MBTI & Japan

In recent days, I’ve become a personality junkie of sorts. What started out as just a curious visit to 16personalities.com, after having seen a friend on FaceBook share their personality results share their results to the world there, eventually led me to discover my own personality type.

Or, might I say rediscover.

I clearly remember taking this test in high school and maybe once again during a former job interview, but never did I really take it seriously—let alone care for these sorts of tests. The appeal just wasn’t there at the time and nor was I in any kind of self-discovery phase.

Fast-forward to today and now I’m like the complete opposite. Obsessed, even? I’m highly enthusiastic about getting to know oneself, including others, on a deeper level. I don’t know what clicked, but maybe my role as a teacher may have played some part in influencing this newfound interest in personality.

As a teacher, one of the basic responsibilities we have is to connect with students effectively, otherwise they’ll just get lost and not learn anything.

I believe an effective teacher is one who strives to better their techniques and methods of teaching in order to continually connect with their students. While being engaging, enthusiastic, patient, and supportive, a teacher should also be mindful of what inspires their students to learn. This is something I believe that can only be obtained by getting to know how your students learn, what interests them, and then to make adjustments accordingly.

And so what once led me to the discovery of my personality type, led to the planning of a self-development lesson plan using the MBTI test for my high school seniors, which then led to surveying over half of my entire high school’s students.

Here, I would simply like to just share my results.


Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

Age Demographic: 15yr – 18yr

173/297 (58%) Nearly sixty percent of our HS students.

7 of 12 classes took the test.

Students comprised of the entire Freshman and Sophomore classes, and only one class from the Seniors.

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Explorers (42%), Sentinels (29%), Diplomats (20%), Analysts (7%)

One of my first observations about these results were to see how similar and consistent they were when compared to the research done by the folks at 16personalities.

And boy, were they similar!

Looking at the country profile of Japan, with a sample size of 143,389, the Roles ratios were nearly identical. Explorers being the majority, Sentinels being the next largest of the group, Diplomats in third, and finally Analysts being the smallest group.

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Explorers (50%), Sentinels (33%), Diplomats (12%), Analysts (6%)

Analysts (Intuitive and Thinking [ _NT_ ] types, both Assertive and Turbulent variants) 分析家(直感的論理型[ _NT_ ]、自己主張型または慎重型の変種あり)

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x2 – INTJ – Architect

x6 – INTP – Logician

x2 – ENTJ – Commander

x3 – ENTP – Debater

These personality types embrace rationality and impartiality, excelling in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields. They are fiercely independent, open-minded, strong-willed and imaginative, approaching many things from a utilitarian perspective and being far more interested in what works than what satisfies everybody. These traits make Analysts excellent strategic thinkers, but also cause difficulties when it comes to social or romantic pursuits.

合理的で公平な思考の持ち主で、知的討論や科学、技術の分野に長けています。自立心が非常に強く、広い心と強い意志を持ち、想像力が豊かです。実用的な視点から物事を見ていて、皆を満足させるものよりも機能的なものにはるかに興味があります。戦略的思考に非常に長けている反面、人付き合いや恋愛においては、この気質が障害にもなります。

The way Japanese people approach work is definitely through a team effort. With team-based work, cooperation becomes paramount. This is not a trait of an Analyst, which explains why there are so few of them in Japan.

Diplomats (Intuitive and Feeling [ _NF_ ] types, both Assertive and Turbulent variants) 外交官(直感的道理型[ _NF_ ]、自己主張型または慎重型の変種あり)

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x6 – INFJ – Advocate

x19 – INFP – Mediator

x0 – ENFJ – Protagonist

x11 – ENFP – Campaigner

Diplomats focus on empathy and cooperation, shining in diplomacy and counseling. People belonging to this type group are cooperative and imaginative, often playing the role of harmonizers in their workplace or social circles. These traits make Diplomats warm, empathic and influential individuals, but also cause issues when there is a need to rely exclusively on cold rationality or make difficult decisions.

