A trend a century and a half in the making.
April is the beginning of the school year in Japan, and it’s a time when many young students strap on their boxy leather (or often simulated leather) randoseru backpacks for the first time. Even without living in Japan, you may have seen these sturdy but expensive carriers in anime, film, or one of our many articles about them.
But why does Japan of all countries use these distinctly old-fashioned western designs?
It all started around the end of the Edo era in the middle of the 19th century.