The Curious Japanese Obsession With Blood Types

By

August 19, 2014

Japanese people love to ask the question: “What’s your blood type?” Is that because they are concerned about your health? Are they worried that you might need a blood transfusion? No! It is because many of them believe that blood type determines your personality.

Growing up in Japan, I had never questioned the theory of blood type because everyone including teachers, parents, friends and even potential employers have asked my blood type. Certain blood types are more favourable and some of my friends have even lied to employers about their blood type to try and secure the job.

There is no scientific evidence to back up the blood type personality theory, but blood type matters to many Japanese people

My blood type is AB, which is the least common in Japan and we are the most discriminated against in Japan. We are odd, eccentric, unpredictable and we are not worried what other people think of us. I don’t remember how many times my classmates asked my blood type and many of them said to me: “I can see that you are AB.”

It may be a surprise to many westerners but many dating agencies in Japan encourage subscribers to list their blood type on their online profiles. I don’t think I would be very comfortable with this idea because my blood type may drive many potential partners away!

What is that supposed to mean? This infographic shows a fascinating history of this practice that pervades Japanese culture.

japanese_bloodtype

Do I believe in blood type theory of personality now? I am not quite sure because it seems to work really well among Japanese people. I am a typical AB and my other friends with blood type AB also have unique personalities and they are outcasts. My friend and one of my sisters with blood type B are pretty assertive and I often find myself trying not to take what they say personally. Most people with blood type O that I know are pretty laid back.

In the U.S., people are often categorized into different racial groups but because Japan is ethnically and culturally homogenous we use blood types to evaluate and categorize each others.

I wish more studies on this subject will be done and hopefully the reputation of Blood Type AB will improve in the future!

Topics:  

Japan born, US educated, language teacher.
  • Dr.ZATAN says:

    AB+ Take frome all and give to only of your own kind is my bloody moto

  • tahir rana says:

    🙂 I am A+.

  • Blade's nephew. says:

    The japanese error was not incorporating the negative blood type factor. RH- blood types is what they should have been studying all along.

  • Travis Edward Gould says:

    Yumi was using a generalization about Japan. It is very homogeneous, but not 100% homogenous of course. If there is a bowl of red marbles but there are a few orange marbles scattered about, we would still call it a bowl of homogeneous red marbles. And if you have read complaints about foreigners that live in Japan, you would know about what is known as “gaijin”, a term for outsider, or not of Japanese decent, language, and origin. This is another aspect where discrimination, or bad judgement, is made upon people. This is true and it does not negate the fact that blood types are used irrationally by Japanese against other Japanese. Both are used, the blood types are more nefarious because of the wide use and this is because of the huge homogeneity of Japan. And racial discrimination is the more obvious because race is more obvious, but less nefarious and widespread because of the very little amount of foreigners living in Japan.

    And to make a point about her comment being harmful, I must highly disagree. You should at least make yourself more clear about why/how this is harmful. Otherwise, I really cannot think of a reason for why this harmful, not even the most generous consideration of your comment brings anything to light. The silliest speculation I can think of is that this insults Japan by calling it something it isn’t, which wouldn’t harm Japan at all, and I have already showed you why Yumi’s claim is valid, so your comment is null, and insulting to Yumi. (The worse this could do is scare away people wanting to travel to Japan, who have a problem with racial homogeneity, or have a problem with Asians, and see that there are little amounts of people of their “own kind”. But is this a harm? No! If xenophobic, irrational racists avoid traveling to Japan, then a good thing would have been done, but this final point is non-sequitur.)

    • Chelsea Craig says:

      The harm comes from erasing identities, leading to further discrimination. There are Japanese people who are ethnically Korean, Ainu, and Chinese, among other Asian ethnic groups. As well as those who are the children of non-Asian naturalized immigrants, all of whom have different cultural practices than what is considered to be “Japanese”. We’re not talking about marbles that are a lighter shade of red (orange), but also marbles that are shades of blue and yellow. The number of foreigners living in Japan also continues to increase. Nigerians and Filipinos are immigrating due to current economic situations. Many people from typically Arab countries are going for the medical schools. Refugees (albeit at a very slow rate compared to the global average) are finding homes in Japan.

