Japan’s fascination with blood types
Do you know what your blood type is? If you’re not Japanese, there is a good chance that you don’t. After all, if there is an emergency, it’s the doctor’s duty to check. How about your friends’, family members’ or coworkers’? Do you know their blood types? Of course not, why would you, right?
In Japan, a practical totality of the population know what their blood type is, and even the blood type of those people around them. Weird, huh? Well, if you tell a Japanese person that you don’t know your blood type, they will be as shocked.
You see, there is a particular superstition in Japan that everyone is aware of, and that is that blood types dictate your personality. While not everyone believes that this has any scientific merit, surveys show that a good percentage of the population still does. Everyone else knows about their blood types due to cultural influence, just like everyone knows their horoscope in Western countries, even if almost no one believes in it.
It is not rare in Japan for someone to comment on something you did and say something along the lines of “oh well, can’t be helped, you’re blood type B!” Or for someone to ask you what your blood type is to show interest and try to find out something about your personality. There is probably a bit of confirmation bias involved, and in some cases it can perhaps become a self-fulfilling prophecy, where people start acting like they are expected to. Whatever it is, it is deeply ingrained in the culture.
There are way too many personality traits that blood types are associated with, but here is a short summary of them:
People with blood type A are kind, calm and neat, but can be stubborn and anxious. Those born with blood type AB are spiritual, rational, and talented, but can be too introverted and eccentric. People with blood type O are realistic, hard working and good leaders, but can be insensitive. Finally, those with blood type B are free spirits, optimistic and sociable, but are not empathetic or reliable. Sometimes these people can be even discriminated against, as they are minority and not considered good coworkers by those who really believe in this.
If you’re moving to Japan and don’t know your blood type, you should definitely try to find out. At least it will give you something interesting to talk about.
Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
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