Journal of Psychological Type® (JPT) > Vol 82, 2022

Applying MBTI to analyzing shōnen manga characters: A case study of My Hero Academia (thesis)

Suvanto, M. (2021). Applying MBTI to analyzing shōnen manga characters: A case study of My Hero Academia (thesis). Dalarna University, Falun.

Pop culture is expansive and varied with many diverse fans, including Myers-Briggs® personality types. These fandoms often form fictional character MBTI® personality type charts—from Star Trek to SpongeBob to Succession. Although not "official" nor endorsed by the Myers & Briggs Foundation and Myers-Briggs Company, where ethical practices involve interactive feedback to verify a best-fit type, people enjoy assigning personality types to fictional or dead people.

There are many difficulties involved with applying type concepts to fictional characters, the primary factor being that they cannot take the MBTI assessment. Publication is not an endorsement of the accuracy of results, since a quick Google search will reveal alternate takes on all the characters presented here. However, Suvanto has created a rigorous analysis that formalizes a method and acknowledges the limitations in such an exercise which is almost never seen with fan charts.

The author goes into detail about the analysis of manga characters specifically, from the impact of the three different Japanese alphabets to the study of anime faces. The subject of this study is My Hero Academia, a recent superhero shōnen manga. The manga was immensely popular in Japan, spawning an anime series. (Manga is the word for Japanese comic books, while animation is referred to as anime.) The author uses the printed manga as their primary source allowing a much closer analysis of the characters' actions, speech content, role language, and the scripture used in their speech and thoughts. Suvanto employs two methodologies developed by previous theorists to answer an MBTI questionnaire for the characters, adjusting for Japanese language as appropriate, and for determining personality type based upon drawn facial features.

As a result, five main characters are given personality types. Suvanto notes the difficulty in differentiating Intuition and Sensing in particular. Analyzing fictional characters through the lens of Myers-Briggs type theory is challenging, according to the author, since type preference decisions are based upon a great deal of information but with no verification from the character. However, this article is one of the first to develop a more rigorous methodology to do so, which highlights an alternate way in which personality type expresses itself.



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The Journal of Psychological Type® - Research Digest (JPT-RD) is made available through the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc., CAPT, worldwide publisher. The editorial team includes Kesstan Blandin, PhD, Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD, Logan Abbitt, MLIS, and Purnima Sims.

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CAPT is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to educate the public about psychological type—including its ethical, meaningful, and practical applications—and to conduct research on psychological type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument. The JPT-RD, published annually, is one of a suite of CAPT publications that highlight research and ideas in the field of psychological type, the MBTI instrument, and Jungian thought. ©2023 Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc., publisher. Contact the JPT-RD Editorial Team at