Monday, December 14, 2009

Blood type.

Stop. Ask yourself "What blood type am I?". Chances are you're a foreigner in respect to Korea (seeing as how this is an English language blog written for the benefit of foreigners) and that you probably answered with "I don't know". More importantly, you might have thought "why should I care?" The short answer? You shouldn't. But don't be surprised if other people do.

Well I'm here to lay it on the line. It does matter. Kind of.

See, this whole idea behind looking at someone's blood type originates from a Japanese belief that blood type determines temperament, compatibility, and pretty much everything else that defines someone. Apparently your blood has been yakking it up. What does it say about you?
Korean Blood Type Personality
This sounds like fun! Let's compartmentalize the entire planet, shall we? Fall in line and take a look at one of four possible blood personalities that exist:
(for visuals, a chart can be found here)

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Type O - Enter the strong willed, athletic, self-confident power-mongering natural born leaders of society. These goal-orientated risk-takers are ambitious and full of desire. Not surprisingly, they can also come off as ruthless, insensitive, arrogant and bossy. Oh they sound like fun at parties /end sarcasm.
Type A - These conservative, patient, considerate people are a little hesitant to trust people but eventually follow social order and customs as they seem apparent. Being a natural introvert, these perfectionists punctually get the job done whilst not making waves or hurting anyone's feelings. Their reserved nature sometimes is misinterpreted as uptight, stubborn and obsessive. Cross these types of people only with a solid exit plan.
Type B - These peace loving, tree hugging, passionate, individualistic free spirits are not inhibited by normal social cues. These liberals don't like to be told what to do and thus prefer to optimistically think outside of the box. Unfortunately, their self-centered nature can make them seem a bit forgetful and irresponsible. In a social-ordered society like Korea, these people probably seem out in left field, if you know what I mean.
Type AB - These calm, cool, rational thinkers make excellent critics and analysts. They are adept at being in control of their emotions and functioning in harmony with other people. Their indecisiveness can give off an unforgiving, critical and disconnected vibe from time to time. They probably can empathize with you, but they also probably don't care.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

After reviewing, take a look at this commercial compilation staring everyone's favorite Korean hip hop group. Can you spot the character traits?

This pseudoscience is alive and well in Korea and has taken a new form: Phenotype discrimination. Oh yes. You have B? Seat's taken. Can't sit here.
Gump Seat's Taken Kindness Fail
Also, as you can imagine, Korea draws from a very different genetic pool than America. In America, it's almost equally common to have either O or A blood type. However, in Korea, like the rest of Asia, draws far more from the B blood type pool than any other. Strange considering the stigma attached to such a blood type. Especially B type men. So, we've either got a lot of rebel B types running around in secret in Korea or blood type doesn't matter. Ah... nature versus nurture... my old friend.

Hell, I don't even know my own blood type...hold up screw let me check. UPDATE: I'm type A. go figure.
Further reading? I like this paper because it's translated from Korean to English and it features some modern native beliefs about blood type. Also, this post deals more with the Korean advertising giants that use blood type to sell just about anything - even fruit. This article is based more on Japanese culture, but is still worth a good read on type compatibility in relationships (semi-NSFW). And to round things out, here's a super cute cartoon strip about blood types and how they affect kindergartners. Precious.

In conclusion, many of young Koreans laugh at the idea of using ABO blood type to determine a possible life partner. That being said, it sure might make a couple happy to know that they aren't in one of the"B" type relationships. *shudder* Take it as you would any other predictor - it's followed by some, ignored by some, and followed religiously by some. Where do you stand?