Japan’s curious obsession with blood type and personality
In a number of East Asian countries, but perhaps most strongly in Japan, it is believed that one’s blood type, or “ketsuekigata” (血液型), determines a lot about one’s character and how we relate to others and the world around us.
Although comparatively few Westerners who have never donated blood or had the misfortune of being seriously ill know their blood type, it is rare to meet a Japanese person who does not know theirs, and it’s considered perfectly normal for people to try to guess someone’s blood type when first getting to know them or working together closely.
It’s easy for non-Japanese to forget the character traits that blood types supposedly denote, so here’s a brief rundown on the four “ketsuekigata” and the kind of person you’ll be forever labelled as from the second you tell someone yours.
A型/blood-type A: You’re serious, tremendously attentive to detail, and always neat and tidy (or “anally retentive” as the good Dr Freud might have put it). You’re also considered to be very kind and, if you happen to own a car, a careful driver.
B型/blood-type B: You’re kind of self-centered, strong-willed and buck trends and expectations. You’re often viewed as the rebel, but you’re also flexible in your thinking and very playful.
O型/blood-type O: You’re care-free and very easy-going. Sure, there are probably rules about what to do with your empty hamburger wrapper, but you’re not bothered either way. Whatever, man, it’s all cool. Oh, look, a squirrel.
AB型/blood-type AB: Hey, you creative weirdo, no one understands you and you’re under-appreciated. You’re artistic, prone to feeling hurt when criticised, and enjoy having time to yourself.
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