A randoseru (ランドセル?) is a firm-sided backpack made of stitched firm leather or leather-like synthetic material, most commonly used in Japan by elementary schoolchildren. Traditionally it is given to a child upon beginning his or her first year of school, whereupon the child uses the same bag until grade 6. The term is a borrowed word from the Dutch “ransel” meaning “backpack”, a clue to its origins nearly 200 years ago as used in the Netherlands.
In more conservative schools the color, brand and design is mandated, typically with red as the traditional color for girls and black for boys. However, due to changing attitudes toward gender stereotypes, more colorful versions such as pink, brown, dark blue, green, blue and even two-tones are more widespread. These varieties have existed since the 1960s but sold poorly due to the lock-step mentality of the education system that gradually began changing in the early 2000s. The increased variety of colors is partly as a compromise for parents to retain some tradition within modernized schools which no longer require the use of traditional uniforms or the randoseru.