B is for Blood Type

Inevitably, it seems like all arguments come down to Twilight these days. It’s like the new Godwin’s Law. But whatever you think, you can’t deny that the series took great liberties with vampire lore.

Mind you, for those who crave the authentic bloodsucking menace, you could do worse than visit Japan. Not because Vlad the Impaler fled here after finding a mean substitute for blood in the form of ramen soup, because people here are very interested in blood type.

No kidding. If you encounter a group of curious japanese kids, the questions they will likely ask are: name, mother country, do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and what your blood type is.

But it’s not just kids, either. Blood Types of manga and anime characters are given pretty much the same time they are introduced. Magazines and daytime TV fixate on them as a viable gauge for matchmaking. It’s even known for it to be on application forms and to crop up in job interviews.

So why the fascination? It all stems from an old belief that Blood Type dictates personality, similar to how we view star signs.  Type A, and you are meant to be a creative, sensitive outsider.  Type Bs are more practical, goal-focused and disagreeable.   Type Os are outgoing, social and wayward.  And Type ABs are mysterious, hard-to-pin-down and something of loose cannons.

If, at some point during reading this post or after, you do your own scouting on this subject and find contradictions to the listed personalities I have just spooled above, then it should come as no surprise, because the whole thing is, like star signs, complete hokum.  There has never been a proven link between blood-type and personality.  But why does such a thing still hold sway in Japan, then?

Well, let’s be fair: not everyone in Japan really believes blood type is a personality litmus test.  Very few, in fact, just like how star signs are in the west.  And, just like star signs (which, incidentally, they have too), most people’s interest in them is only trivial and not serious.  I think it is safe to say that it, too, is about as visible as the whole horoscope business, too (remember that practically every tabloid newspaper prints a horoscope of some form daily), but it just seems more ubiquitous than it really is because it is so alien from western mythology and superstition.

Of course, when a curious Japanese native asks you for your blood type, you can always answer ‘X’.  That gets them EVERY TIME.


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