The root of Randoseru go back over 150 years. When the military system was introduced to Japan from the Netherlands, backpack-type bags to carry the belongings of soldiers called “ransel” were brought in, which was the origin of Randoseru. It was useful to carry heavy items, kept both hands free and was safe and durable. For these reasons, it later became popular as a school bag for elementary school students after 1950s, changing its name to “Randoseru”.
The price ranges between 30,000 – 120,000 yen, which is expensive for a children’s bag, but it is so durable that it lasts for the entire 6 years of Japanese elementary school system. It’s mainly made from artificial leather, but there are expensive ones that use cowhide and horsehide. Popular colors used to be black for boys and red for girls, but recently a variety of colors including pastel colors have started to appear.
Randoseru are starting to draw attention worldwide as a fashionable bag for adults, inspired by a famous American actress who used it as a fashion accessory and its use in Japanese anime. Adult versions with different designs are now being made, but the classic black and red ones seem to be popular among visitors from overseas.
Randoseru are available for purchase at specialized stores and department stores. Some stores sell it throughout the year, but most stores start selling from around July for the start of elementary school in April in the following year. Why not use this durable and functional Randoseru, which evolved in Japan, as a fashion accessory for a variety of situations?
Top image: Tsuchiya Bag