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What is an ita bag? - Ita Bag Shop

What is an ita bag?

An ita-bag is a bag that is covered with anime badges and plush toys. As this type of bag creates a feeling of being ‘strange and exaggerated’ (Note: itai, the Japanese word for ‘painful’, has this connotation), it is known as a ‘painful bag’ (ita-bag).

At the ItaBagShop, you can start making the ita-bag of your dreams! We provide many items, ranging from an Ita-Bag Base to Ita-bag decorations, which you can use to make your creations simpler, more interesting, and highly customized. There is no right or wrong way to make an ita-bag, and basically anything can be put on the surface of your bag to create a unique ita-bag.

1. What is an ita-bag?

I know that many of you have a favorite anime or manga character that you enjoy and appreciate, and you use several methods to express your admiration for them, such as buying posters that depict them or spending time to practice drawing pictures of them. There is a recently introduced method that you can use to demonstrate your appreciation of this character. This is known as an ita-bag (itabag). If you have visited Japan, it is likely that you saw people there with bags covered with numerous badges, particularly in areas such as Ikebukuro and Akihabara.

I will be telling you about ita-bags, a necessary and customizable accessory for any admirer of anime and manga culture!

Ita-bags are a kind of bag that does not have the same appearance as a bag. Its surface is actually full of keychains, photos, badges, or other items that depict your favorite character! These bags tend to look strange or unusual, which is how they got their name!

In Japanese, it is spelled as 痛バッグ, in which 痛 is ‘pain’ and バッグ is bag, otherwise known as ‘painful bag! These bags do not cause their owners physical pain. However, to those unfamiliar with anime and manga culture, these bags may seem slightly strange or confusing.

Ita-bags tend to have a see-through window or additional plastic coating, which can ensure that its contents will be protected from being broken. They are extremely popular, and stores such as Animate, WEGO, and Swimmer have begun to make bags available that are intentionally designed as ita-bags.

Background of Ita-bags

Ita-bags are not a new trend, but originated around 15 or 20 years ago among admirers of a type of music called visual kei. They put pictures of their favorite musicians and attach them to clothing and accessories. This resembles a popular habit of 1980s and 90s rock music admirers, who attach band-related patches and pins to their clothing. They demonstrate their appreciation for their oshimen, or favorite music group member, by covering their clothing and bags with patches and pins. In particular, these bags are intended to tell others that ‘I love this group member!’

Anime and otaku ita-bags represent a similar trend. Admirers of particular characters usually cover these bags with images of the character they like the most, as this demonstrates their appreciation of the character as well as of their favorite group member.

Which places and times are suitable for carrying ita-bags?

There is actually no particular time when ita-bags are suitable or not, as hobbies are something that we all enjoy.
However, many people bring them along when visiting anime-themed restaurants or attending otaku conventions. These bags are especially prevalent in locations where otaku spend time, and they allow you to show that you admire your favorite character.

Where can you go to locate items to attach to an ita-bag?

You can attach all kinds of things to an ita-bag, as there can be one or many of them! There are no limitations to the number of things that can be attached. I also recommend you to attend an anime convention so you can have a first-hand look at the wide variety of shapes and sizes of these bags.

So how to buy these items?

I recommend you to buy them online or inquire on websites such as Twitter, and the most popular method is exchanging them with other admirers of these bags. Attendees at anime conventions and related events meet together and exchange items like bags and pins or patches. Numerous people are willing to purchase a large quantity of an item featuring a particular character, and a lot of them are very enthusiastic about collecting them. You can also sell the items with characters who you do not like as much, and enthusiastic admirers are also willing to exchange for items that you prefer.

Assembling your own ita-bag that you can enjoy using is very time- and labor-intensive. However, this process is ultimately worthwhile because it is based on your own effort. That is the important part, isn’t it?

Is it true that the bag weighs a lot?

Yes, it weighs quite a lot. It truly weighs a lot, which is something I cannot emphasize enough.

Ita-bags tend to weigh a few kilograms, and can exert some stress on your shoulders. It may seem trite, but the majority of admirers of anime are willing to deal with the extra weight. It represents your passion for and commitment to your hobby.

I noticed that the ita-bags have an additional plastic layer, what is its purpose?

This additional layer is intended to ensure that the items you attach to the ita-bag are not damaged, while also preventing them from attaching to other people or their belongings at large events such as anime conventions.

This element was not originally part of the ita-bag, but was essential once there were issues with it not being added to the bag. It was initially challenging to locate transparent bags with correct sizes, but the majority of ita-bags currently on the market include this plastic layer.


Love multicolour itabag

These bags are similar to those from WEGO and have transparent heart-shaped panels or an interior My Melody design. Our name for them is aitata-bags because aitata means ‘ouch’ in Japanese, which we think is very cute.


WEGO itabag

Other items we sell are known as ita-trunk and ita-suitcases, which are larger versions of ita-bags on which admirers add images of the characters they like, as well as badges or additional layers. These items more closely resemble the badges and pins used by music admirers.

These help you to continually share your love of your most well-liked character with others!


The items may not cost more than a several hundred yen per unit. However, when many of them are connected to a single bag, it tends to require spending a large amount of money. A possibility is that some items are regarded as highly desirable for people to purchase in auctions, which requires spending even more money. In addition, the overall cost of some ita-bags exceeds that of luxury handbags.

As explained before, it requires a lot of passion for and commitment to your hobby to effectively make your own ita-bags, and otaku regard them as very valuable. They are not simply ‘bags that have otaku items connected to them’! Make sure to take good care of your ita-bag!

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