Our love of backpacks is no secret — we can’t get enough of the things. They’re completely utilitarian, they’ve been made in ultra-stylish shapes and colorways over the past few seasons, and they’re a lot less painful and cumbersome than the shoulder bags we normally end up schlepping around town.
And we were super excited when, in the course of our should-we-invest-in-a-new-backpack research, we found what’s called a randoseru, a traditional Japanese children’s backpack.
The word comes from the Japanese mispronunciation of the Dutch word ransel, which means backpack. The bags are hard-sided and generally made of leather, and because of their construction they can weigh about two pounds when they’re empty. As a part of traditional school uniforms, some schools restricted male students to carrying black randoseru and girls to red, but today they’re made in a variety of colors. We totally want one in cerulean.
The problem is they’re prohibitively expensive, and their high quality is reflected in their cost. Unlike the paper-thin canvas JanSport backpacks we used as kids, a randoseru is the kind of bag you buy once and never have to replace. Ever.
But, we’ve been tempted to spend more than that on bags before (the Hermes Birkin, anyone?). Two hundred dollars is a small price to pay for a great bag, and a very small price to pay for a piece of storied Japanese fashion history.