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Goin’ Japanesque!

“Randoseru” the Japanese Backpack That’s Also Popular Overseas

When entering a Japanese elementary school, one of the first supplies purchased is the backpack called “randoseru”, which is used by Japanese elementary school students. It started getting attention overseas a few years ago due to celebrities using it. The popularity has not declined and it seems that there are many overseas tourists who purchase the randoseru as a souvenir when they visit Japan. Photo: https://www.flickr.com

 

The History of the Randoseru

randoseru1
https://www.flickr.com

It is said that the term “randoseru” originated by borrowing from the Dutch word “ransel”, meaning “backpack”. In the late Edo Period (1603-1867), when the western style military system was incorporated, a rucksack type of cloth bag called “hainou” was imported. This rucksack that was used by the military is said to be the origins of the randoseru. In 1885, the Gakushuin School had the students carry their school supplies in the hainou. From there, it spread as a school bag to the children of the wealthy families living in the Yamanote area of Tokyo. After World War II, the use of randoseru as a backpack to carry to elementary schools became common throughout Japan.

 

The Brilliance of the Randoseru! 3 Features

Each randoseru manufacturer has its different appeals, but here we introduce some features of randoseru in general.

1. Strength/ Durability

randoseru2
https://www.flickr.com

It has a function to revert back to its original shape even when there is strong pressure applied to it. It rarely gets disfigured. Also, it uses materials that have a water repellent quality so it can be carried in the rain as well. The randoseru is a necessary supply that is used almost every day of the 6 years of elementary school. The randoseru is made with this in mind so the durability of this bag is trustworthy.

2. Excellent Storage Capacity and Usability

randoseru3
https://www.flickr.com

It is designed tall and wide enough to store all the school supplies and textbooks that the elementary school students use. It is extremely easy to store. There is enough depth and a lot of pockets allowing plenty of room for all the school supplies. There is also an auto-lock function to the clasp so there are no worries of the contents spilling out.

3. Product Designed to Fit Children’s Bodies

randoseru4
https://www.flickr.com

Considering that the children will use the randoseru every day, there are various features incorporated to keep it lightweight and make it easy to carry. For example, there is padding in the shoulder straps to reduce friction when carried on the back, and to fit the body more securely. There is a twist to the metal fixings to reduce contact of the metal against the user’s ribs.

These design elements are incorporated to reduce burden on the body. The manufacturers strive daily and passionately to develop good products so we can look forward to further advance and improvements on these points.  

 

Excellent Reliability and Recognition: 2 Famous Japanese Randoseru Manufacturers

Here we introduce some randoseru manufacturers that are famous in Japan. The ones we introduce here focus their main operation on the manufacture of randoseru so they are well known manufacturers in Japan as well.

1. Seiban

randoseru5
提供: 株式会社セイバン

Seiban Company Ltd, built their randoseru factory in Tatsuno of Hyogo Prefecture in 1946 and started producing randoseru. They have been working on further development of the randoseru since.

A representative product of theirs is the “Tenshi no Hane (Angel Wings)”. The shoulder straps of the product stand up so that the weight of the randoseru sits higher. It reduces burden on the shoulders, and prevents children from falling backwards due to the weight of the randoseru. This has been a popular product from the day it launched and even today.

2. Kyowa

randoseru9
提供:株式会社協和

Kyowa Japan Holdings started the manufacture of bags in Torigoe of Asakusa Tokyo in 1948. They have been the top producer of randoseru in the industry at one time. They are an overall bag producer that sells suitcases, business bags as well as randoseru.

Their hit randoseru is the “Fuwarii Randoseru”. One of the reasons for its popularity is the excellent product design that fits gently on the body and thus can be carried comfortably.

 

Randoseru in the Current Domestic Market

randoseru6
In the past, randoseru were only seen in colors of black and red. Nowadays, manufacturers offer a variety of styles that are fashionable and unique. It seems that the variety in assortment is continuing to expand.

Randoseru that can be used by adults are also popular and are sold from several manufacturers. Nowadays, the randoseru is a product in high demand not only for kids but for various age groups.

 

Randoseru for Kids to Adults

1. Tsuchiya Kaban Seizojo

randoseru7
提供:土屋鞄製造所

The Tsuchiya Bag Company, Ltd was founded in 1965 by 2 randoseru craftsmen who started a small randoseru workshop. They are currently a popular manufacturer that has stores in several major cities in Japan. The refined and beautiful leather products created by the skills of Japanese craftsmen have a lot of fans. Their feature product randoseru is not only made for kids, but they also produce stylish randoseru for adults.

2. HERZ

randoseru8
提供:株式会社ヘルツ

HERZ is a leather bag workshop that was started in 1973 by its founder who loved making bags. After receiving an order from the customer, a single craftsman is responsible for the production of the product from start to finish. The selling point of the product developed in this production method is its lasting strength. The randoseru made from original leather is attractive for its design which is well received by children and adults and for its durability.

 

The randoseru has a long history and still continues to develop each year. With long term use in mind, it is made with attention to details of material and design. It can be a bit pricey as a souvenir, but the bag is representative of Japanese technological and innovational skills. How about getting one as a memento if you have the chance to come to Japan?

Related:
Kyushoku: The Familiar School Lunch for Japanese Kids
Japanese Customs for Indoors: Shoes are Off, Uwabaki Slippers are On

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KAWATA

About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

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