The Japanese obsession with blood types

It is a good idea to know your blood type. While most Japanese know their blood type, many foreigners do not (and Japanese are frequently surprised to hear this).

Many Japanese people believe that each blood type has a certain personality and affinity, so it is common for them to ask someone their blood type or try to guess someone’s blood type by their personality. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for women in their 20s and 30s to even select a prospective husband based on his blood type.

Not only in Japan but also in other East Asian countries a person’s ABO blood type or ketsueki-gata (血液型) is predictive of his or her personality, temperament, and compatibility with others, similar to how astrological signs are used in other countries throughout the world, although blood type plays a much more prominent role in Japanese and the societies of other East Asian countries than astrology does in other countries’ societies.

Ultimately deriving from ideas of historical scientific racism, the popular belief originates with publications by Masahiko Nomi in the 1970s. The scientific community dismisses such beliefs as superstition or pseudoscience due to their lack of basis on demonstrable evidence or reference to testable cryteria. Although research into the causational link between blood type and personality is limited, current research conclusively demonstrates no statistically significant association.

There are many books about the various blood type personalities. For example, “A, B, O, AB gata jibun no setsumeisho” (A Guide to A, B, O, AB blood types), written by an unknown author who uses the pen name Jamais Jamais, have become best sellers in Japan.

bath salts for each blood type

The history

The ABO blood group system is widely credited to have been founded by the Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner, who discovered three different blood types in 1900.[7]

In 1926, Rin Hirano and Tomita Yashima published the article “Blood Type Biological Related” in the Army Medical Journal. It was seen to be a non-statistical and unscientific report, motivated by racism.

In 1927, Takeji Furukawa, a professor at Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s School, published his paper “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” in the scholarly journal Psychological Research. The idea quickly took off with the Japanese public despite Furukawa’s lack of credentials, and the militarist government of the time commissioned a study aimed at breeding ideal soldiers. The study used ten to twenty people for the investigation, therefore failing to meet the statistical assumptions required to demonstrate that the tests were either reliable or generalisable to the wider population.

In another study, Furukawa compared the distribution of blood types among two different ethnic groups, the Formosans in Taiwan and the Ainu of Hokkaidō. His motivation for the study appears to have come from a political incident: After the Japanese occupation of Taiwan following Japan’s invasion of China in 1895, the inhabitants tenaciously resisted their occupiers. Insurgencies in 1930 and in 1931 resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Japanese settlers.

The purpose of Furukawa’s studies was to “penetrate the essence of the racial traits of the Taiwanese, who recently revolted and behaved so cruelly”. Based on a finding that 41.2% of a Taiwanese sample had type O blood, Furukawa assumed that the Taiwanese rebelliousness was genetically determined. The reasoning was supported by the fact that among the Ainu, whose temperament was characterized as submissive, only 23.8% had type O. In conclusion, Furukawa suggested that the Japanese should increase intermarriage with the Taiwanese to reduce the number of Taiwanese with type O blood.

Interest in the theory faded in the 1930s as its unscientific basis became evident. It was revived in the 1970s with a book by Masahiko Nomi, a lawyer and broadcaster with no medical background. Nomi’s work was largely uncontrolled and anecdotal, and the methodology of his conclusions was unclear. Because of this, he was heavily criticised by the Japanese psychological community, although his books remain popular. His son continued to promote the theory with a series of books, and by running the Institute of Blood Type Humanics.

Bloodtyping today

Discussion of blood types is widely popular in women’s magazines as a way of gauging relationship compatibility with a potential or current partner. Morning television shows feature blood typehoroscopes, and similar horoscopes are published daily in newspapers. The blood types of celebrities are listed in their infoboxes on Japanese Wikipedia. A series of four books that describe people’s character by blood type ranked third, fourth, fifth and ninth on a list of best selling books in Japan in 2008 compiled by Tohan Corporation.

Although there is no proven correlation between blood type and personality, it remains popular with the many matchmaking services that cater to blood type. In this way, it is similar to the use of astrological signs, which is also popular in Japan. Asking one’s blood type is common in Japan, and people are often surprised when a non-Japanese does not know his or her own blood type.

