Dating by blood type in Japan

Buerk, R. (2010). “Dating by blood type in Japan.” BBC News. Retrieved on 3 October, 2010:

People in most parts of the world do not think about their blood group much, unless they have an operation or an accident and need a transfusion. But in Japan, whether someone is A, B, O or AB is a topic of everyday conversation. There is a widespread belief that blood type determines personality, with implications for life, work and love.

Interest in blood type is widespread in Japan, particularly which combinations are best for romance.

Women’s magazines run scores of articles on the subject, which has also inspired best-selling self-help books.

There are employers who are discriminating against prospective candidates by asking about their blood type. A term for such behavior in Japan is burahara, which translates as blood group harassment.

The preoccupation with blood ultimately dates back to theories of eugenics during the inter-war years. Stripped of its racial overtones, the idea emerged again in the 1970s.

Now, blood typecasting is as common as horoscopes in the West, with the whiff of science—although dubious—giving it added credibility.

Scientists regularly debunk the blood group theory but it retains its hold—some believe because, in a largely homogenous society, it provides an easy framework to divide people up into easily recognizable groups.

Conceptual Design:

The main point of Conceptual Design—”what is it” question—deals with the use of culturally-specific beliefs in product design. If we find the “It” factor, then we can create a culturally-resonant product that would succeed in the market place.

Dating by blood type is based on a p-prim that personality is tied to the kind of blood that flows through your system. In other countries, there is the dating by astrology (p-prim is “the position of stars and planets at the time of birth influences mating”). Other cultures might have other, and equally strange, beliefs.

Interaction Design:

Interaction design deals with how the product does what the Conceptual design specifies.

When designing a culturally-resonant product we could use music popular in the given culture for TV commercials. We could associate product with popular sports and leading sport personalities. In each culture there are groups of population for which we could create a specific version of our product. In the article mentioned above the population is divided by blood type. We could help people identify themselves with one or more of such groups. In addition to reinforcing exiting cultural patterns of value we could create new ones.

Interface Design:

Interface design is about the look and feel of the product.

We could use local culture vocabulary (for naming products, for example) in the product design. Market the product using popular music. When designing a web page we could use culturally specific elements: like colors, images. For example in western countries when a task in checklist is completed it is marked with an “X”, but in Japan character × has opposite meaning “FALSE” (“TRUE” is marked by ○ character).