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In the same vein as the zodiac signs and Chinese animal years, the belief in blood types has flourished in modern Japan. Unlike the others however, the isolation of blood types into different personality types is relatively new. In 1916, a Japanese doctor wrote that blood type A people were mild-tempered and intellectual while type B people were the opposite and started an obsession with knowing one's blood group and also with knowing what kind of person that meant you were.

Even today in Japan, people ask each other their blood type, sometimes on the first meeting and find it difficult to understand that most foreigners are unaware of their own blood type. Most Japanese are type A while most Westerners are type O. Women's magazines generally give insights into which types match which and what personality they will be.

Type A- Blood Type A are calm, composed, level-headed and serious. They have a firm character, and are reliable and trustworthy (and hard headed). They think things over and make plans deliberately, and try to make themselves more like their own idea of what they should be. They tend to be hard on people who are not of the same type, and so are often surrounded with people of the same temperament.

Type B- People with Blood Type B are curious and interested although fickle with their interests, often enthusiastic one minute and onto something different the next. B Types tend to excel in things rather than just be average, but they can be so involved in something that they neglect other things. They have the image of being bright and cheerful, full of energy and enthusiasm, but some people think that they are really quite different on the inside. They don't really tend to want to have much real contact with others.

Type O- Blood Type O people are said to set the mood for a group and to take on the role of creating harmony among its members. Their image is of being peaceful, carefree and big-hearted, and they tend to spend money on others generously. O Types are generally "loved by all” but have a stubborn and strong-willed side. They are easily influenced by other people or by what they see on TV. They appear clear thinking and trustworthy, but often make big blunders without intending to.

Type AB- People with Blood Type AB are said to be considerate of other people's feelings and be careful when dealing with them. However, they are strict with themselves and those close to them so can seem to have a duel personality in some cases. They can become sentimental, and tend to think too deeply about things. AB Types have a lot of friends, but they also need time to be alone and think things through.

Into the future
While learning your personality type through your blood group has been around for some time, this grouping is also being applied in other areas such as diet and exercise. Type A people are recommended to be vegetarian and do yoga while Type O should eat red meat and work out! Whether this actually works or not, the current obsession in Japan with blood types is such that any publications mentioning them receive a healthy welcome. What about you? Do you know your blood type?