Randoseru: The Hyped Japanese Style Backpack

Some of Japanese customary traditions and culture including their food, clothing and others have been gradually becoming integrated to other daily living including the Philippines. Would you not want to sip some hot ramen and taste the flavorful other Japanese cuisine like sushi,udon, and sashimi, among others? However, aside from their well-loved food, the Japanese backpacks called as Randosoru have been gaining some attention nowadays. Bria Homes will walk you through the rich and vibrant history of this Japanese backpack that was once regarded just for elementary students but now seen as a trend in the fashion industry.

The randoseru, as earlier mentioned, was previously attributed as a Japanese elementary school bag. Thus, it was common in Japan to see youngsters in the early morning or late afternoon, as the classes start and end, traveling in groups and having this bag. This small, nearly identical due to its minimalist design, and box-shaped japanese bags are strapped tightly upon the backs of only slightly larger Japanese elementary school children. These carefully crafted, truly durable, and often rather expensive randesorus have surely been a staple of everyday Japanese elementary students for centuries.

Nonetheless, with its rich history and origin, it is quite not appropriate to just consider the randoseru as a mere school backpacks for Japanese elementary students. As we start to dig deeper, there is so much more than meets the eye. Let us dive into the incredible Japanese craftsmanship, elegant and timeless design, and truly royal history of the famous Japanese bag, the randoseru.

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What is a Randesoru?

The first randoseru bags were first used by Swedish and Dutch soldiers rather than by Japanese elementary students. As such, the etymology of randoseru came from an old Dutch term for backpacks – ransel or rantsel. During the Edo period in Japan (1603 to 1868), the Shogunate government – a hereditary and feudal system of government – was heavily influenced by the Western-style military system of the Netherlands and became the inspiration for the Randoseru bags.

Before the onset of the randoseru bags, what was commonly used in Japan as an elementary schooler backpack was the sturdy cloth or fabric backpacks called furoshiki to carry their books as they travel to and from the school. The famous Japanese bag became the talk of the town and gained widespread recognition when in around 1885, the future Emperor Taisho was given a randoseru upon his entry to elementary school.  However, randoseru was first popular in major cities and metropolitan areas in Japan. In other areas, especially the rural regions, the furoshiki remained the staple backpacks for elementary students.

Another important milestone for the well-loved Japanese bag came in the 1960’s. This was a period of rapid and robust economic development all throughout Japan and the randoseru backpacks gained its momentum and had spread throughout the country as backpacks for Japanese elementary students. Sometime during the post-1960s period, two distinct colors became apparent: black for boys and red for girls.

By 1955, the use of the backpack had spread to elementary schools across Japan. The Randoseru has been constantly improved by craftsmen over the years while also retaining its minimalist styling, turning it into a bag that the people of Japan feel a great affinity for.

Now, the famous Japanese bag has a unique place in their culture. In fact, randoseru is given to the child at different stages of their life and signifies the family’s wishes for the child to grow up in good health; they will create lasting memories of the family for generations to come. Further to the foregoing, parents and grandparents begin to choose the appropriate randoseru as early as one year before they start their elementary school.

How are Randoseru Made?

As mentioned above, the primary material used in making randoseru is authentic leather and pig hide. With these materials, the durability and portability of these bags are ensured. However, the majority or 70% of randoseru bags in the market nowadays are made from synthetic leather known as Clarino. The clarino-made randoseru was first popularized by a Japanese manufacturer, Kuraray Co. Ltd., in 1965 and looks and feels quite as tough, waterproof, and more resistant to everyday wear and tear as the original material, though a bit lighter.

Aside from the Kuraray Company, Tsuchiya is another bag label that manufactures randoseru in Japan. They create their versions of the backpack from 150 separate pieces. Like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle, there are around 300 steps to putting the entire bag together. The rigorous process they employ shows how meticulous they are in maintaining the quality and integrity of this well loved Japanese bag.

Randoseru for Adults

Nowadays, as initially stated, randoseru became not just a staple for Japanese elementary students but also as a fashion statement by adults all over the world. Hako, one of the manufacturers of randoseru, has reinvented this timeless and handmade bag. They further make the randoseru more elegant by reimagining its minimalist and ergonomic design and making it exceptionally light.

The randoseru has reached another height as it also became a trend to other countries. As an example, the singer/actress Zooey Deschanel was seen carrying her randoseru bag on the streets of New York City in 2015. This gave a new life and light or a modern renaissance for the go-to Japanese school backpack. Japanese randoseru backpacks make a beautiful souvenir for the adult who deserves a little extra elegance in their life, while never forgetting their own childlike spirit. We know just a bag can’t make going to work fun⁠—but hopefully, it can make the journey there just a little more exciting.

In the Philippines, it is not anymore just for the fashion icons or artists. Just this March 2022. The local government of Makati City distributed the randoseru as school bags for high school students on 21 March. The first recipients were students from the F. Benitez Elementary School, Gen. Pio del Pilar High School and Makati High School in the city.

Where to Buy Randoseru?

It is possible to find a randoseru bag for around $80.00 or about Php 4,494.40. For those living in Japan, it is common to find randoseru for sale in the city’s main department stores like Takashimaya, Kintetsu, Mitsukoshi, Sogo, Seibu, and other similar outlets. However, if you are looking for adults and a little high-end, consider paying a visit to Tsuchiya Kaban, as mentioned above. You may also visit their international store in Taipei, Taiwan.

But if you are in the Philippines and want to have your own randoseru, worry no more as you can have one through various online stores available. First, you may check Amazon and Alibaba’s’ offering of randoseru that comes in different colors. Also, you can also find these well-loved Japanese bags in other known online platforms in the Philippines like Shopee and Lazada. Aside from these popular online selling platforms, there are other local stores that offer randoseru bags. To name some there are the Shopper’s Alley, Bratpack, and Hideo Wakamatsu PH, among others.

What are you waiting for? Grab your own Randoseru bags and enjoy its well-known comfort and minimalist yet elegant designs!

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