who cares about the Buddha as both the reality and symbol of Absolute Liberation and Eternal Nirvana.

  • Offended

    ICON shoes are not the only ones! Go to and do a search for: Big Buddha shoes OR follow this link:

    On Amazon, you will find many shoes that have the name of the Buddha printed inside the bottom of the shoe and under the shoe! I wonder what the karma is of helping thousands of people trample on the Buddha’s name. How do you think Christians would react to a shoe called Big Jesus? Wouldn’t they be upset? And one can only imagine how Muslims would be outraged if someone printed the name of the Prophet on the sole of a shoe.

    Come on, people. Let’s make aware that this is offensive and unacceptable!

  • Lopez

    Once we have to use pic of fucking Jesus in our shoes. I hate fucking America.

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