      My only point of contention comes from the assumption of homogeneity. The Japanese government has been saying that their country is homogeneous for over half a century, but saying something over and over doesn’t make it true. I don’t believe a homogeneous country exists, with the exception of North Korea.

  • Travis Edward Gould says:

    I am surprised at the amount of people leaving comments that actually believe this. I was surprised by Yumi Nakata, the author, for actually believing this too. Yumi says that it seems to work among Japanese people. But there is a huge lack of information in knowing what the other outcomes would have been, if those other people would have been chosen. And it is not really a lack of information, it is just impossible to know these unobservable, other possibilities.

    The huge evidence of pseudoscience that this displays are the use of vague generalities. If it is supposed that O-type people tend to be more laid back, what does that mean? Laid back in what respect? Some people will be laid back in regards to ideas and about what others think, this is the same as the lack of care of the supposed AB’s aloofness to others’ thoughts. AB is laid back about others’ thoughts, but wait aren’t O-types laid back? Others can be laid back with physical activity but care very much about others’ thoughts. These sorts of traits expand all people and doesn’t apply to any particular blood type.

    Also, there has to be a better link between blood type and character. To say O-type is laid back, there is a missing link for this. Considering blood type is a very biological trait, it would have to affect other biological parts of the person. For instance, if it is true that more laid back people tend to produce more dopamine than others, and if it could be linked that the structure of O-type blood affects the production of dopamine to be higher, than we would have a link for laid backness in O-types, this has yet to be proven. And the caveat is that high dopamine production, or presence, has also shown to make people more active.

  • Layfon says:

    i’m AB too but i dont think AB blood are odd, i consider it as special or gifted without special powers / abilities..

    i’m a special person that absorb personalities with a bit of everything in best traits and lesser in bad traits.. definitely do not have split personalities.. i just change to fit whatever situation i am in..

    Farmer is like you are contented with what you have or what you do..
    Hunter is like aiming for the things you want in your life and go straight for it..
    Humanist is like being able to think like a human, act like a human or be like a human and still be very fabulous..
    Warrior is like striving through excellence, lead the group to greater heights and conquer the ideal world to be the very best in what you do in life..

    just be yourself..

    • ELF says:

      I’m AB too.. and I think some of us has split personalities since we became what is fit in different situations

  • Boaty McBoatface says:

    So how is the rh factor considered? How is O+ different from O- from Japanese perspective?

  • Donold Duck says:

    Any blood type can feel like a warrior, it’s really all bullshit to a certain extent. I mean when it comes to donating and the percentage number of each blood type. The way your personality is has nothing to do with your blood type and only small minded ignorant fools choose to go by it. Same with the horoscopes, it’s all bullshit lol

  • Donold Duck says:

    What about o negative type? go look somewhere, your blood type is mentioned EVERYWHERE and there is MANY posts about it, just leave our small community of AB’s and go look for the many posts about your blood type on the web. It’s not our fault we’re the rarest and most limited blood type in the world.

    • RinMorakai says:

      AB- is the rarest in the world not AB + so that should be defined first this is then followed by B- and O- as these two combined only take up 5% of the world. Learn your facts beforehand. Sir.

  • kunoichi4ever says:

    AB here…I guess I partially get why ppl are bit of wary of us, I mean sometimes I m tired of dealing w myself…
    try you having a split personality A, B, 0!
    I was always kinda confused with the extrovert/introvert test coz I m both and none..I m outgoing, but I love to be alone, I m talkative, but not open, social, but only if I m in the mood…I m just all over the place…which is fun, but tiring ..I find ppl the most fascinating beings one moment and the other I m just bored of how predictable they are….

    • Cyber Naskar says:

      I am B positive. We share the same extrovert/introvert mixed personality and we are from different blood groups, and I am also exactly like you, its kind of like a split personality between A, B and O. It’s really strange dealing with ourselves sometimes, or maybe the blood traits the chart shows isn’t as correct as it seems.

