What is a Randoseru?
What is a Randoseru?
If you know anything about Japan you will know that elementary school students carry around a backpack called Randoseru. Maybe you did not know that name of this special backpack but maybe you have seen pictures of children wearing a uniquely shaped backpack made out of leather or a leather-like material.
Well every Japanese elementary school student has this satchel looking backpack called a Randoseru. Students will put their textbooks, notebooks, pencil case and other things that they need for school in this bag. Most of the randoseru are made from fake leather as it is strong and resistant to rain but there are some that are made out of real leather. Before, the colour of these randoseru used to be limited to red and black. Red for girls and black for boys but now more schools are allowing randoseru of different colours. So you may also see students with pink, navy, green, brown or blue randoseru.
On the backside of the backpack there are slim cushions so that it does not hurt the students back. And it is said that the randoseru that are made today are much much lighter than they once used to be. There are also adjustable belts on the straps so that when the children grow they can adjust the straps and still use the same backpack as they will be using a randoseru for their 6 years of elementary school. And randoseru are not very cheap either. Of course there are more affordable ones but some that are expensive are extremely expensive. So you would definitely want these bags to last for as many years as they can.
Randoseru are often made handmade hence the reason why it costs so much. There are over 100 parts to it and there are 10 different processes to go through before a randoseru is completed. Randoseru are usually purchased by the grandparents as a gift for their grandchildren to celebrate the admission of their grandchild into elementary school.
Randoseru were originally backpacks used by soldiers when the shogunate government first introduced the western-style military system from the Netherlands. It is believe that the name derives from the Dutch word ransel. which means backpack in Dutch. In 1885, a national elementary school began using these randoseru backpacks but it didn’t become well known until the Prince of Japan during that time started using the randoseru. For ordinary people at that time, a randoseru was too expensive so most kids who couldn’t afford it used fabric shoulder bags. However, most elementary school students had randoseru bags by the 1960s when the economy started to rise.
The randoseru gained international attention when the famous Zooey Deschanel carried around a red randoseru backpack. People started seeing this as fashionable and even people who loved Japanese anime and comics were really into randoseru as well.
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