Today I learned…

Instead of monthly astrological signs, the most popular personality indication in Japan is based on your blood type! Starting around when blood types were first discovered at the turn of the century, blood types grew in popularity as a predictor of personality. Blood type has been used from everything to dividing the workforce to finding a life partner.

japanese_bloodtype

From donating a few years ago, I remember that my blood is B+ (which I like to think of as a reminder to ‘be positive’ har har I have a dad sense of humor) so I decided to check a few websites and do a little soul searching. From issendai.com:

“B’s are free wheeling and unconventional.” (in Japan? Yes I am.)
“Less cooperative and follow their own ideas” (I thought that was only child syndrome, you mean I can blame my blood on that??)
“People with blood type B are the most practical of the blood groups.” (I’m offended already)
“When they are doing something, all of their attention is focused on it.”(Yeah, like this blog I tried to start once or seven times.)
“They tend to stick to a goal and follow it through to the end, even if it seems impossible.” (LOL)
They are individualists. B type people pay attention to their thoughts a little more than their feelings, and therefore can sometimes seem cold and serious. (I get the sense that this isn’t true, so much as I want it to be true)

“In anime, the genki, off-the-wall types are type B, along with any kind of well-intended character who’s ruled by their impulses.”

from Japan Today:

—Happy-go-lucky and masters of breaking rules
 I don’t wanna brag, but…

31078_1293515663466_2595510_n
I saw the ‘Do Not Enter’ sign, I’m just illiterate in multiple languages

—Optimistic (this is why I have 3 Apocalypse scenario plans on the back burner)
—Friendly and open their heart to anybody (after two half a beer)
—Not pretentious (no comment)
—Afraid of being alone um yes. I live by two graveyards…)
—Get lonely easily ( As I am writing this, I have 4 chat windows open on 2 different apps)
—Quick to adapt
—Flexible thinkers
—Pragmatists
—Like to play
—Love festivals and parties
—Don’t get heart-broken over lost love (I’d like to take a moment to formally apologize to anyone who has gone to karaoke with me within 6 months of me going through a breakup)

I asked a colleague more about it and it sounds very similar to horoscopes in the U.S.- extremely popular, but mostly a bit of fun, and maybe a little disdained if you pay too much attention to it. One explanation offered for the popularity is that in a homogenous country like Japan, with a very homogenous make up, small differences can give a sense of identity.

As usual, looking at something and finding it odd is often the first step to seeing what is odd in your own life. The same colleague asked me what the American equivalent was.

“See, in the US, we don’t believe that your bloodtype has any expression over your personality- it’s actually defined by the stars that were visible in the sky! Not the ones there now, though- the ones that were in the sky when you are born….” A moment of frustration where she tried to retranslate what I said, and then realized that it wasn’t a translation error, that’s just actually the whole explanation. Most people know what their signs are, and most of us know at least one person who takes it pretty seriously.

At first glance, it seems odd that there are so many product tie-ins for blood type personalities in Japan: everything from soda to condoms can be catered to your blood type. I suppose that isn’t much different from most women’s magazines in the US having a zodiac page in the back of the issue.

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