open the kimono (1974)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Nov 19 13:28:40 UTC 2008

The business expression "open the kimono" was previously dated to 1979, by
Bill Mullins and Grant Barrett:

Antedatings from Google Book Search:

1974 Robert Kirk Mueller _Buzzwords: A Guide to the Language of Leadership_
117 _Open the Kimono, to_.  To reveal to the prospective customer (or other
person to be impressed) secrets about new products planned or other goodies
of interest.
1974  Nancy Foy _The IBM World_ 185 As one executive put it: 'We have to
decide how far we are going to open the kimono.' The all-encompassing kimono
is closed tight over some perfectly respectable porions of the IBM anatomy.
1976 _From strategic planning to strategic management_ 133 Greater
stakeholder understanding, though, means 'opening the kimono" more: more
willingness to have what the enterprise is doing and what it is planning to
do reviewed and reported by journalists.

(The last cite might actually be dated 1973: the book "chiefly presents the
proceedings of the first International Conference on Strategic Management,

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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