Does Blood Make You an Athlete? New Research from Japan Attempts to Link Blood Type to Careers
Blood type can mean a lot in Japan, a fact that might be obvious to fans of Japanese media and pop culture. Not only are most people in Japan familiar with their own ABO type, it’s also common belief that blood type inevitably determines personality, strengths, and weaknesses, for all of us.
Somewhat similar to the “Type A” and “Type B” personality types occasionally mentioned in the English-speaking world, Japan’s blood-type-based personality categories tend to paint people in broad strokes. Blood type A, they say, makes you methodical and high strung, while people with type B blood are supposed be a bit egocentric, always taking things at their own pace. Type O, on the other hand, is easygoing and a little careless, while the mix of AB, they say, results in a person whose personality is split or hard to understand. Sometimes, the analysis goes much farther, like the chart above, assigning a suite of personality traits to people based entirely on the antigens found on their blood cells. And sometimes, the types are used similar to zodiac signs, to look deeper into people’s minds and predict their destinies.
The discovery of blood types at the turn of the century was entirely scientific, so perhaps it’s no surprise that researchers in Japan have long been inspired to see just how true the country’s pseudo-scientific connections between blood type and personality really are. For decades, researchers have been surveying the general public to find self-assessed personality traits and eventual careers for each of the ABO types, consolidating all kinds of data. And this year, Masayuki Kanazawa published a new article in the International Journal of Social Science Studies, analyzing years of data and attempting to link blood types with the potential for individuals to excel as either politicians or professional athletes.
When it comes to results, Kanazawa’s biggest conclusion is that there really does seem to be a statistically significant link between blood type and a career in politics or sports. Since World War II, many more of Japan’s prime ministers have had type O blood than any other type. Education ministers, on the other hand, have leaned much more towards type A blood.
The frequency of type O blood in the data for professional athletes was also noticeable, leading Kanazawa to conclude that not only did type O seem to be the “most political” of the types, but it also might lead people to fruitful athletic careers.
Similar studies have linked different blood types to success in different kinds of sports. According to analysis done on Japanese athletes’ data, type O tends to lead to athletes who are good at ball games, whereas the somewhat more self-absorbed traits associated with type B might promote success at solo sports.
Of course, there are still plenty of detractors when it comes to the theory of blood type affecting personality and career potential. Why should antigens in the blood really shape humans at their core? It’s a reasonable question to ask, and a reasonable question to pursue through research! Whether the statistical anomalies that link type O blood to political careers and talented athletes are really a sign of a scientific connection, or just a total coincidence, it’s certainly interesting to see the research being done to find out.