共感と協力を重んじ、交渉やカウンセリングの分野で力を発揮します。協調性があり想像力が豊かで、職場や社交の場において調整役になることが多いです。暖かい心の持ち主で、他人の気持ちを理解し、周囲に影響を与える反面、一切感情を介さずに合理的に物事を運ばなければならない場合や困難な意思決定を迫られた際に、この気質が障害にもなります。

Diplomats are an interesting group in regards to the percentage of them that exist in Japan. They’re sort of that middle group that takes traits from all sides. While embracing traditional values, they are also very much open to new approaches.

Sentinels (Observant and Judging [ _S_J ] types, both Assertive and Turbulent variants) 番人(現実的計画型[ _S_J ]、自己主張型または慎重型の変種あり)

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x9 – ISTJ – Logistician

x18 – ISFJ – Defender

x2 – ESTJ – Executive

x23 – ESFJ – Consul

Sentinels are cooperative and highly practical, embracing and creating order, security and stability wherever they go. People belonging to one of these types tend to be hard working, meticulous and traditional, and excel in logistical or administrative fields, especially those that rely on clear hierarchies and rules. These personality types stick to their plans and do not shy away from difficult tasks – however, they can also be very inflexible and reluctant to accept different points of view.

協調性があり、非常に現実的な思考の持ち主で、どんな場面でも秩序、安全、安定を重んじ築き上げます。勤勉で几帳面かつ保守的な人柄で、物流や管理の分野に長けていて、特に明確な階級や規則がある環境の中で力を発揮します。計画を忠実に実行し、困難な課題にも果敢に挑みますが、かなり柔軟性に欠けていて、異なる考え方をなかなか受け入れられない一面もあります。

Order. Security. Stability. There’s no better example that I could think of that represents these values than Japanese corporate culture.

In Japan, the dominant norm of corporate culture values low risk, step-by-step improvement, and predictability. —Kevin ReadyJapan’s Emerging Culture Of Innovation

The Japanese salaryman is the symbol of the working man in Japan.

Explorers (Observant and Prospecting [ _S_P ] types, both Assertive and Turbulent variants) 探検家(現実的調査型[ _S_P ]、自己主張型または慎重型の変種あり)

x8 – ISTP – Virtuoso

x26 – ISFP – Adventurer

x8 – ESTP – Entrepreneur

x30 – ESFP – Entertainer

These types are the most spontaneous of all and they also share the ability to connect with their surroundings in a way that is beyond reach of other types. Explorers are utilitarian and practical, shining in situations that require quick reaction and ability to think on your feet. They are masters of tools and techniques, using them in many different ways – ranging from mastering physical tools to convincing other people. Unsurprisingly, these personality types are irreplaceable in crises, crafts and sales – however, their traits can also push them towards undertaking risky endeavors or focusing solely on sensual pleasures.

あらゆる性格タイプの中で最も自発的で、他の性格タイプの人では成し得ない方法で、能力を共有して周囲と関わり合います。実用的で現実的な思考の持ち主で、即座に反応したり即決しなければならない状況の中で力を発揮します。道具や術を知り尽くしていて、物質的な道具の使用から他人を説得する際に至るまで、様々な場面で持ち前の技を発揮します。危機的な状況や専門技術、販売の分野でかけがえのない存在となるのは言うまでもありませんが、危険をはらんだ物事に没頭したり、快楽のみを重んじる一面もあります。

If you look at the culture and history of Japan, you can start to see why the majority of its people are Explorers—practical being the keyword here.

Capsule hotels, public transportation, IC cards, vending machines, convenience stores—these are just some of the things that come to mind…

The Japanese have also demonstrated masterful craftsmanship in almost everything they do, ranging from its exquisite cuisine (UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage status) to its even its traditional architectural design.

There is no doubt that the list can go on and on.

Anyways, what we are seeing here are the results and characteristics of an Explorer society and culture, in both older generations and new.

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