It is common among anime and manga authors to mention their character’s blood types, and to give their characters corresponding blood types to match their personalities. Some video game characters also have known blood types. In addition, it is common for video game series to allow for blood type as an option in their creation modes.

Blood type harassment, called “bura-hara” (wasei-eigo-a portmanteau of “blood” and “harassment”), has been blamed for bullying of children in playgrounds, loss of job opportunities, and ending of happy relationships.

Many people have been discriminated against because of their blood type. Employers have been asking blood types during interviews despite the warnings they have been given. Children at schools have been split up according to their blood type. The national softball team has customized training to fit each player’s blood type. Companies have given work assignments according to their employee’s blood type.

Facebook in many Asian countries allows users to include their blood type in their profile.

After then-Reconstruction Minister Ryu Matsumoto‘s abrasive comments towards the governors of Iwate and Miyagi forced him to step down from his post, he partially blamed his behavior on his blood type, saying “My blood is type B, which means I can be irritable and impetuous, and my intentions don’t always come across.”

Blood types are treated as important in South Korea as well. An example can be seen in the film My Boyfriend Is Type B where a girl is advised not to date a man because his blood type is B.

Here is a look at what it’s all about.

Japanese blood type personality chart
Type A
Best traits Earnest, creative, sensible, reserved, patient, responsible
Worst traits Fastidious, overearnest, stubborn, tense
Type B
Best traits Wild, active, doer, creative, passionate, strong
Worst traits Selfish, irresponsible, unforgiving, erratic
Type AB
Best traits Cool, controlled, rational, sociable, adaptable
Worst traits Critical, indecisive, forgetful, irresponsible, “split personality”
Type O
Best traits Confident, self-determined, optimistic, strong-willed, intuitive
Worst traits Self-centered, cold, doubtful, unpredictable, “workaholic”

General personality of people who have type A blood

—Consider things carefully
—Can understand other people’s feelings easily
—Kind
—Good at hospitality
—Don’t express themselves in order to avoid possible quarrel
—Do things carefully and steadily, and don’t take the next step if they are not satisfied
—Honor student types who don’t go off the rail
—Fastidious
—Big on cleanliness
—Can be calm even when accidents happen
—Strong on taking responsibility
—Hard workers
—Safe drivers

Type A blood people’s affinity with each blood type

Partner who is type A – They have many common points; however, both of them are highly strung, so they may be irritated by each other.

Partner who is type B – Type A person envies type B’s happy-go-lucky personality. However, type A person worries about type B person’s personality.

Partner who is type AB – Type AB person is reliable for type A, someone they can turn to for good advice and help. They can have a stable love relationship.

Partner who is type O – Type O person is protective of type A. However, if type A talks about every small thing, the relationship won’t be good.

General personality of people who have type B blood

—Like to go their own way
—Do what they want without considering other people’s feelings, rules and customs
—Happy-go-lucky and masters of breaking rules
—Optimistic
—Friendly and open their heart to anybody
—Not pretentious
—Afraid of being alone
—Get lonely easily
—Quick to adapt
—Flexible thinkers
—Pragmatists
—Don’t chase a dream much
—Like to play
—Love festivals and parties
—Have been in love many times
—Don’t get heart-broken over lost love

Type B blood people’s affinity with each blood type person

Partner who is type A – Type A person is always willing to help type B person; however, they get tired of each other easily. Type A often complains to type B.

Partner who is type B – Both of them are not careful, so they may do things that are off the rail.

Partner who is type AB – They attract each other and they may quickly start a relationship. They love each other very much.

Partner who is type O – They can understand each other easily. Type O person covers for type B person’s bad points. They are a great match for friendship.

General personality of people who have type AB blood

—Chase ideals and dreams
—Don’t have secular needs such as greed and a desire to succeed
—Have strong spirituality
—Calm and rational
—Sensitive and easily hurt
—Have a complicated personality
—Private life is important
—Don’t like interference from other people
—Have various hobbies
—Vigorous in pursuit of knowledge in wide range of fields
—Are bookworms
—Have unique ideas and are creative
—Have fairy tale-like hobbies
—Calm and frank about love relationship

Type AB blood people’s affinity with each blood type person

Partner who is type A – Type AB person respects type A person, and they have a passionate love for each other. However, they may quarrel frequently.

