Bags have been an essential part of human life since ancient times. Over time, the act of "carrying" has evolved and its value has changed in various ways, and the bag, which is a tool for carrying, has also changed along with it.
How did bags interact with people and what kind of existence did they have during the major trends of the times?
The history of bags began with the use of natural materials
Around the 30th century BC, something like a bag existed even when humans lived in caves and moved around. They put food and weapons in "containers" made from animal skins and plants, and carried all their belongings with them as they moved.
The Iceman's mummy, discovered inside the glacier, was carrying a pochette made of woven bark, a goatskin backpack, and a calfskin pouch, and it is assumed that the pochette contained food.
Trunks created during boat travel during the ancient Egyptian era
Traveling by boat on the Nile River was a major inspiration for creating today's bags. Decorated trunks carved out of the trunks of large trees were treasured when crossing the Nile.
In the times of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, bags became a symbol of wealth and power, and people showed off their status and power by carrying a lot of luggage and decorations. In addition, the ability to transport goods greatly influenced the establishment of power and led to victories in expeditions.
Bags also appear in the Bible
In the Old Testament, there is a box containing stone tablets inscribed with Moses' Ten Commandments. There is a theory that this box is the prototype of Horen, which is said to be the origin of mikoshi. The New Testament says, ``New wine in new wineskins,'' indicating that ancient people used durable and lightweight wineskins to store and transport wine.
A bag with a lock born from a horse-drawn carriage journey
As land routes were developed and long journeys became easier, aqueducts were built in Rome and horse-drawn carriages began to be used for travel. A beautifully designed bag with a lock is created to hold dishes, furniture, valuables, etc.
From the days of ancient Greece and Rome to modern times, travel has long been a luxury reserved for the privileged.
The origin of Japanese bags is "flat cloth"
In the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, Okuninushi no Mikoto appears carrying a bag. Flat cloth, which can be said to be the origin of bags, can also be said to be the origin of creativity. In addition to creating bags as a base for creating three-dimensional objects, it also became established as a furoshiki for wrapping luggage, and became a tool for transporting items.
During the Edo period, due to national isolation, accessory cases and box-shaped bags each developed in their own way.
From the 17th to the 19th century, there were so many masterpieces that it could be called the Golden Age of bags, with paper cases, coin purses, gunpowder cases, and larger items such as takibako, which also appears in Tokaido Chu Hizakurige, being used. At the end of the Edo period, square leather or cloth bags (dōran) that were worn around the waist and containing medicines and seals became popular.
Meanwhile, in Europe, wide, billowing dresses were simplified in the 18th century, so there was no place to hide pockets. As a result, they were carried around in a cloth reticule that could be pulled shut with a string, or they were carried around by attaching a clasp with a chain called a chatelaine to the waist. Our bags will also keep up with changes in fashion.
During the Napoleonic era, the style of warfare changed.
The performance of guns has improved, and heavy armor and armor are no longer needed. Soldiers became lighter and able to withstand long battles, and began to carry their own bedding, food, and bags containing ammunition on their backs. In Japan, it was also called a knapsack and used by the military, and this evolved into the current rucksack and daypack.
Development of tanned leather
Craftsmen who made harnesses and wardrobes for the aristocracy created sophisticated bags. In the 19th century, ``tanning techniques'' were developed in various countries to make leather more flexible without rotting it.
Industrialized by the industrial revolution
Bags have become industrial products through the combination of new materials and technology. New materials such as papier mache, iron and cut steel, and beads begin to be used in bags.
Changes due to the development of transportation facilities
In the early 1840s , transportation and communication networks made tremendous progress, and travel became popular through ships and trains, which brought about a transformation in the nature of bags. Although the trunks were now stackable, they were still large and the amount of luggage was too much for one person to carry.
