Bad Blood

Nov 10 2012 @ 2:14pm

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Ruth Evans reports on Japan's fascination with blood type:

Here, a person's blood type is popularly believed to determine temperament and personality. "What's your blood type?" is often a key question in everything from matchmaking to job applications. According to popular belief in Japan, type As are sensitive perfectionists and good team players, but over-anxious. Type Os are curious and generous but stubborn. ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable, and type Bs are cheerful but eccentric, individualistic and selfish.

The beliefs have trickled down throughout society so that the Japanese now have a term for its perjorative affects: bura-hara, or blood-type harassment:

The women's softball team that won gold for Japan at the Beijing Olympics is reported to have used blood type theories to customise training for each player. Some kindergartens have even adopted methods of teaching along blood group lines, and even major companies reportedly make decisions about assignments based on employees' blood types. … One former prime minister considered it important enough to reveal in his official profile that he's a type A, whilst his opposition rival was type B. Last year a minister, Ryu Matsumoto, was forced to resign after only a week in office, when a bad-tempered encounter with local officials was televised. In his resignation speech he blamed his failings on the fact that he was blood type B.

(Photo by Jason Milich)