Partner who is type B – They are a good match and connect with each other easily.

Partner who is type AB – Their relationship is always proceeding along parallel lines. They cannot open their minds to each other. It is best not to be too close to each other, nor be too far apart.

Partner who is type O – They can succeed in business and at various activities together. They can produce new things together easily.

General personality of people who have type O blood

—Realistic
—Good at developing economic concepts
—Vigorous at earning a living
—Strong in face of adversity
—Romanticists
—Dream of getting rich quick, but actually take a steady approach
—Ambitious
—Go straight toward their goal
—Have leadership ability and often take care of younger people and people below them
—Very cautious
—Don’t care about small things, taking a wider perspective instead
—Devoted, but with a strong desire to monopolize

Type O blood people’s affinity with each blood type person

Partner who is type A – Type O person always wants to take the lead for type A person. They are a good combination.

Partner who is type B – They can talk freely and openly and have a comfortable relationship. However, type O person gets confused by type B person’s moody personality sometimes.

Partner who is type AB – Their thoughts are a match. However, if they are in the same “arena,” they compete with each other strongly.

Partner who is type O – They cannot understand each other basically, and they feel alienation easily. It is best not to get too close together.

Source: Ketsuekigatabetsuseikaku (Each blood type’s personality)

Dieting methods by blood type

Erica Angyal, a Miss Universe Japan official nutritionist and health consultant, has published books on health and beauty by blood type, such as “Bijo no Ketsuekigata BOOK” (beautiful women’s blood type) and “Bijo no Ketsuekigata-bestu Obento BOOK” (beautiful women’s lunch box by each blood type).

Also, the fitness and health magazine FYTTE’s February edition introduces a dieting method by blood type directed by Angyal.

Here is brief introduction to the dieting method.

Recommended diet for type A

Recommended foods for type A people are carbohydrates such as rice and grain, vegetables, and fruits because type As originated from agricultural tribes who mainly ate foods from plants. However, type As usually don’t digest dairy products easily, so it is better to have yogurt. Also, meat is difficult to digest and turns into fat easily for type A people, so it is better to eat beans and fish for protein. Japanese traditional foods such as miso soup, natto, tofu, and so on are a good match for type A people.

Recommended exercise for type A

Stress is the main enemy for type A people, so slow exercise such as yoga is the best way to relax.

Recommended diet for type B

Type B people have the ability to digest various foods such as vegetables, fruit, fish, meats, grain and dairy products because type Bs originated from nomad tribes who ate various foods to survive in their extreme environment. It is best to have various foods, especially protein, otherwise type B people get irritated and tired easily. Lean meat with low fat, especially beef and lamb, are good because they are easy to digest and make metabolism faster for type B people. However, chicken, sesame, corn, soba noodles and wheat make type B people fat.

Recommended exercise for type B

Type B blood people have high stress, so it is best to play active sports such as tennis and golf, and also try slow exercise such as yoga to relax.

Recommended diet for type AB

Type AB people have features of both type A and type B. For example, type AB people don’t have enough stomach acids to easily digest some kinds of meat like type As. Protein from soy beans is good for type AB people, as are some dairy products. Therefore, it is best to take protein from fish and soy beans, and other various foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, yogurt, and so on, with a good balance. Wheat, chicken, corn, sesame and soba noodles are not good for dieting.

Recommended exercise for type AB

Type AB people have negative feelings such as anger and hostility and it is bad for their body when they get excited too much. So the best exercises for type AB people are yoga to relax their body and aerobics to let stress out.

Recommended diet for type O

Type O people can digest meat easier than other blood types. However, lack of protein tires them easily too because type O people originated from tribes that hunted animals and gathered nuts, fruit and plants. The tribes ate low fat meat, so low fat beef and lamb are good for type O people. Especially fish with omega-3 fatty acid are the best protein source for them. Eating fresh vegetables and fruit is recommended. The early tribes did not eat grains and dairy products, so those foods are difficult to digest for type O people. Wheat and dairy products make type O people get fat easily.

Recommended exercise for type O

Exercises which improve the heart rate function and muscles, such as running and boxing are good for type O people. Active exercises keep their hormone balance right.

Categories: history of Japan, Japanese customs, Stories about Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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