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Blood Test Your Personality

I'll admit it. One of the first things I read when I get my monthly magazine subscriptions is the horoscope in the back. No, I don't really hold stock in what it says will happen to me -- which usually is something vague and flighty that probably happens every month without me really paying attention -- but I do like thinking about overall astrological personality trends and who is compatible with who, and reverting back to middle school cootie-catcher predictions. In some countries, especially in South Asia, horoscopes are taken very seriously and important days like weddings are planned around auspicious astrological dates. (It's a huge regret of mine that I didn't get my professor in India, who as an astrologer, to do my star profile. Guess I'll just have to go back for that one!)

Say you're in Japan, though. When you open your ladies mag instead of the traditional horoscope you might find predictions based on your blood type. While reading the Mental Floss blog the other day, I came across this interesting tidbit: in Japanese culture, your blood type is often believed to have an impact on your personality traits and even your future. If I even knew my blood type, I would check the chart below to see if it's accurate.

Wikipedia has some cool background on this trend. Apparently, it all started in a pretty dark place with the questionable science popular with early nineteenth century racists including one Adolf Hitler. The Japanese used studies of Taiwanese rebels in the 1930s to determine that certain blood types common to different ethnic groups caused anti-social behavior.

Nowadays, the study has become less of a racist tool and more of a cultural conversation piece. Celebrities list their blood types in magazine articles, matchmakers ask for the data to match couples, even politicians use it to explain away their mistakes. Back in May, Ryu Matsumoto was newly appointed- and quickly ousted - as Reconstruction Minister after the tsunami. He was canned after making disparaging remarks towards a colleague - an act he blamed on his blood type: "My blood's type B, which means I can be irritable and impetuous, and my intentions don't always come across." You can read the whole article at Reuters. Wish I could use that one sometimes, sheesh.

Anyways, I don't really think blood type is any more or less ridiculous than horoscopes or reading tea leaves or whatever else. I think everyone likes to believe they can predict or see the future (and it's also nice to have something to blame bad habits on.) So.... food for thought.

Any readers from Japan (ahem, Gena) have any insights on this trend? Any horoscope readers out there? Fellow Sagitarians... I hear we are due to have a very fruitful month!

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