Travel Info

In Western countries, some people believe the zodiac is accurate about people’s personalities, but it is to a relatively small extent as in the USA for instance, it only applies to about 30% of the population. In South Korea however, this type of personality-defining belief has played a great part in locals’ lives for centuries. There is not clear answer as to why that’s the case… Some think that may be because people seek individuality in a very collectivist society. It would then be a way to know yourself better in order to pursue appropriate life ambitions in a very competitive environment.

On the other hand, it may be a subconscious way to reinforce collectivism by putting people in boxes and using these boxes to facilitate relationships, whether they be professional, romantic, or friendly. Either way, trying to define your own personality can be extremely fun as long as you don’t let these things restrain the way you act with yourself and others! Let’s see the different ways South Koreans define their personalities… 

Blood types

One of the most popular personality-defining things for South Koreans is blood type. Since the 2000’s, it is popular belief here that being A, B, AB or O changes the way you act. This belief comes from Japan, where it was popularized in the 20th century. Even nowadays [1], more than half of the Korean population believes the blood type theory to be true to some extent. Here’s the main personality traits of each blood type according to Korean beliefs!

  • Type A: Introverted, reserved, creative, perfectionist, loyal, sensitive, considerate.  
  • Type B: Independant, passionate, shallow, flexible, individualistic, optimistic, impatient.
  • Type AB: Rational, shy, introverted, empathic, critical, indecisive, unpredictive.
  • Type O: Outgoing, energetic, friendly, confident, ambitious, arrogant, insensitive.

The zodiac

The South Korean zodiac is based off Chinese traditions. 12 signs exist, changing every lunar year. The signs are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. They’re associated with the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) which determine more precisely each person’s personality. The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac are initially legendary beings, sometimes described as guardians. According to the legend, the Chinese Jade Emperor invited animals to a participate in a race. He named each lunar year after the winners to honor them. 

Your personality according to the Korean zodiac:

  • Rat: clever and hardworking.
  • Ox: honest and patient.
  • Tiger: sensitive and courageous.
  • Rabbit: funny and artistic.
  • Dragon: adventurous and independent.
  • Snake: wise and ambitious.
  • Horse: cheerful and talented.
  • Sheep: compassionate and shy.
  • Monkey: social and inventive.
  • Rooster: brave and outspoken.
  • Dog: honest and friendly.
  • Pig: outgoing and loyal.


Have you ever heard of the Myers-Briggs MBTI test? Korea’s crazy about it! Invented in the 1940s and readapted before being recently brought into the internet for an easy access, the MBTI personality test claims to make a summary of your personality in four letters. These letters correspond to: Introversion or Extraversion, Sensing or Intuitive, Thinker or Feeler, and Judging and Perceiving. In South Korea, it is quite common for people to ask you about your MBTI when they first meet you. These letters are everywhere: people define themselves with them on social media, they’re used to elaborate personalized menus in some restaurants, they take up an important space in the Korean dating life.

To take the test…

Have fun but in the end, remember that you are your own, very unique person! See you next week!

[1] Poll by Gallup Korea, 2017: 58% of believers, 42% of  non-believers.

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