Japanese Artisans Design Leather Handbags for Ultra-Specific Purposes

Leather Handbag Designed to Carry A Single Watermelon

It's a beautiful thing when craft, so exacting and requiring such intense concentration, intersects with pure fun. Such is the case with The Fun of Carrying. Launched by Japanese leather goods maker Tsuchiya Kaban in 2020,  The Fun of Carrying is a design initiative in which individual artisans are given full creative freedom to create a vessel for carrying things—a bag of sorts. The first project to debut was Yusuke Kadoi’s Watermelon Bag. It's a bag designed specifically for carrying a single watermelon—it’s even made with flexible panels and a sturdy handle that’s rounded for comfort while carrying such a heavy object.

This was followed by the Yukidaruma Bag (yukidaruma translates to snow pal in Japanese) by Yuko Matsuzawa. This particular handbag is made of water-resistant leather, and has a thermally insulated polyester inner lining, perfect for carrying around your own little snowman. Matsuzawa explains that she was “inspired by the season’s first snow—looking out the window on a cold morning, seeing the first snowflakes fall to the ground, and being filled with the urge to share that moment with someone you care about.”

In 2021, the structurally elegant Wine Glass Bag was unveiled, designed to transport a single glass of wine in style. The ever so charming Skipping Stone Bag was also unveiled this year, offering a unique carrying case for individual stones which can be worn around the waist or across the shoulder. Each design thus far has been a quirky take on functional accessories. Though they may now offer ultra-specific bags, Tsuchiya Kaban was not always a brand known for its eclectic taste.

Tsuchiya Kaban got its start 50 years ago making durable, comfortable school bags for children. It has since expanded its repertoire of minimalistic, artisanal leather goods to bags of many shapes, sizes, and functions. According to their website, Tsuchiya Kaban craftsmen draw on the brand’s “decades of accumulated leatherworking experience and technical expertise to continuously change and innovate, resulting in a line of leather bags for adults with a manufacturing process that requires a countless number of steps.”

Each one of these steps is carefully executed by Tsuchiya Kaban craftsmen—the leather is measured, cut, and stitched by hand, the work of a professional, an artisan. Still, these unique bags, expertly designed and meticulously crafted, evoke a childlike wonder, a smile of surprise. What feeling could there be, other than delight, at the thought of swinging an elegant bag snugly holding a single wine glass?

If you’re in Japan, you can see these bags in person in a traveling exhibition taking place at Tsuchiya Kaban retail outlets. These exhibits will showcase the bags alongside videos of their production processes. For more information, head over to Tsuchiya Kaban's website.

Japanese leather goods maker Tsuchiya Kaban's The Fun of Carrying allows artisans to freely create quirky handbags, including this Watermelon Bag.

Watermelon Sitting Next to the Watermelon BagJapanese Artisan, Yusuke Kadoi, Creating His Watermelon Bag

Also in the collection is Yuko Matsuzawa's Snowpal Bag, a carrying case for one little snowman.

Leather Handbag Designed to Carry a Miniature SnowmanSomeone Displaying the Snowpal Bag, Which Holds One Miniature Snowman

It is made of water-resistant leather and lined with thermally insulated polyester.

Detail of Water Droplets on Snowpal Bag, Which is Made of Water-Resistant Leather

This Wine Glass Bag is designed to hold a single glass of wine.

Wine Glass Next to the Wine Glass BagHandle Detail of the Wine Glass BagSide Detail of Wine Glass BagMan Carrying Leather Bag Designed to Hold a Single Wineglass

There is also the Skipping Stone Bag, which is built to carry multiple skipping stones and can be worn around the waist or across the body.

Two Friends Each Wearing the Skipping Stone Bag Across their ShoulderSkipping Stone BeltDetail of Skipping Stone Belt PouchMan Using Skipping Stone Belt, Holding StoneTsuchiya Kaban: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
h/t: [Spoon & Tamago]

All images via Tsuchiya Kaban.

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