Blood Type Korean Hierarchy

–Informant Info–

Nationality: American

Age: 23

Occupation: Student

Residence: New York City

Date of Performance/Collection: 4/28/2021

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Korean


MB is a mixed-race American and spent parts of his childhood in South Korea. There he got introduced to Korean culture and this is his recount of one belief that he remembers. MB – informant. SD – collector


MB (over facetime): In Korea, people are really into blood type. It’s sort of like how astrology is in the US. When people meet each other, they ask what their blood type is to size them up.

SD: Whoa, that’s fascinating. So is there a hierarchy to different blood types then? Like what do you infer from them?

MB: I think O is the best because that one can match with anyone. Like medically, O blood types can donate to everyone. 

SD: Interesting, I’ve never heard of that before

MB: Yea, it’s like a conversation starter over there. 


This story was truly shocking to me because, usually, I have some idea of what the informant is talking about, but I was not expecting this story. I think that astrology isn’t as big of a deal in the East as it is in the West, and so places like Korea have adopted new systems to size people. It is possible that people know their blood types from a young age (I know that to be true in India), and so it is information known by everyone. I don’t exactly know how the hierarchy was established, but it seems like medical reasoning can be behind it. I think this story signifies the need for most cultures to have a system that classifies people, so there can be group identity, but also ways to differentiate people.