As travel became more popular, brands that stood out from the general public appeared, and royalty and aristocrats from all over the world, seeking to differentiate themselves from the masses, competed to place orders. Carrying a bag in one's hand became commonplace, and handbags for traveling by train emerged as the forerunner of handbags. However, people still did not carry their own bags; they had to have their bags carried for them.
In the late 19th century, luggage-only cars were created, but in both the United States and Europe, travelers did not handle their luggage with their own hands, and their luggage was packed into one dedicated car, which was mounted near the front of the car. I did.
The name “bag” was born with the blossoming of civilization.
It is said that modern bag production in Japan started when Kazusuke Yamashiroya had Naoshichi Morita make a bag in 1873 (Meiji 6 ), imitating a bag he brought back from France.
Early bags were called tedoran, but the term ``kaban'' appeared in 1873 (Meiji 6 ). In 1887 (Meiji 20 ), Teizo Tanizawa opened the first store in Japan with the word ``bag'' on it.
The prototype of the modern suitcase
With the development of transportation, ``Gladstone'', named after the British Prime Minister, appeared in 1882 . Trunks, which were mainly designed to be carried by oneself, became popular among men.
Introducing the attaché case
It first appeared in England in 1904 and became popular in the United States in the 1950s . Attaché cases appear in literature and movies as semi-main characters and become a hot topic, creating major trends. It was used in the movie `` 007 '' in 1963, and it immediately gained attention and became a craze in Japan.
A zipper that creates endless possibilities
In 1923, a luxury brand became the first in the world to combine a leather bag with a zipper. Zippers were imported to Japan in 1928 (Showa 3 ). It has become possible to use a wide variety of materials for bags, and it has become possible to create very innovative designs.
Downsizing due to the spread of automobiles
Introducing a small bag designed to be carried in a car. Popularity has focused on the optimal size and ease of handling.
Bags made a huge leap forward due to wartime controls
In wartime Japan, the use of cowhide bags was completely prohibited due to regulations restricting the use of leather. As alternatives, seal, snake, and boar leathers were used, as well as bags made from unexpected materials such as salmon leather and eel leather. The war triggered a major change in the perspective of materials.
Introducing a bag made of nylon material
In 1953, Toray released the Toray Nylon Bag, which was made from nylon, which was a high-quality material at the time. It was hailed as a major revolution that changed the history of bags, and became a symbol of the times.
Suitcases have evolved with the liberalization of overseas travel
In 1964, the liberalization of overseas travel in Japan marked the beginning of overseas travel for the general public and triggered an increase in air travel. As more and more individuals travel overseas, suitcases tailored to the body types of Japanese people are created.
Ace Luggage Co., Ltd. also played a role in the evolution of suitcases. Please take a look at the blog article "History of Ace Luggage Co., Ltd." for more details.
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Evolving in line with technological advances and people's lifestyles
In 1969, the US Apollo 11 successfully landed a man on the moon, and the bag was used to bring back moon rocks.
In the 1970s , people began to become more casual in all aspects of lifestyle and fashion, and the Madison bag, a bag with free expressions using English letters, logos, and illustrations, became all the rage.
Since 1990, along with the rapid evolution of digital gadgets such as PCs and smartphones, bags have also evolved in terms of materials, shape, and functionality. As notebook PCs became more popular and people started carrying them around in their bags, bags with sleeves were created to protect these precision instruments .
In addition, business clothes have become more casual, and the use of backpacks to commute to work has become common among people of all ages. As a result, even the way people carry their bags is changing, with some public transportation systems recommending that people carry their bags in front of them instead of carrying them on their backs when commuting. In recent years, with the spread of remote work, business styles have become even more diverse, and bags have also become more diverse.
In addition, bags are evolving not only with technology but also with the social environment, such as business bags developed for women in response to the increasing employment rate of women, and genderless designs that do not classify by gender.
Bags have evolved along with the development of civilization. People and bags will continue to evolve and change together in the past, present, and future.
(Source: World Bag Museum - History of bags -)