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Are backpacks a culture unique to Japan?


In Japan, most children buy school bags when they are in elementary school.


Although backpacks are sold in a variety of colors and shapes, there is a consensus in Japan that the stereotype of equating elementary school students with backpacks.


A few years ago, it attracted attention because it was loved and used by overseas celebrities around the world.


So, what kind of schoolbags do elementary school students in other countries carry to school?


Is every country the same bag as Japan?


Background to the popularity of Japanese school bags


How did schoolbags first spread in Japan?


The prototype of schoolbags began at the end of the Edo period, when the Edo shogunate adopted a backpack called “Lancel” imported from the Netherlands as a suitcase for the army.


After that, in Meiji 18, it was used as a school bag when attending school.


It was common for children to go to school in horse-drawn carriages or rickshaws at this time, or to have servants carry their luggage to school. From the point of view of equality in the educational environment, in order to prohibit this phenomenon, the college chose rucksacks that children can easily hold.

その2年後の明治20年、Itō Hirofumi が大正天皇の小學校admission 祝に、箱形のランドセルを献上したことがきっかけで広く認知されることとなりました。

Two years later, in Meiji 20, Ito Hirofumi presented a box-type schoolbag at Emperor Taisho’s elementary school entrance ceremony, and used this as an opportunity to make the box-type schoolbag widely known.


In the 23rd year of Meiji, black leather was used as the material. In Meiji 30, the shape and size of the schoolbag were determined, and the so-called “college-style” schoolbag was completed.


However, this kind of schoolbag is a luxury, and ordinary people can only use bags and cloth to make shoulder bags.

The nationwide に普及したのは昭和30年の高度経済成長期のころでした。

In the Showa 30s, it was a period of high economic growth that it became popular nationwide.


Advantages of Japanese school bags


In any case, the benefit of backpack-style bags is undoubtedly hands-free.


The bag is mainly made of leather or synthetic leather and is waterproof, so even if it rains heavily, water will not leak into the bag.


Therefore, even younger children who are not proficient in using umbrellas can keep textbooks and notebooks in them without getting wet halfway.


Backpacks made of cloth or thin nylon cannot do this.


In addition, because it is hand-sewn, those easily damaged corners are reinforced, which is the key reason why the bag can be used for 6 years.

植入げやショルダーバッグなどを使うと体の片側にだけ負担がかかってしまい、Back bone の変形につながってしまう可能性があります。

If you use a handbag or carry a shoulder bag, it will only put pressure on one side of your body, which can cause deformation of your spine.


In this regard, the backpack exerts equal pressure on the left and right shoulders, the backrest is highly cushioned, and the straps are designed to distribute the pressure to reduce the burden on the body.


If you think of the schoolbag that your child usually carries as a handbag, you will be surprised how heavy it is, but when you carry it on your back, it is surprisingly light, so if you don’t have such a concept, you can try it.


At the same time, Japanese school bags are also able to protect the body.


The backpack is thick and durable, and acts as a cushion when you fall from behind.


Even in the event of an accident, it will protect the back of your head from damage if you carry a school bag on your back.


In the event of an earthquake on the way to and from school, or in the event of falling objects, you can also place your bag on your head to protect your head.


In addition, because most of the school bags sold now have reflective materials on them, they can also protect children from accidental injuries when school is finished at night.


In addition, the hook design on the side of the bag breaks when a certain force is applied, so even if it is caught by a car, the bag will not drag the person out.


The backpack is not only used to carry textbooks from various publishing houses, but also designed to carry other school supplies, functional partitions and sizes.


Therefore, textbooks and printed paper can be carried with you without wrinkling, and you can carry your luggage without messing it up.


Now, let’s take a look at what kind of schoolbags overseas elementary school students carry when they go to school!


School bags for Korean elementary school students


In Japan’s neighboring South Korea, backpack-style school bags seem to be popular among elementary school students.


If you go to a large supermarket or shopping mall, you can find children standing in a row next to something with their favorite characters printed on them. Older girls seem to like things that mature the style of adults.


Recently, Japanese backpacks have become increasingly popular among some wealthy people, but some see them as a symbol of inequality.


School bags for Chinese elementary school students


Similarly, in neighboring China, the shoulder bag called “Tupao” was often used until some time ago, and now rucksacks are often used.


In China, a large number of school supplies such as textbooks are brought back every day, and the luggage is heavy, so some children also use trolley school bags with wheels.


Perhaps because the luggage is too heavy, many parents can be seen in Chinese cities to accompany their children to school and help their children carry their luggage.


School bags for American elementary school students


In the free-bodied United States, there are no special rules for schoolchildren’s school bags.


Many elementary school students use rucksacks, but recently, bags with handles and wheels on backpacks are also popular.


Elementary school students in the United States generally take the school bus to school, so they don’t have to carry their school bags for a long time.


Therefore, it seems that many children do not care much about the weight of their luggage.


British schoolboy school bag


In the UK, unlike in Japan, there is no habit of taking home school supplies such as pencil cases, textbooks and notebooks.


Therefore, there is no habit of carrying a large school bag to school.


However, it is impossible to go to school empty-handed, so they will go to school with a simple handbag called a “book bag”.


Books and printed paper borrowed from school seem to be often placed in it.


They also use a traditional school bag called “Satchel”.


This is the schoolbag used by the protagonist of the movie Harry Potter series, so many people may have an impression.


French schoolboy school bag


In France, a horizontal satchel called “cartable” is used as a schoolbag for elementary school students.


Most sell for around 100 euros.