What is “Randoseru”?
Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
Randoseru (ランドセル) is a backpack look-like satchels which is carried on both shoulders and necessary item for almost all elementary school children in Japan. Elementary school children put textbooks, notebooks, pencil case and other things used for classes in their schools. It is made of genuine leather, artificial leather, or sometimes horsehide. 70% of Randoseru is made of artificial leather because it is strong, light, waterproof and simply maintained.
The colors of Randoseru used to be limited to black or red. Black Randoseru is mainly used by boys and red one is by girls, even though, various colors including pink, brown, navy, green and blue has been sold these days.
It has a lot of pockets and a hook inside and outside. It has a cushion in the part on back so it won’t hurt the back of children. The belt is adjustable as children grow because it is Randoseru is assumed to be used for 6 years of elementary school period.
Surprisingly, each Randoseru is manually made. Over 100 parts are used and over 10 processes are required for making one Randoseru. That is the reason why the price of Randoseru is expensive. It is common that grandparents prepare Randoseru for their grandchild in celebration of the admission to an elementary school.
The History of Randoseru
Photo Credit: ajari@flickr
Originally, Randoseru used to be a backpack for soldiers when shogunate government introduced western-style military system from Netherland. It is considered the name of Randoseru was derived from “ransel” in Dutch. A model national elementary school started introducing the backpack in 1885 and it became well-known after the Prince of Japan of those days were gifted and started using the current-style Randoseru. However, Randoseru was too expensive for ordinary people, so they used Japanese wrapping clothes or fabric shoulder bags. It was spread to public when Japan was in high economic growth in 1960s.
Photo Credit: breezy421@flickr
As mentioned above, Randoseru was only for elementary school children. However, the efficiency of Randoseru was reviewed and became popular. When you carry a bag on your shoulders, you can use both hands and easy to walk. The square shape looks formal than round shape.
Randoseru became internationally famous and popular after the picture of Zooey Deschanel, an American actress/singer with carrying on red Randoseru in March 2014 appeared. Another factor of Randoseru boom is Japanese animation and comics. Fans of those subculture learn about Randoseru and became interested in.
Where You Can Get Randoseru
#1. Tsuchiya Bag
Photo Credit: tsuchiya-kaban.jp
Randoseru maker, Tsuchiya Bag Co., Ltd. in Tokyo that makes Randoseru over 50 years started selling Randoseru for Adults with adding some change for adults. For example, they make the shape simpler then the Randoseru for elementary school children and adjust the belt and other parts comfortable for adults. There are 2 colors including black and brown. It costs about 100,000 yen including tax. You need to remind that they sells Randoseru for adults by order production and the period they accept your order is limited.
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Tsuchiya Bag Co., Ltd.
Address: 7-15-5 Nishiarai, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1 minute walk from “Nishiarai Taishi Nishi” station of Nippori Toneri Liner
Open Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Website: Tsuchiya Bag (Japanese)
Photo Credit: herz-bag.jp
A leather product company, HERZ Co., Ltd. makes Randoseru used by both school children and adults. They use high-quality leather and restful colors such as camel and dark green. It costs about 59,400 yen including tax. HERZ also produces the Randoseru only by order and you can get one 2 months after your order.
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HERZ Co., Ltd.
Address: 5-46-16 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 minutes walk from the exit B2 of “Omote-sando” station of Ginza/Hanzomon/Chiyoda Lines
Open Hours: 11:00 AM -7:00 PM
Website: HERZ (Japanese)
#3. Bag Murata
Photo Credit: bag-murata.co.jp
In contrast to above 2 companies that sells high-grade, Bag Murata offers lighter and inexpensive Randoseru named “Knap-rand” (which seems to be from knapsack and Randoseru). It costs 6,500 yen excluding tax. The features of Knap-rand are its light weight that weighs about 700 gram, various colors, waterproof and reflector for ensuring traffic security, so Knap-rand is popular among old people, too.
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Address: 2-12-1 Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido
Open Hours: 10:00 AM -6:30 PM
Website: Bag Murata (Japanese)
Now you understand how efficient and useful Randoseru is. It is recommend you to get one when you come to Japan or buy one on the Internet. Then, you cannot go out without Randoseru.