Too heavy for old school backpacks
Randoseru, a sturdy leather bag that can hold 4-10kg of weight when full, leaves students in pain and wanting to find something lighter. It's a common sight every weekday morning in Japan: children as young at six creaking under the pressure of a...
Randoseru, a Japanese translation of ransel (an obsolete Dutch word for backpack) is an integral part of primary school education. It's a place where a child can store everything they need to get through a school day.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that 93% of pupils believed their bags were too heavy in a survey of 1,200 parents. This was a consensus of 90% of parents.
According to Yomiuri, a randoseru stuffed with books and paraphernalia weighs 4.28kg. This is up from 3.97kg in 2022.
The newspaper said that backpacks that weigh more than 10 kg can be a problem for some children.
The high price of the items has been a major source of parental complaints. According to a survey conducted by the Randoseru Kogyokai industry association, they cost an average of Y=564,425 yen (PS353/$US425) for 2022.
The price of these items has increased by almost Y=20,000 in the past decade.
Randoseru were originally used by Japanese foot soldiers. Schoolchildren first took up randoseru in the late 1800s. The modern versions are made from a mixture of soft and tough leather. However, red is still the most popular among girls while black is the norm for boys.
Local education authorities have addressed the issue of weight by allowing children to leave their textbooks at school overnight, especially during the summer months. However, this is not recommended as it could discourage them from doing their homework.
After the mayor expressed concern about the rising cost for conventional randoseru, Tateyama asked a maker to create a lighter backpack. According to the Asahi Shimbun, they will be given out free of charge to local children in time for the beginning of the academic year in April.