Blood type with doctor

The Essence of Knowing Your Blood Type in Japan

More often than not, we tend to give our blood type some thought only when medically necessary. Knowing your blood type is important for anything medically related. In Japan however, knowing whether you’re an A, B, AB or O is quite common as knowing your Zodiac sign. The Japanese believe that there’s a lot more to knowing your blood type than just for medical purposes.

Blood types

The importance of blood

People’s blood type is made up of the same basic parts with a lot of variety in the kinds of blood that exists. Eight different kinds of blood types exist and the kind each person has depends on the inherent genes from parents.

Most people have about four to six liters of blood that is made up of different kids of cells that float in a fluid known as plasma. Blood have specific and essential purposes for our survival:

  • Red blood cells supply oxygen to the different tissues in the body and eliminate carbon dioxide.
  • White blood cells fight and destroy attackers and fight off infections.
  • Platelets aid in helping the blood to clot.
  • Plasma is made up of salts and proteins.

What makes a person’s blood different from another is the unique combination of protein molecules known as antigens and antibodies. Antigens are present on the surface of your red blood cells while antibodies are in the plasma. Antibodies and antigens combined in the blood are the basis of a person’s blood type.

Young people using cellphones

Blood types and personalities

In Japan, it is a common consensus that your blood type determines your temperament, personality and compatibility with others, much like how horoscopes. This ideology began in 1931 when Furukawa Takeji (1891-1940), a professor at Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s School, published a paper “The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type” in the scholarly journal Psychological Research. The idea became widely accepted with the Japanese public.  The blood type personality theory is prevalent not only in Japan but in South Korea as well.

Blood typing is quite a big deal in Japan that there are dating services that base potential matches according to blood type. There are also merchandise such as gum and drinks made specifically for particular blood types. So when in Japan, and when asked what is your blood type, you’ll know it’s may not just be for medical reasons, but most likely, everything about you.