      However after some research of the extrovert/introvert part, I finally found something which describes me the best. It’s called Ambivert, its somewhere in the middle of introvert and extravert. Maybe you are that too! 😀

  • noob168 says:

    Aw, I’m AB…I assume the discrimination isn’t as bad as it sounds (except maybe on dating sites)?

  • HitThoseBallsShoyo says:

    On the spot with AB but is there any meaning for whether you are negative or positive?

  • Gwion says:

    I don’t know my blood type but according to all the blood type personality things i’ve read I could quite possibly be type AB. Ah. Also I’ve watched shows/tv series/dramas(ect.) and seen people with type AB and there personalitys are me exactly.
    I watch many Korean dramas..(lol.)

    ..people call me Vampire because of my personality..(Emotionless..) -.- (And also because I like the taste of blood)

    My Birthday: 5/20,1998…Taurus/Gemini…Tiger..
    Goodbye.

    • Vincent-Mei says:

      i was like that too! before i knew my blood type, i was so sure i was type AB, because the personalities and descriptions matched me so perfectly~ ( I watch many korean dramas too ^^)

      but then i finally took my blood test and turned out i was… A.
      it doesn’t match my personality!! ㅠㅠ

  • relmneiko says:

    This stuff is just superstition that has been scientifically disproven again and again. It’s baloney, just like astrology and all that other new age hooey.

  • Wooshin says:

    I’m a May 20th Taurus , I’m a Tiger (1998) & I’m Blood Type O+.

    – I’m introverted , i’ve low self-esteem and extreme social anxiety. Also I have social awkwardness as well..

    -I hate leaving my house but unfortunately I have to in order to go to School/Work whatever..

    -People scare me. I always try to avoid people.

    -I have something called Brain Fog (feels like you have no brain, feels like your a zombie,tired all the time.)
    -Usually if someone asked me to do something I never end up doing the thing or I forget what has been asked and end up doing something else.

    -I’m very Shy and Anti-Social as well.

    -the thought of being a leader scares me to death.

    the only O trait I have is Vain maybe because I like looking at myself o.O and Lazy as well..I’m nice but I can also be very rude. I’m very possessive.

    I’ve never in my life have had a friend and I’ve always been a loner.

    lol I’ll shut up now..lol I could write a whole book about myself lol shshshshshs.!!

    I can’t shut myself up!!! ahhh!! bye bye bye!!

  • Soapy Jam says:

    As a highly introverted and quiet type O with low self-esteem and crippling social anxiety, I can safely tell you that whatever is said about type O’s is way off the mark for british people xD

  • grim says:

    Hits the mark for my AB+ .strange. I do like fruit though just on a another level.

  • Lexxvs says:

    Superstition has infinite faces. And very few active brains.

  • Kenna says:

    I would posit that these personalities are a result of being brought up by parents with similar attitudes – bearing in mind that that’s also where your blood type comes from. I realize there are uncontrolled variables in that statement, but I don’t feel like going down my list of ideas on how to control said variables – or what could affect them. It would take too long and I need to get back to work. >_>

  • Beta Marashi says:

    My blood type is (O -)
    This is pretty interesting, I never know it, is so important the blood type. but when you think about it is good and bad, it is good when it come to dating, but when it come to work it is good for the employers but not for employees.

    What about ( O – ) blood is that much different from O?

  • De Toxik says:

    <– AB-Rh Negative… Don't know whether to laugh or cry.. Most 'specially when I'm told to "Be Positive", or need to be "A Positive Person" (so, There's an APP 4 that, im sure, heh)… Yet, I tend to wanna see the Positive in Almost Everything, or put a positive spin,on a negative situation…Just Leavin' me confused, n' those around me! WeeeeeEee! guh…

  • Angelica Rose Eclevia says:

    I’m type B, and I find people with blood type AB very, very, as in extremely amusing! <3 I love AB people <3

  • Luca says:

    It’s funny how my blood type [0], my zodiac [capricorn] and my hogwarts house [Slytherin] all tell me, that I’m ambitious, a leader, insensitive and outgoing and I’m sitting here in my room, totally insecure/scared of or nervous about everything I do.

