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Japanese Randoseru school bags

If you have ever watched a Japanese anime which is set in Elementary school, you may have noticed the unique bags that the children carry. These bags have been a part of Japanese schoolchildren kit for centuries in Japan.

The bags are called Japanese Randoseru satchels and are very durable and light. Students often buy them in their first year and use them all through their elementary school days.

In this blog by a Japanese teacher, Emi Sakude talks about the school bags with a personal twist. Her son is a first grader in elementary school this year, Read the blog and learn new vocabulary and listen to the YouTube video to learn how to speak the Japanese fluently.










To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.








Do you know what a “Randoseru” is?

A “randoseru” is a bag that Japanese elementary students carry on their backs and put their textbooks, notebooks, and other necessary goods as they commute to school. The origins of this school satchel or “randoseru” is in the Edo period when bag packs were introduced from Holland (ransel in Dutch). They were first used by the military, and from the Meiji period they became used to commute to school.

The “randoseru” is bought in April before the entrance to Elementary schools. Many people start looking for and purchasing their “randoseru” a year before they enter school. This activity is known as “Rankatsu”. We can often catch sight of this 'school satchel buying activity' covered on the news. By autumn, the popular models are apparently sold out. The prices can vary but they generally cost from about 30,000 yen with expensive models going for more than 100,000 yen,

Recently, the “randoseru” has been attracting attention as a fashion item. There has been an increase in foreign tourists who have come to know about “randoseru” from Anime and buy them as souvenirs, so recently you can buy them at Duty-Free shops.

My child is now a first-grader. He carries the “randoseru” that he chose for himself on his back when he commutes to school. About this time last year, we reserved and bought it. In my day it was standard that boys carried black bags and girls carried red bags, but now there are so many colors and shapes of the “randoseru”, so you can one to suit your own tastes. When I watch my child carrying his bag and going to school, it makes me think again about how fast children grow up. I want to enjoy the experiences that can only be had now together with him..

ランドセル a satchel for schoolchildren to carry their textbooks, notebooks, and other school supplies, called a 'randoseru'

背負(せお)う carry something on one's back

目(め)にします to see; to witness; to observe; to catch sight of; to get a glimpse of; to encounter

注目(ちゅうもく)されています attract [draw] somebody's attention

おみやげ souvenir

定番(ていばん) standard; routine; regular; basic; staple

好(この)み (a) liking; (a) taste; a fancy

改(あらた)めて again、once more、once again、over again、afresh、anew


Hajimemashite! I am Sakude Emi. I live in Osaka, Japan's second largest city, with my daughters, son and my Brazilian husband. My hobby is cooking, especially dishes from around the world.

My husband and I often talk about how much misunderstanding there is in the world between individuals and between nations. We feel it is these misunderstandings that block smooth human relations. I would like to do what I can to unravel these knots of misunderstanding.

If there is anything you'd like to ask me, even if it's not connected to learning Japanese, please feel free. Let's do our best together. Ganbarou

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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021