HEALTH AND BEAUTY ARCHIVE:
538: Pool party
Keep your cool this summer with a visit to one of Tokyos many pools.
Metropolis shows you where to take the plunge.
536: Don't sweat it
With the hot and humid months upon us, Cristy Burne share some tips on staying
534: Swept away
Put away your broomsticksall you really need to soar through the clouds
is an armful of nylon and a good gust. Cristy Burne checks out the air up there.
532: Tee time
Cant keep it on the fairway? The yips invaded your game?
Rob Smaal finds a few experienced golf pros who can work out your kinks on the
530: Balancing act
An ancient science is helping modern men and women find peace, health and
the always elusive balance. Tama M. Lung takes a closer look at
528: Kicking on
Former K-1 Japan champion Nicholas Pettas shares his love of martial arts
at the new Spirit Gym in Nogizaka. Chris Betros goes along to watch.
526: On call
A revolutionary daily disease self-management system is making life easier
for diabetics. Chris Betros finds out about Lifewatcher.
524: Team spirit
From rugby to roller hockey, Tokyo is teeming with sports clubs for the
expat athlete. Rob Smaal shows you how to get in the game.
522: Type casting
Second-generation blood-type expert Toshitaka Nomi looks at the links between
blood classifications and health. Mick Corliss reports.
520: Like a rock
Climbing instructor Luke Kearns gets a grip on Tokyo's best indoor climbing
516: The personal touch
Madonna and Matsui aren't the only ones who need help staying fit. Hanna
Kite pumps it up with the top personal trainers in Tokyo.
514: From here to maternity
Kavitha Rao turns to a handful of Tokyo experts to track down baby basics
for nervous expat mothers-to-be.
502: Tour de Morton, part deux
Don Morton gets back on two wheels for a leisurely ride out toward Haneda
Second-generation blood-type expert
Toshitaka Nomi looks at the links between blood classifications
and health. Mick Corliss reports.
As any resident of Japan soon learns, blood
type means more than, well, blood type. Here it is a window
into personality, an indicator of behavioral tendencies and
a conversational lubricant all rolled into one. Skeptics shrug
it off as superstition, but proponents fully embrace the idea
that blood type can suggest amorous compatibility and human
But beyond izakaya chit-chat, one leading blood-type expert
is trying to decipher how a few simple letters-A, B, O and
AB-translate to health issues from constipation and cancer
to physical ability and longevity.
"The relationship between blood type and personality
or behavior has been discussed for a long time, but as it
relates to health and illness we really only have indirect
reports and limited data," explains Toshitaka Nomi, director
of the Blood Type Humanics Research and son of Masahiko Nomi,
who wrote the seminal book Ketsuekigata de Wakaru Aisho (Understanding
Compatibility from Blood Types). Nevertheless, Toshitaka has
carried on his father's work with a recent book that delves
into health, physical aptitude and blood type.
Today, the links between blood type and human constitution
are widely studied and followed-the most popular example being
the bestselling diet book Eat Right for Your Type by Peter
J. D'Adamo, said to be followed by celebrities such as Liz
Hurley. But it was Masahiko Nomi who was largely responsible
for jumpstarting popularity of blood type in Japan with the
publication of several books dealing with the topic in the
Japan is a particularly intriguing study ground for blood
types, with the population breaking down roughly into 30 percent
O, 40 percent A, 20 percent B and 10 percent AB, compared
to European and American populations that are 80-90 percent
O or A. Inspired by a blood-type chart shown to him by his
sister in high school, Masahiko spent 30 years observing people
and compiling data to prove his theory about the links between
blood type and human disposition.
His son's latest work, Ketsuekigata: Kokoro to Karada ni Kiku
Jiten (Blood Type: A Guide for the Body and Soul), was an
attempt to draw attention back to the family's so-called Blood
Type Humanics research field some 20 years after Masahiko's
and author Toshitaka Nomi discusses the relationship
between blood type and longevity, immunity and athletic
"My most recent book was an appeal to the government-the
Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry-to earn its understanding,
and to encourage cooperation in compiling data," Toshitaka
says, noting that without government help, there is no way
to tabulate data systematically or en masse.
Minus reams of government data, there are only reports from
medical practitioners, small surveys and a few studies to
go on, Toshitaka explains. But his preliminary research has
uncovered certain tendencies among the four blood types.
"In terms of all-around health, it would appear that
O types are superior," he says. There are certain enclaves
of longevity in Japan such as Shiramine Village in Ishikawa
Prefecture, where most villagers are O types, Toshitaka says,
adding that Okinawa-the prefecture billed to have the highest
average lifespan-also has the nation's second-highest percentage
of O-type residents at 33 percent.
The upbeat attitude associated with Os (who are also more
likely to be left-handed) could also be key to their long
life, he speculates: "Sometimes O types will really lose
it, but O types are good at switching mental gears and moving
on. They don't retain so much stress."
At the other end of the spectrum are A types. Typically viewed
as high-strung busybodies, they seem to have a penchant for
constipation and high blood pressure, Toshitaka contends.
Toshitaka also believes that blood type-related immunity issues
lead to cultural behaviors peculiar to nations or regions.
He speculates that this could explain why O type-dominant
societies, like the United States, have an affinity for the
tactile-think shaking hands and back-slapping-while a bow
may suffice in an A-dominated society like Japan, which he
alleges may have a collectively lower immunity.
Certain blood types might also excel against certain illness.
"For some reason B types seem to be less susceptible
to cancer, and even if they do get cancer, they do better
at fighting it," he says.
Studies have indicated there is an acquired "B blood
type" phenomenon in which O- or A-type cancer patients
experience a surge of B-type blood. Explains Toshitaka, "I
suspect that B-type blood is more resistant to cancer and
that as a living entity the body is just pulling out all of
the stops to survive."
|A mountain of blood type-related
books, including the latest Nomi release reveals the topic's
Toshitaka is also convinced that blood type can be a predictor
of physical ability. He points to data that indicates the
ten most successful power hitters in Japanese baseball history
have been nearly divided between O and B blood types. "Only
one of Japan's all-time Top 10 homerun hitters is an A blood
type, while nearly 40 percent of the Japanese populace is
A blood type."
But despair not. A types are considered more suited to the
long jump or the marathon. "A types have a perfectionist
bent, so they do better to think long-term and not to set
specific targets that could lead to disappointment,"
Toshitaka says, noting that such blood-type driven personality
characteristics could predispose some to succeed on certain
O types, for example, benefit from a specific target while
B types might want to inject their diet and fitness regimen
with some fun, such as dance or aerobic exercise, and logic-driven
ABs could benefit from a detailed diet and exercise schedule.
Some believe there might also be a correlation between blood
type and suicide or mental illness, but these themes are stymied
by a dearth of data and interest in more upbeat issues.
In any case, blood type as an indicator of many things is
deeply nestled in the Japanese psyche. But longtime Japan
watcher Mark Schilling warns against placing too much stock
in its claims: "If this O writer had listened to the
Nomis, he never would have married his type O wife and had
his two type O children. And, oh, what a loss that would have
Read more about Masahiko and Toshitaka
Nomi's work at www.abo-world.co.jp/english/
index.html and about blood type in Mark Schilling's book
The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture.
Photo credit: Mick Corliss
this article with metropolis readers at http://forum.japantoday.com