  • wickedjr89 says:

    I am O blood type and that is the exact opposite of me! It’s completely wrong. I am an introvert, shy, anti-social, insecure, not ambitious at all, the thought of being a leader scares me to death, screw vanity just let me be comfy, too dang sensitive for my own good…yeah this crap is wrong.

  • I’m AB+ and not at all aloof, unforgiving, or highly organized. Also, we’re only about 3% in the US, not 5%.

  • Nancy Harrison says:

    My husband and I don’t fit the descriptions for our blood types at all! Of course some will fit because of random associations, but it’s no better than the zodiac signs people try to use to predict personalities in the U.S. Totally bogus.

  • dave420 says:

    This shit is pretty accurate

  • Ashlee Elizabeth says:

    I’m A+ like my mom and dad.

  • Tess de la Serna says:

    Very informative. I always wonder why Japanese mentions their blood type often.

  • Roxanne Stokes-Byrne says:

    wow! I often wondered why manga and anime had this information on it. As an AB I was a little perturbed by it being associated with an aloof character. The explains a lot! (not about my personality but the in jokes that Anime have)

  • Uta Noface Ghoul says:

    i’m blood group B…
    am I rare? like wassup?

    Is there any other B type out there?

  • Elle Juarez says:

    I’m A+ like my dad lol

  • Mirakuru-Sama says:

    okay~ luckily this didn’t portray about myself.

  • marrakech says:

    I’m type A… but so are Hitler, George Bush, O. J. Simpson, and Richard Nixon. Not a very good crowd. Should I be worried?

  • Kaylee E. Chier says:

    I’m type AB- with my sun sign in Cancer. Then my moon and several other planetary signs are in Gemini. All known for their moody/bipolar traits as well as indecisive.. Lol Interesting Circumstances Ive been fated with!

    • Lilly says:

      Wow, we got the same like everything OEO I’m cancer, Blood type AB, k just I must ask you what is your Chinese zodiac sign? Mines snake.

  • Fae Aisa says:

    I’m type O Positive. This article is interesting.

  • Pilly Wiggin says:

    I am AB too 🙂 Thanks for the article!

  • Hikaru9allo says:

    I am Blood Type A , I am a May 20th Taurus & I’m a Tiger ^^ :’3

    Nyaa~

  • BenyGh says:

    This is a TOTAL BaseLESS LIE… LOL…and more LOL…
    😉

  • Sean Harris says:

    ‘because Japan is ethnically and culturally homogenous’ – that is untrue.

  • Ondřej O. Louka says:

    I am also AB and my sister as well. Its not that bad, it is supposed to be a blood type od Jesus and many spiritual leaders

  • I never knew my blood type before coming to Japan. I soon had to find out after almost everyone I met asked me “What’s your blood type?”. I’m a typical (A型) 🙂

  • Yoovraj Shinde says:

    Yeah true. But truly speaking even if I try not to believe it , sometimes the correlation is so high that you get the feeling that it could be true.

    • Blake says:

      I can feel a certain way about what is true, but my feelings do not make something true. It is a funny thing how we can totally ignore the times when it does not fit, but pay most attention to and remember when it does coincide with the belief. That is because we sometimes fall victim to Confirmation Bias.

  • Chandrakant Kulkarni says:

    ‘B+’ Blood Group : Majority of people belonging to this Blood Group have some skin problems, I observed.

  • Scott Beckingsale says:

    When will people relinquish irrational beliefs? This is nonsensical pseudo science on the same level as horoscopes.

  • Nico Hartono says:

    I believe that unconsciously our characteristic has influenced by horoscope/ chinese animal horoscope or blood type in japanese case…so when we grew up we found that the horoscope or the blood type prediction to be a match and accept it as part of our characteristic…can we break this phenomena? I guess you can..don’t let your child to hear/believe any of those believe but then how can you prevent that from otherrs (parents/in law/friends)..I guess when we live in a society..we have to accept certain value in each soceity and just enjoy it’s uniqueness but don’t let it be an obstacle to your life.. cheers…

  • Nakata-san, love your articles and this one in particular surprise me with this idea about how Japanese people think about their bood type and from others. Thank you very much to bring more about your amazing culture and I now I know more about my Warrior personality.

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