“True” Blood Or No? Figuring Out The Obsession With “Blood-types” In Japan

“True” Blood Or No? Figuring Out The Obsession With “Blood-types” In Japan

When we are trying to find out who we really are, we are likely to depend on “non-scientific” answers to explain about ourselves or the others. Somehow, besides horoscopes, Japanese people do that with “blood-types.” Have you come across with the question, “What’s your blood-type?” asked by a Japanese person? Please, don’t feel offended, because this is just our first step to get to know you better. Many of the people from other countries reacts strangely to this “blood-type” obsession, both as a culture, and as a scientific irrelevance.
Could we really judge who we really are with just “blood-types?” Is this just a stereotype or just playing? Let’s see.

Madoka Magica chacters portrayed according to different blood-types

Why “blood-types”?

The scientific classification of blood-types apparently started around the 1900s, when the European medical researches discovered about the different blood-types in human, and those were first classified as A, B, and C-type. This was taken to prove the superiority of some races over others in the West, but in 1927, medical researcher name, Takeji Furukawa adopted this Western research and presented his paper about the relation between the blood-type and personality. Besides it’s lack of scientific credibility, Japan’s military has adopted Furukawa’s work to train soldiers according to their specific blood-type.

Then in the 1970’s, Fukukawa’s work was reviewed and was referenced in the book by a journalist with no medical background, Masahiko Nomi. He has written about how there is a relation between personality and blood-type with using statistical data. In parallel to criticism of Nomi’s book from medical and psychological specialists, the influence of the book was spread widely in to television shows and magazines which applied “blood-type” to our everyday lives. This soon lead to “ketsueki-gata” business like love-matching to fortune-telling from the 1980s.

Now, the blood-type and personality relevancy is strongly believed in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, but still, this relevancy is scientifically unproven. There are many books that tells in detail about each blood-type identities, and the TV and magazine fortune-telling still popular, besides lack of it’s credentials.


There are many hypotheses of why Japanese people tend to believe strongly in “blood-types,” and overall, many of those theories relate with psychological aspect of “grouping” or “labeling.” It is easier to understand yourself or others by grouping or labeling in to a specific category, and besides horoscopes, the biological significance is more legitimately explained. But because of that specific label, it’s always a good self-introduction about yourself, because some of these aspects are true in someways. So besides listing up all the characteristics to describe who you are, you can just say, “I’m X-type, so I am this.”

**Main Criteria Of Each Blood-types**

These are the main characteristics of each blood-types.

A-type “Farmer” type (40% of Japanese population)
– The “nice” kind of person, who don’t like to take risks or break the rule
– Perfectionist, who likes to keep the peace between any kind of relationships
– Sensitive, but able to control emotion to keep calm

O-type “Warrior” type (30% of Japanese population)
– Sociable and friendly
– Passionate, but also likely to get bored easily
– Idealist, but also realist

B-type “Hunter” type (20% of Japanese population)
– Called as “my pace,” or individualist
– Always straight forward with their emotions or opinions
– Creative and running wild

AB-type “Humanist” type (10% of Japanese population)
– Mysterious, don’t know what they are actually thinking
– But often becomes critical
– Likes to have a distance their relationships

According to those characteristics of each blood-type, the Korean web-comic author, RealCrazyMan, have made it to a comic essay, which soon became popular. This was soon made in to short-animation series called, “Ketsuekigata-kun!” made by Assez Finaund Fabric. and feel.


“Ketsuekigata-kun!” is to observe the different personalities and actions that each of these blood-types would take in a certain situation. The popular voice actors are appointed to their own specific blood-type as well. This has became a popular series, that it already decided to air the third series from this fall by ZEXCS. Do you relate to your own blood-type character?

**Why Do We Like “Ketsuekigata” So Much?**

Most of the Japanese women’s magazines includes the horoscopes at the end of the magazine to tell the readers’ fortune of the month. Not that many women’s magazines feature that kind of monthly based fortune-telling for blood-types, but there are occasional “blood-type” special issue being published. One of the major female magazines, “an an” has regularly published special issues of blood-types, relating with the which side of the brain you tend to think with, or just figuring out for love-matching.

There are many books that are published just describing about the each blood-types as well. The “Jibun No Setsumeisho (Instructions To Myself)” series have been a long-hit, which have sold the total of six million copies for the blood-type series.

Jibun No Setsumeisho Series

Again, there is no scientific legitimacy of how blood-types have the relations with individual personality. In fact, many Japanese people do recognize that there is no relationship with our blood-type and our character, but people just enjoy it as play-on to feel more comfortable or relieved as knowing who we really are. Also because people tend to search for the answer of who we are, by reading these blood-type related articles or books, people tend to act the way that the blood-type supposed to be, which their part of their identity becomes. So, somehow, that labeling do influence the person’s character as well.

**Other Perspectives About “Ketsuekigata” Culture**

Although the blood-type distinction was discovered in the West, why is it so embodied in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan? Apparently, for the other parts of the world, don’t really mind about the blood-type, or don’t even really know about which blood-type they have in the first place. Because of that, many of the foreigners looks on very strangely, the culture of judging each individuals according to the blood-type and there has been many foreign reactions it as well. But, this blood-type obsession is somehow related with astrology and horoscopes in the Western countries, identifying what kind of a person you are with the alignment of the stars. So, it’s not just “blood-types,” that we tend to judge people unscientifically.

And recently, there are scientific findings about how the blood-types don’t just have four categories, or these four basic categories are just too generalized. Rather, medical scientists have found out that there about at least, 300 types of blood-type and further details are not similar blood-types to every people on the planet. And because of those generalized categories, it is now questioned to people how can you judge who those people actually are just by these four categories.

So, maybe as a start, how about knowing your blood-type? There are many voluntary blood donation spots in Tokyo run by Japanese Red Cross Society, where you can make generous contribution as well as know your “true blood.”

Thanks to advancement in science, we can now see that there is NO relevancy between blood-type and personality, but still, there are many Japanese people remaining to ask you, “Hey, what’s your blood-type?” and maybe see for yourself, how much that “blood-type” is embodied in Japan.

As a first step, how about take a look in to your “blood” to know yourself, just a little bit better?

Ketsuekigata-kun! Official Site
Ketsuekigata-kun! Official Twitter

Source: Tokyo Girls' Update
Source article written by Satsuki

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