At first glance, it may seem like Alberto Zaccheroni, the head coach of the Japan national football team, systematically screens his players’ blood types before letting them onto the team. After all, out of the total 23 players on the 2014 national team, only three of them have blood type B blood. That number was zero for the 2012 national team. So is this fact pure coincidence, or is there something larger at work here?

Actually, the answer may lie in Japan and other East Asian countries’ belief that blood type determines character traits. Still not convinced? Read on to learn why football players with type B blood may actually be at a disadvantage in the game.

If you’re not familiar with the common beliefs regarding the four different blood types, you can brush up on them in our previous article. Here’s what the general consensus has to say about people with type B blood:

“B型/blood-type B: You’re kind of self-centered, strong-willed and buck trends and expectations. You’re often viewed as the rebel, but you’re also flexible in your thinking and very playful.”

Here are some cute illustrations by popular artist Park Dong Seon to give you a visual as well:




While the connection between blood type and personality has never been scientifically proven per se, there are certainly people who are out to prove it. Take one Chieko Ichikawa, who is the Representative Director of the “Humanscience ABO Center Corporation.” She conducts research on the relationship between blood type and character traits in a field coined “blood-type anthropology” (血液型人間学). The apparent lack of type B players in Japan’s national team for the World Cup caught her eye. While research has shown the Japanese population in general to be 38% type A, 31% type O, 22% type B, and 9% type AB, the deviation of Samurai Blue from this pattern is striking. The makeup of the 23 players is 39% type A (9 players), 34% type O (8 players), and 13% each type B and type AB (3 players each).  

By the way, those three type B athletes on the team are…

▼Defender Masahiko Inoha (28 years old); plays for Jubilo Iwata (Shizuoka)


▼Midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama (28 years old); plays for Sanfrecce Hiroshima


▼Forward Yoichiro Kakitani (24 years old); plays for Cerezo Osaka


According to Ms. Ichikawa,

“The reason there are so few type B players on the national team is most likely because Coach Zaccheroni seeks to stress teamwork. Type B people often do things at their own pace, so they don’t fit very well into that mindset. In baseball, there are many opportunities for the athletes to make individual plays, but in football, cooperation is essential. Because of that, it is thought that the players with type B tendencies are only selected after careful screening.”

Ms. Ichikawa makes a fair point, but we also have some doubts regarding the validity of the research and whether Coach Zaccheroni is intentionally screening his players, especially since he grew up outside of Asia where the blood type beliefs do not apply. Regarding the three type B players who are on the team, she has this to say:

“B type athletes have strong tendencies on the big stage. It’s also a good thing that there is only one B type DF, MF, and FW respectively on the World Cup team. Type B people are also known for being strong-willed, so these three will add some sparks to the team. During actual play, Mr. Kakitani may even score a goal that determines the game!”

Whether the lack of type B players on the team is coincidental or not remains to be seen, but in the meantime we can watch the Samurai Blue in action as they compete in the World Cup. After a disappointing loss to Côte d’Ivoire in their first game, their second match will take place on Thursday, June 19 against Greece at 7 PM local time. Let’s see if any of the three type B players can make a deciding play this time around!

Source: Yahoo! News Japan
Images: Japan Football Association (JFA), JFA Samurai Blue 1, 2, 3
Blood type comics originally by Park Dong Seon; translated English versions by RealCrazyMan