“When you take a break from your busy day of looking up Japanese blood types, you should do some research on Barnum statements.” A lesbian informs me via GChat on Tuesday.

“I can’t help it if you are an independent thinker and like to research claims on your own.” I retort, already familiar with the sort of vague nonsense that applies to everyone and is frequently called a horoscope.

“Exactly.”

“It’s not pseudoscience if it comes from Asia, Fleece Vests.”

“I think it is.”

“But most of Japan believes this,” I pause, “and I might point out to you that any Japanese third grader could beat us at a mathematics problem even if we were working together.”

“So?”

“It means there is a level of sophistication to this science that you don’t find with astrological symbols and tarot cards.”

“No, that’s not what it means.”

“As a person with AB type blood, it makes sense that you are being so critical. Did I tell you that people with O blood are widely revered in Japan and thought to have warrior spirits? Were you aware that you were Gchatting in this very moment with a warrior spirit?”

“You’re an idiot.”

“Am I? Or am I agreeable, sociable and an optimist?”

I was reading Neil Strauss’s book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists Monday night when I read a script in the back entirely based on Japanese blood type. To backtrack a little bit, The Game is like The Rules for men, except that it’s less concerned with manipulating someone into marrying you and much more into manipulating someone into your bed. Basically, it’s a manifesto for socially awkward men that haven’t had just a ton of success talking to women about binary codes and the different levels of RAM available in certain laptops. The book is a series of self-help essays coupled with workshops and fairly interesting conversation topics, one of which was the Japanese obsession with blood types.

This “science” comes from a “scientist” named Masahiko Nomi in the seventies and posits that people’s personalities can be dictated by their blood type and consequently, should be educated, hired and married accordingly. It has parallels with astrology, except that people actually take it seriously- as in there are dating websites and television programs dedicated to this, the Japanese women’s olympic softball team was broken up and trained based on this and the prime minister listed his blood type on his webpage. And if that sounds like a somewhat dangerous level of social engineering, apparently the Japanese agree because they even have a term for harassing someone based on blood typing, and that term is called: “bura-hara.“

Nevertheless, Neil Strauss believes women will be more engaged in this conversation than they would be a thesis on the exponential growth of data in increasingly smaller hard drives- and if my productivity at work yesterday was any indication, I would posit that he is correct.

Here are some more interesting articles on it, including a NY Times article about professional Japanese baseball players (all O types thank you very much) that have come to play in the United States:

The Huffington Post/In Japan, Your Blood Type Says it All:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/01/in-japan-your-blood-type-_n_162917.html

BBC News/Dating by Blood Type: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8646236.stm

NY TIMES/Blood, Sweat and Type O: Japan’s Weird Science:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/14/sports/baseball/14blood.html.

2 Responses

  1. Megan Brocato

    The healthcare worker in me laughs at the fact that Type O, being the universal donor is sociable – the blood that can be donated to anyone.
    And Type AB is indecisive? As if it can’t decide whether it wants to be A or B? It has to be both. We’re obviously dealing with some serious science here, Jane!

    Reply

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