Beliving in astrology is quiet common in South Asia. Women often read magazines and newspapers to find out their horoscope and relationship forcast. But, in countries like Japan people believe that one’s personality and relationship compatibility is linked to their blood type.
Some people judge others according to astrology and signs of the zodiac. Others judge people on their blood type. This is a very common belief in Japanese, Korean and other East Asian countries.
Since the early 1900’s, people in these countries believe that ketsueki-gata (blood type) reflects a person’s personality and compatibility with others. “What is your blood type? This is usually the third question in a conversation with someone new, after what is your name? Where do you live?” said Chiyoko Iwate Sato, a Japanese student living in London.
Sato said many people even consider blood types before getting into a relationship or marriage. “My mother also asked my dad’s blood type before she married him. Obviously that was not the only reason for their marriage but asking blood groups is very common in Japan.”
Sahj Sabharwal, an Indian-national who lives in Japan said that blood type articles were very common in women’s magazines in Japan. She said: “It is more common amongst university and college students to know each other’s blood types and judge friends based on them. But you don’t hear about it amongst older people.”
Blood group is not only limited to people’s fantasies but has also plays a role in Japanese politics. After the major earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Ryu Matsumoto, Japan’s reconstruction minister, was forced to resign and blamed his actions on the popular superstition around blood type. “My blood’s type B, which means I can be irritable and impetuous, and my intentions don’t always come across,” Matsumoto said.
Robin E. Brenner, in his book Understanding Manga and Anime, says that people are often surprised when non-Japanese people do not know their blood groups. Talking about Japan’s creative industries Brenner said, in Japan most cartoonists and animation artists mention their character’s blood type. “Some video game characters also have known blood types. It is common for video game series to allow for blood type as an option in their creation modes.”
A South Korean movie called My Boyfriend is Type B is based on the same pseudo-scientific concept. The girl in the movie decides not to date a man because his blood type is B.
For most people, judging someone on their blood group might be unusual but it plays a serious role in Japan and Korea.
Posted by Prerna