Thursday, April 06, 2006


Blood Type

Here is one thing which irritates me.

You meet someone casually and you find that you have some sort of "spark." After a little bit, the other person asks, "What's your sign?" as though by revealing this information, you are going to answer all the questions they have about you and account for your instant chemistry. What a turn off.

I'm a Capricorn, which by all accounts is the least romantic sign. I used to have this friend who would say, "Hey! Don't worry! Capricorns achieve their peak late in life!" As though this is any kind of consolation for a present setback.

I find astrology ridiculous. I think in theory it is an interesting way to examine personality types, much as Tarot cards reveal storylines in a person's life. But I do not think that Astrology is science, or that it is rooted in anything factual. For God's sake, the gravitational pull of the doctor next to your body when you are born is stronger than some planet thousands of miles away.

Astrology is less of a big deal in Japan. Blood type, however, is very important. On this last trip to Japan, I kept hearing people say things like, "Yeah, well, he's such a type A." Or, "Well, that's because he's a type B." I was told that Japan is 40 percent type A, and 30 percent type O. The worst thing to be is type B.

There are four blood types, and each is supposed to correspond to a different personality. I actually don't know what my blood type is -- I think it's AB. When I asked Japanese friends what blood type I had, they said, "Oh, well, you obviously have some A in you, but you are a brighter character than we are, so you must have some B mixed in as well." As an outsider, this kind of thing is really amusing -- much in the way that it must be amusing for outsiders to Astrology to watch people get hot and bothered about earth signs and moon signs, etc.

However, blood type can be taken so seriously in Japan that it leads to discrimination, proof, in my book, that humans are dangerous when they take to believing bizarre things.

During World War II, the Japanese military used the notion to assign
soldiers to tasks most appropriate to their personalities.

So, there's your historical context. In popular culture, blood types are often seen as the motivations for tragic flaws.

The concept is so popular it was turned into a hit romantic comedy film last year in South Korea, "My Boyfriend is Type-B," about the turbulent times between a Type-A university student and her moody and destructive Type-B partner.

And here's this tidbit.

But a backlash has grown against blood-type characterization after reports of Type-B children bullied at school.

The Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization, an industry group, called on broadcasters to tone down their programming after complaints by parents and teachers.

"Categorizing people by their blood types -- about which individuals cannot do anything -- can lead to discrimination. Adults may laugh it off as entertainment. But it is not necessarily so among children," it said in a request to member broadcasters.

I used to think it was so odd that anime characters would be described right down to their blood type on things like character sketches and pencil boards and things.

Now I know why. Thanks!
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