Bura-Hara: Blood Type Harrassment or Discrimination
February 4th 2009 15:02
Perhaps if you're a stranger to Japanese culture - and you're dumped into everyday Japanese life all of a sudden - you'll realise one thing: the question "What blood type are you?" pops up a lot. It's almost as typical as "So, what nationality background are you?" in Western culture.
It's like a cultural frenzy where people seem to need to know your blood type. So much so that you often see "Blood type" under anime character and celebrity profiles. Even Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso (and other politicians) feels the necessity to state his blood type on his website. The fact that four out of Japan's 2008 Top 10 Selling books were related to the topic is perhaps another indication of Japan's blood type obsession.
It appears as though the Japanese believe that a person's blood type determines their personal traits/character. To read more about that, click here.
While it seems like a bit of harmless fun (like when we read our zodiac horoscopes), it seems as though some people are taking it too far.
Japan has recently coined the term "Bura-Hara" (Blood Type Harrassment). It appears as though people are using Blood Types for serious matters. Matchmaking services in Japan are known to "match-up" people according to "Blood-type" compatibilities. Meanwhile, there are employers who are said to be discriminating against prospective candidates when they ask the question: "What is your blood type?" Read the AP news report here.
I find it intriguing that in a society that encourages homogeneity, they still find ways (no matter how obscure) to discriminate / differentiate. However, on the flip-side, this could also be an indication of how the Japanese "love" to feel like they belong to a certain group - that they bear some similarities down to the blood level.
Whether or not "Bura-Hara" will truly bear any real harm to people is uncertain. Perhaps it's because as an outsider, I see this as quite comical. However to a native Japanese person, it could be something very real and serious.
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