Kawaii-B All About: Randoseru

randoseru (ランドセル) is a hard Japanese backpack made from leather, or leather-like material, most commonly used by primary school children in Japan. Traditionally, a randoseru is given to a child when they start their first year at school. 

Quality randoseru on sale in a Japanese store
The word derives from the Dutch "ransel" meaning "backpack".The use of the "randoseru" began in the Edo era, along with a wave of western reforms in the Japanese military, the Netherlands-style rucksack called "ransel" was introduced as a new way for the foot soldiers to carry their baggage. The shape much resembled the "randoseru" bags used today. In 1885, the Japanese government, proposed the use of a backpack as the new ideal for Japanese elementary school students. Ever since, the bags have evolved into an important part of Japanese culture, and fashion wear.

Japanese first year school children are blessed, along with their bags, at a Shinto shrine

Traditionally, randoseru are red in colour, but many styles and colours are now available both in Japan, and online all across the world. Although it is rare to see adults using them in Japan (because they are so strongly associated with childhood) , fashion bloggers and lolita models have been photographed wearing them, combining the sleek, colourful look as a part of their outfit.

Image from Elizabunni, wearing a pink randoseru
Because of their attractive, sturdy yet super practical design, even celebrities have been spotted wearing them. Below, an image of the actress Zooey Dashenal with a classic red randoseru. This photo even made it into the Japanese media, because it was so odd to the Japanese, that these bags would be worn as a fashion item when usually they are a once bought, expensive (usually between £150 and £500) schooling necessity, almost like a briefcase.

The range of these bags now available is as varied as they are pricey, however in the UK you can get your hands on one today on Ebay or Amazon from around £50 (remember those sneaky import feeds though). 

What do you think about these stylish school bags? Leave us a comment below.

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