Blood Types in Japanese culture: True or Sham Science?

For most of us, knowing our blood types is not an utmost priority. Unless there is an emergency, like a transfusion or hospitalization, that thoughts about blood exist. But in Japan, there is more to blood type than meets the eye.

Japanese take blood types very seriously to the point that they use it to determine a person’s personality. As a matter of fact, high school students mention their blood types as a way of introducing themselves in class and matchmaking agencies use blood-type compatibility tests to find your perfect partner. Blood types can even get you hired or fired from a job! Comic books and video game characters even have blood types. To prove their mania for this blood type hype, manufacturers even produce and market a wide variety of blood-type specific products such as blood-type towels and bath soaps, chewing gums, colas, and yes, even condoms.

"Blood Types in Japanese Culture"

Blood Types in Japanese Culture

This may sound absurd, but for Japanese, this thing is completely normal. As to how and why this has become important to them, let’s read more below:

Short History of Blood Type Hype
The study that blood types have something to do with one’s personality is non-statistical and unscientific. Yet interestingly, the Japanese make a big deal out of this.

In 1927, a Tokyo professor named Takeji Furukawa published a paper “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” in a journal Psychological Research. He observed the differences in temperament of the students who applied to his school and made conclusions that all humans could be divided into two personality types. According to him, people with blood type A were intellectual and mildly tempered while those with Type B were unintellectual and easily angered. Despite his study was unscientific and lacked the proper case studies with documented evidence, the public were quick to  believe Furukawa’s conclusions.

After Furukawa’s death in 1940, the interest in the theory faded as well. But in 1971, Masahiko Nomi, a journalist and lawyer without medical background, revived and expanded Furukawa’s theories in a best selling series of books “Understanding Compatibility from Blood Types”. His new theories associated some blood types to academic success and different types of crime. Nomi’s work was largely unreliable and uncontrolled, which consequently received negative criticisms from the Japanese psychological community. But even if the methodology of his conclusions was unclear, Nomi’s books remain popular among the Japanese public.

After Masahiko Nomi died, his son Toshitaka Nomi founded the Institute of Blood Type Humanics or “Ketsueki-gata Ningen-gaku Kenkyusho”. Since the Institute’s founding, people’s fascination and interest in “keksu eki gata” or blood type continued to grow. In fact, Masahiko and Toshitaka Nomi wrote more than 65 books and sold more than 6 million copies in Japan. Truly, the idea that blood type and personalities are related to each other was received well by the Japanese despite its illogical and unscientific bases. This is why blood types have been used to hire employees, dictate child-rearing strategies and even find partners!

What Your Blood Type Says About You!
Now that you know the history of blood types in Japanese culture, let’s have a peek at the characteristics that are attributed to each blood type. Check if your blood type matches your personality, too!

People with Type A blood group are believed to be kind, hospitable, hard working, earnest, creative, patient, responsible, sensible and reserved. They consider things carefully and can understand other people’s feelings easily. They do not express themselves just to avoid possible conflict and they are calm even when accidents happen. Moreover, Type A’s are artistic, shy, very serious, reliable and levelheaded. But sometimes they can be overearnest, tense, fastidious and stubborn.



Hunters are optimistic, passionate, strong, wild, active, friendly and flexible thinkers. They are not pretentious, they like to play, love festivals and parties, but they are afraid of being alone. Type B’s like to go their own way and are masters of breaking rules. Nonetheless, this blood group are the most practical of all and they are specialists in what they do. They stick to a goal and follow it through the end, even if it looks impossible. The bad traits of type B’s are selfish, unforgiving, irresponsible, and unpredictable.




Those who belong in the Type AB blood group are calm, rational, sensitive, sociable, adaptable, careful and efficient. They have strong spirituality, they chase ideals and dreams and they do not like interference from other people. Type AB’s are known to have “split personality” because they are considerate of other people’s feelings but are strict with themselves and those close to them. In addition, they are helpful, outgoing, confident and frank. But sometimes, these people can be indecisive, forgetful, critical and moody.



The warriors are realistic, ambitious, optimistic, outgoing, expressive, passionate and athletic. They are highly motivated, very cautious and romanticists. Type O’s are good at developing economic concepts and are devoted people, usually with a strong desire to monopolize. They are peaceful, carefree, big-hearted, benevolent and generous. On the other hand, they can be vain, jealous, arrogant, rude, greedy, clumsy and unreliable.


The Japanese belief in blood type personalities may be interesting, especially to those who haven’t heard of this yet. However, Satoru Kikuchi, a psychologist at Shinshu University argues that this belief is “sham science” and the idea encourages people to judge one another by their blood types. If you think that the characteristics under your blood group perfectly matches you, it could just be purely coincidental. The scientific community dismisses these beliefs and considers this as pseudoscience.

Unfortunately, this belief has already caused emotional damage to most Japanese. Since this creates stereotypes among people, “Bura-hara”or Blood type harassment has been blamed for several unwanted yet completely avoidable social and personal issues such as bullying, loss of job opportunities and ending of happy relationships.

Knowing your blood type is good, but once it comes to a point when a person’s destiny is determined by the type of his blood, this is where we have to examine ourselves. Our character and future are determined by our choices and circumstances, not by the blood type that we are born with.

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