Japan Data

Japanese Genotype Survey Suggests People in Tōhoku Have a Higher Tolerance to Alcohol

Society Health

Japan’s strongest drinkers can be found in the north of the country, according to a recent genotype survey.

The biotechnology company Euglena analyzed the genomic data of more than 20,000 users of its genetic analysis service to calculate which prefectures had people with genotypes that caused them to be less affected by alcohol. At 68.9%, Aomori Prefecture boasted the greatest number of people who could handle their drink. Okinawa, Iwate, Akita, and Yamagata Prefectures followed closely behind.

The map shows an obvious divide. The darker red areas, indicating a greater number of people with genotypes giving a higher tolerance to alcohol, are mostly located north of Kantō, particularly in the Tōhoku region. In contrast, people in western Japan, and particularly the Kansai region, have a comparatively lower tolerance to alcohol.

The genotype ALDH2 (Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2), linked to the breakdown of alcohol in the body, can be classified into three types: “less likely to get hungover,” “easier to get hungover,” and “can’t drink alcohol at all.” For the purposes of this analysis, the estimated percentage of people who had the type that is “less likely to get hungover”, and therefore assumed to be relatively strong to alcohol, was used to calculate the prefectural distribution.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Tōhoku alcohol