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The significance of blood type in the Japanese culture

In Japan, the question “What is your blood type?” is a very informational question of utmost importance that people use it to know about the person’s characteristics and traits. According to Japanese beliefs, blood type is like Astrology to the West. It says a lot about the person’s personality, behavior, temperament, and compatibility with others. It is widely believed that more than 90 percent of Japanese know their blood type, and are often surprised when a non-Japanese does not know his/her.

The characteristics of blood types are as follows. Type As are sensitive perfectionists but overanxious; Type Bs are cheerful but eccentric and selfish; Os are curious, generous but stubborn; and ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable.

The blood type culture can be found in just everything in Japan. In 2008, four of Japan’s top 10 best-seller books were about how blood type determines personality, according to Japan’s largest book distributor, Tohan Co. The Prime Minister Taro Aso seem to consider it important enough to reveal his blood type in his official profile on the Web. Video games such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil series list character blood types in both the manual and in-game bios. Matchmaking agencies provide blood-type compatibility tests, and some companies use blood type information in interview to screen out candidates. Children at some kindergartens are divided up by blood type, and the women’s softball team that won gold at the Beijing Olympics used the theory to customize each player’s training.

It doesn’t stop here. An industry has grown around this ideology, so that you can now buy blood type chewing gum, soft drinks, calendars and even blood type condoms! The condoms are all the same, but contain different instructions for each blood group on how to approach the sexual encounter!

The idea is not backed up by Science. It all started in 1931 in Japan when Furukawa Takeji (1891–1940) proposed that there was a link between blood type and personality after working in the administration department of a high school and observing the temperamental differences between applicants. He published a paper entitled “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” about his observations in the scholarly journal Psychological Research. The idea was scrapped years later and the craze faded as its unscientific basis became evident. It resurfaced in the 1970s, however, as Masahiko Nomi, an advocate with no medical background, gave the theory mass appeal. His son, Toshitaka, now promotes it through a private group, the Human Science ABO Center.

You can find more information about Blood Type Humanics at the Human Science ABO Center website.

A collection of blood type-related books

A collection of blood type-related books

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