I have been living in Japan for the past eighteen months and still to this day, and much to the shock and horror of the Japanese people I encounter, I have no clue what my blood type is. The first question I was asked by my students during my self-introduction on the first day of class was, “What is your blood type?” Never in my life have I been asked that question by anyone, let alone a fourteen year old kid in broken English.
Japan is obsessed with blood types, just as western countries are obsessed with astrological horoscopes. Japanese people believe a person’s blood type is an insight into their personality and temperament, and use blood types to determine their compatibility with the opposite sex. Blood type profiling is especially popular with Japanese women, and blood type horoscopes can be found in magazines, newspapers, and on television. Facebook Japan even allows users to add their blood type to their public profile.
So, where did all this blood type hype come from? Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner first discovered that people have different blood types in 1900, and thus began a whirlwind of scientific and cultural studies of blood type profiling all around the world, mostly with racist motivations. Various ethnic studies showed that blood types were distributed differently around the world, with a slightly larger concentration of B-type blood among Asian people.
In 1927 after the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, University professor Takeji Furukawa, set out to identify and compare the racial traits of the ill-behaved Taiwanese people compared with the gentle mannered Ainu people of Hokkaido. He found that 41% of Taiwanese people have type-O blood, where as only 24% of Ainu people are type-O, concluding that intermarriage of the Japanese and Taiwanese people is the best means of reducing the number of badly behaved type-O Taiwanese people.
So that is all fair and good, but what exactly does it mean when someone responds to mention of your blood type with an exaggerated head-nodding and “oooooooohhhhhhhh…..” followed by a long pause. It means they are judging you; analyzing your personality based on a preconceived list of traits that every Japanese person seems to know and live by to some extent.
If you are like me and have no idea what blood type you are, perhaps you can choose the one you feel best represents your personality and lie to the next person who asks you the daunting question. If you are slightly more responsible and happen to know this ‘could-be-life-saving-tad-of-information’, feel free to inform yourself of just what exactly your Japanese friends think about you.
Type O – The Warrior
You are a trendsetter. You are loyal, passionate, self confident and independent. You can easily express your feelings. You are confident and aggressive in love, and you make a good first impression on the opposite sex. You are romantic and passionate, but also very jealous.
- Queen Elizabeth II
- John Lennon
- Elvis Presley
- Paul Newman
Type A – The Farmer
You are calm, patient and sensitive. When it comes to love, you love your partner exclusively, and never stray. You do not believe in ‘love at first sight’, but when you find the right person, you fall madly deeply in love. You are responsible, overcautious and stubborn, which makes it hard for you to relax. You are shy and have trouble expressing your feelings. You are also vain and jealous.
- Adolf Hitler
- George Bush Sr.
- Ringo Starr
- Britney Spears
Type B – The Hunter
You are in individualist. You are strong and optimistic and you dislike customs. You are open and honest in love, and you seem to attract unconventional and individualistic partners. You are wild and unpredictable – the social butterfly who is asked on many dates – and are likely to have affairs. You are romantic and creative, and love a little drama in your life.
- Paul McCartney
- Leonardo Di Caprio
- Jack Nicholson
- Charlie Chaplin
Type AB – The Humanist
You are cool, controlled and rational. You are sensitive and loving, and a true romantic at heart. You tend to be idealistic about your partner, and want the perfect package. You long for a soul mate. You are sociable and popular and have many friends. You can be reluctant to admit your feelings for your partner, and have trouble committing. You are often indecisive and sometimes come off as standoffish.
- Jackie Chan
- Merilyn Monroe
- John F. Kennedy
- Mick Jagger
A is most compatible with A and AB.
B is most compatible with B and AB.
AB is most compatible with everybody.
O is most compatible with O and AB.
Now that your personality has been placed in a neat-fit little box, go forth and mingle without fear of judgement. Or perhaps fear that the cute girl you have been chatting up all night is an incompatible blood type. Either way, at least you know now…
- Wikipedia: Blood Types in Japanese Culture
- Seek Japan: Love Sex & Blood Types
- Bella Online: Personality Traits By Blood Type – A Japanese Concept
- Laughter Heal