Blood Types in East Asian Culture

There are many things that have always seemed natural to me, but very strange to others. Some would include my strong belief in horoscopes and astrology signs, tarot card readings, and the main topic of today’s article – blood types.

What do all of these superstitious topics have in common? They all have to do with your personality and your future.

Now when I talk about blood types, I mean blood types such as A, B, O, and AB. As the dictionary states “A blood type (also called a blood group) is a classification of blood-based on the presence and absence of antibodies and also based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs).” Surprisingly, there is another link that some people make when you mention blood types. This link between your blood type and your personality. You might be wondering, what in the world this has anything to do with our personalities and believe it or not, it does, especially in the East Asian cultures.

Many times when I’ve asked my friends about their blood types I had only gotten a few strange looks from them and an “of course I don’t know my blood type” response. Many had also been very confused, asking me if I wanted to take a blood donation from them. That’s when I realized that this must be something incredibly new and strange for people, who weren’t from East Asian countries.

So here I am, ready to explain some history and culture of the origin of blood types.

There are four blood types:

  •    Blood Type A – The Role-model

o    Positive Traits = earnest, reserved, sensible, patient, responsible and cautious

o    Negative Traits = fastidious, over-earnest, proud, stubborn, tense, mischievous, obsessive, and pessimistic

  •    Blood Type B – The Rebel

o    Positive Traits = passionate, active, creative, animal-loving, flexible, cheerful, friendly, and optimistic

o    Negative Traits = Irresponsible, forgetful, selfish, lazy, impatient, unreliable and “going own way”

  •    Blood Type AB – The Eccentric

o    Positive Traits = cool, controlled, rational, sociable, intelligent, and adaptable

o    Worst Traits = critical, indecisive, unforgiving, two-faced, aloof and “split personality”

  •    Blood Type O – The Optimist

o    Positive Traits = confident, self-determined, ambitious, strong-willed, intuitive, agreeable, competitive and athletic

o    Negative Traits = unpredictable, spiteful, self-centered, cold, aggressive, arrogant, envious and ruthless

Here’s even a compatibility chart: “Japanese Blood Types: and What They Say About Your Personality

The idea of your blood type reflecting your personality has been present for a long time, originally introduced by Aristotle. However, this idea was made famous through an article published by Rin Hirano and Tomita Yashima in 1926 called “Blood Type Biological Related” in the Army Medical Journal and through a paper published by Takeji Furukawa in 1927 called “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” in the scholarly journal Psychological Research.

Although these articles were not scientifically proven and lacking credentials, the public loved it and so this idea spread like wildfire all over Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. 

South Korea, for example, makes a huge deal out of your blood type. You get stereotyped according to your blood type, job interviewers ask for your blood type, there are numerous dating apps that match you up depending on your blood type, and there’s even a Romcom movie called “My Boyfriend is a Type B” focusing on the relationship between a type A girl who falls for a Type B-boy and needs to deal with his impulsive nature.

In addition to this, it’s important to remember that although blood types are all fun and games and it’s never good to go too far as to discriminating people based on their blood types. Blood type harassment, called “bura-hara” (blood harassment) , has been the cause of bullying of children in playgrounds and schools, loss of job opportunities, and ending of happy relationships.

So in short, blood types are basically the same as astrology, which definitely explains my obsession with them. Personally, I believe I can understand the hype. Blood runs through our whole body, it must have a playing factor in our personality somewhere?