No.185 (4/8/11)

A New School Year & Randoseru Donation In Japan

Keiko H. Johnson
Staff Writer

At the beginning of April, Japanese educational institutions celebrate a new school year by inviting new scholars to their campuses. The freshmen at the junior high school and high school students put on their new school uniforms. And those at the elementary school carry their new colorful backpacks that seem a bit too big on their tiny figures. With much anticipation held towards this new environment, the freshmen walk through the tunnel of full blooming cherry blossoms leading up to the school campus.

Randoseru are those colorful backpacks carried by elementary school children in Japan. Its name originates from the Dutch word gRanseruh meaning "backpack". The history of Randoseru in Japan goes back to the Meiji era when the Imperial army commissioned officers began carrying them as their commuting bags. The present Randoseru backpack is made with layers of stitched leather or synthetic leather like materials. The craftsmanship and the design allow this symbolic item of Japanese elementary school students to be durable and to last for the entire 6 years of elementary school. Its useful value has been improved to fit the virtue of educational style of Japan, and has a variety of new colors and designs added into their series. Although, April is the most memorable month for the parents of the freshmen because they are sending their children into the inspirational escapade of a new learning environment, preparing for school can be very expensive. And that includes purchasing a sturdy backpack that cost more than the regular backpack, and providing the new wardrobe that should endure rough treatments of an energetic elementary school age child. It becomes a financial burden to some people. Those disadvantaged especially may perhaps call for a financial support.

On December 25, 2010, Japan media reported the scandalous, yet, heartwarming event, which created a sensation to the nation that are in the middle of downward spiral of gloomy financial crisis. Japanfs central child guideline center of Gunma prefecture received a donation of 10 Randoseru backpacks for the maltreated children from unidentified individuals, who referred oneself to as g Tigermaskh: a popular Manga character from Showa era. Following this particular occurrence, multiple cases of donations have been reported in other parts of Japan as well. This type of donation activity particularly made for abused children are called g Tigermask donationh. And are continuously made during this time every year since the first donation made in 2010. The true names of the person or a group behind these ongoing events are still hidden and have not been revealed.

It is the time for the freshmen to be the center of light again this year, for they will shine under those cherry blossoms, in which many supported and contributions were made. Such gratifying activities cannot be forgotten. The day of the school entrance ceremony is not only to welcome freshmen to their new learning environment, but also is it the day to give appreciation to those who supported.

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