A Crash Course in Japan’s Blood Type Theory

What does your blood reveal about you?

By Lucy Dayman
November 14, 2019
Japanese Culture, Lifestyle

Most people in the western world probably won’t learn what their blood type is until it’s medically necessary. But in Japan, knowing whether you’re A, B, AB, or O blood type is more common than knowing your star sign. That’s because here, people have believed for a while now that there’s a lot more to read than your antigens.

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Many Japanese folks believe that personality, employability, temperament, and romantic and platonic compatibility can be determined by what blood type you have. Blood typing in Japan is such a massive deal that there are dating services based around connecting compatible blood types, drinks, gum, and even condoms crafted specifically for blood types. In fact, the next time a Japanese person asks you what your type is, all you need to do is respond with a single letter and that’ll be all the information they need.

For outsiders, it may sound a little offbeat, but is it really any different from believing constellations in the sky affect your personality? Besides, it’s a bit of fun. 

Type O: The optimistic leader

O blood types are considered generally optimistic (rakkanshugi in Japanese). They’re born leaders who are realistic and always willing to take charge and set the tone of a group. They like to look after people, especially those younger than them. 

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Strengths & weaknesses: Os make great leaders because they’re great at constructively communicating their feelings and opinions. Resilience and flexibility are also qualities many type O people share, which can make them easy to be around and great team players. Plus, they don’t sweat the small stuff. 

In terms of weaknesses, their lack of care for the ‘small things’ can cause others stress or anxiety. They may give less weight to actions that others feel are important, which can be read as rudeness or insensitivity. Another major weakness: they have a tendency to be late to events.

They’re born leaders who are realistic and always willing to take charge and set the tone of a group.

Romantic relationships: Type Os are hopeless romantics, approaching their relationships wholeheartedly. Though they are normally a take-charge personality type, when they’re in love, they enjoy being spoiled and getting a sense of being protected. Os match best with B folks, as the agreeableness and social ease of O types makes them perfect for cheeky B types.

Workplace habits and career paths: Thanks to their leadership qualities, willingness to help the team, and a mindset of looking out for the little guy, Os make great CEOs or politicians. They’re able to control their temperament well, which means they don’t blow up or crumble under stress or work pressures easily.

Type A: The kind organizer

This is the most common blood type in Japan, and if the cliches about Japanese folks are anything to go by (think the adorable Marie Kondo), it’s pretty on point. A types are said to be well-organized, neat, timid, mild-mannered, reliable, shy, polite, and conscientious. These qualities make them solid team players, but within reason, as type As have a tendency to get easily stressed out. 

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Strengths & weaknesses: If you ever need advice or someone to rely on, type A folks should be your go tos. Not only a cheap therapist but also a peacekeeper, A types rarely start arguments. They work hard, are fastidious, kind, make generous hosts, and —bonus!— make excellent drivers.

The qualities that make a type A great can, in another perspective, be seen as a weakness. Because they like to keep the peace, they’ll shy away from expressing opinions if they feel like it could lead to a controversy. And while the love for order that A types have makes them coordinators, if things don’t go their way, they have a propensity to get pretty frazzled.

This is the most common blood type in Japan, and if the cliches about Japanese folks are anything to go by, it’s pretty on point.

Romantic relationships: If you’re entering into a relationship with an A type, one tip is to take it slow. Given the fact that they rarely open up about their feelings, they can be pretty hard to read. They’re much more sensitive and easily hurt, so tread carefully. The best partner for a type A is a fellow type A, as the intensity of their personalities is mutually understood and they share a love of order and organization.

Workplace habits and career paths: A types are what the Japanese call majime, meaning serious or sober, which can be a positive quality in the workplace. They’re that person in the office who always works hard, stays on task, and gets the job done. They’re best suited for detail-oriented positions such as accountants, economists, or librarians.

Type B: The passionate rule-breaker 

Creative and passionate but undeniably selfish are the three most striking indicators of a B blood type. They’re curious and always want to learn new things, but at the same time, they don’t want to follow the rules. The polar opposite of A types, Bs are irresponsible and lose interest in things easily.

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Strengths & weaknesses: You want a type B person on your problem-solving team for their creative minds that can craft up solutions many others couldn’t even dream of. They’re active, outgoing, and adaptable, making them the life of any party. But remember, type Bs have a habit of breaking the rules so don’t let them get too wild. 

What points type Bs gain in the ‘fun’ department, they lose in unpredictability. While they have an innate curiosity, the moment something no longer seems attractive, they’re swift to forget about it and move on to something they deem to be better.

Creative and passionate but undeniably selfish.

Romantic relationships: Of all the blood types, Bs are the least likely to get heart-broken over lost love, which links back to their ability to let things go quickly. They have a “my-pace” mindset so they can be quite selfish, and as a result — at least in Japanese culture — they’re often seen as the most abrasive blood type. Bs are most compatible with other Bs who understand their way of thinking, or with O types who won’t be intimidated by them. An A-B relationship is a combo that’s a recipe for an entire season of Japanese comedies and dramas, but be warned, this pairing comes with plenty of challenges.

Workplace habits and career paths: Innovative, self-driven, and full of unique ideologies, type B blood types make excellent journalists, artists, musicians, and independent business owners. As coworkers and employees, however, they’re assumed to be selfish, easily distracted, and short-tempered so there is a bit of discrimination against them. In 2011, Japanese minister, Ryu Matsumoto, was forced to resign from his job after just a week because he blew up at fellow local officials. His reasoning for his actions: he told the public it was because he was blood type B (true story). 

Type AB: The peculiar dreamer

ABs are a combination of, yes, you guessed it — blood types A and B. They’re the blood type version of the zodiac Gemini; two rather distinct personalities mixed into one interesting package. These folks are hard to read, and many even say a bit odd — but that’s what gives them such a mysterious, cool vibe. Given that AB is the rarest blood type in Japan, it’s easy to dismiss them as eccentric or offbeat.

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Strengths & weaknesses: Trying to encapsulate AB qualities sounds like a list of contradictions. For every positive trait an AB has, there’s a negative one on the other spectrum — you could say they’re pretty balanced.

AB people are outgoing yet shy, confident but hesitant, spiritual but also logical. While they can be quite sensitive, this allows them to be empathetic. They’re rational but have a hunger for knowledge and new experiences, so they don’t allow their realism to get in the way of chasing their dreams. 

Given that AB is the rarest blood type in Japan, it’s easy to dismiss them as eccentric or offbeat.

Romantic relationships: If you’re a no-nonsense type of person, an AB could be for you as they’re said to be frank and clam about love relationships. They don’t like to feel suffocated. A coupling of ABs is rare, given the statistics of AB people in Japan, but if they’re on the same wavelength, they’ll be able to understand each others’ quirks better than anyone else.

Workplace habits and career paths: While A types are the most sought after employees, and Bs are seen as abrasive, ABs sit somewhere in the middle. Their ability to be levelheaded makes these mixed types excellent teachers, lawyers, and social workers.

Do you fit your blood type? Tell us in the comments below!

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