Obama bowing in greetings to the Japanese emperor; was he and the US in any way reduced doing that? This has been said to be observed by the public twice with the Saudi Arabian royalty and recently the Japanese royalty by Obama. Why the fear in the air?
It is only fair for Obama to bow. He represents America and besides it being polite, he is the leader of a nation owing billions of dollars to Japan (and Saudi Arabai).
If the leader of Japan visited America, would you expect him to shake peoples hands? It would be odd to you if he didn't. It is about time that Americans realise that they are just a small corner of a big world. Would Japanese people start threads on forums saying "Why has *insert name* shaken hands with Obama, instead of bowing?".... this forum is just too predictably ignorant.
Really? My anchor question remains; did that reduce anything of him or the US. Watch it out Mr. President is acting wisely, you may not see it now until he(Obama) passionately wins the heart of these great royalties who were highly injured by the past president, even to the Americans. Yes, America is Great!
Seriously, I do not understand what you are talking about. I mean, I don't think you are getting answers because your question is confusing. Are you asking if he disgraced the US by bowing? Are you thinking he did it just to get in good with them? Is that your drift?
And what is with the America is Great! business? Is that sarcasm or are you leading a cheer?
I'm not trying to be nasty, I honestly don't get what you're after here.
Pls no sentiments attached my dear. I don't see any bad in his greetings, I got attracted when this news was tweeted some hours ago by a top respected American referring to a few famous news blog and Search Sites with the photos; many unbelievable comments and my concern against any odds was that he was never reduced nor sort for favor. "Wisdom is profitable to direct." Thank you.
Could be possible we're not all friends, either!
No offense. Just reminded me of a confrontation I had on an icy winter street in Billings, Montana, with a very large, hairy, and angry construction worker whose vehicle had been inadvertently blocked by mine when I stopped to pick my wife up from her job downtown.
"I'll have it (my car) out of your way in a minute, friend!" I called out to him as my wife and I crossed the street to said car.
"I ain't your friend!" He snarled. (Yes. Snarled.) "Got it?!"
"I got it." I responded quietly and, I'm sure he believed, submissively. About then, as my wife was getting in on her side, I opened my car door, and added just as quietly, "Do you?"
He spluttered and fumed at that but did not move one step from his pickup toward attacking. After all, I hadn't responded predictably or even ignorantly. Who knew what sort of weapon I might have hidden inside that car within easy reach. (NOTHING, as it happened, but he didn't know that.)
End of story.
I do have to agree, for sure, that we're not all ignorant. In my case, for example, I've been evaluated as 73 percent ignorant, 22 percent knowledgeable, and 5 percent TBD.
Flightkeeper, you can still be amazed. I love that. On the other hand, criticism of Obama doesn't make ME the least disagreeable, and I'm relatively friendly most of the time.
I think it's a bloody outrage!! The US beat the Japanese in a fight. They got nuked good. Therefore the Japanese guy should be bowing to Obama.
In fact he should not only have bowed to Obama, but also saluted him while kneeling and playing the stars and stripes on a harmonica. Damn it, his forehead should have been on the floor!!
Obama may be crap, but he is still the president of the U.S of A (if he is a citizen) and the U.S of A deserves respect. George W wouldn't have bowed. He would have ruffled the guys hair, slapped his wife on the ass and asked for a Jack Daniels. THAT'S diplomacy. Nobama san could learn a thing or two.
Actually, Bush bowed to the Japanese premier, then threw up on the prime ministers shoes
I am speechless on this one. I'd need a ten foot pole attached to the heavy weight champ
LOL that's more like it. Obama should have puked over the guy, wiped his mouth and said "phew, better out than in, now where's that gorgeous Mrs emperor? Hey sweetness . . ."
I didn't want to bring this up but I am glad you did. However this played out in some peoples eyes, maybe Obama was appologizing for the puking incident Bush made them suffer through.
It's no laughing matter! How can the US maintain its elevated position in the world if the President refuses to reinforce the national stereotype? Obama needs to be more arrogant. A US President without arrogance is like a gun without bullets. Unnatural!
Elevated position in what way? The US has been hammered worse than any other developed nation. The worst victims of American wrath are Americans. How exactly is the US in an elevated position? Get real.
The US GOVERNMENT is a disgrace. It has corrupted the nation and strangled the sense out of far too many citizens. Having a powerful army does NOT give you an elevated position.
What? You mean all those years of military posturing and unilateralism has given the U.S a poor image abroad? I don't believe it. That's just pinko, commy, liberal talk.
Guns and enough ammo to make em useful is what really counts. Forget bowing to foreign dignitaries. Obama should bomb Tokyo then drop a few on Beijing for good measure. And on the bottom of every bomb should be printed "Made in the U.S. of ****ing A, baby". The world couldn't fail to respect the U.S. government after that surely.
It's not a matter of fear, it's a matter of proper protocol and on both occasions Obama violated protocol in my opinion. His bow to the Saudi King was a symbol of weakness a statement of subservience of the USA to Saudi Arabia. His bow in Japan also was a symbol of apology a concession for some wrong doing. You must understand that the culture in these countries take such symbols very seriously.
Blues, I agree. When I was married my ex worked for Mikimoto Pearls, a Japanese company for 20 years. I'm a little familiar with their culture.. A slight bow of the head is viewed as respect, but not a complete bow from the waist, that is reserved for apologies. Heads of states are not to bow from the waist with each other, because that is viewed as submissive.
You would think someone in his administration would teach him about etiquette. You don't bow at the waiste unless you are apologizing. Guess this too will be another apology tour.
I just read your hub "why we are angry with Obama."
He was never trained in royalty but I percieve he got wisdom which is the principal thing. Bush brought the US this far bad. No sentiments. Like you pointed out "another apology tour.
apparently, in China, a man bowing at the waist (world leader no exception) is a sign of weakness.
it is the President's responsibility (and that of his handlers) to know such things. the first thing anyone does before visiting a foreign country is educate themselves about local cultural and poilitical etiquette.
I'M JUST ASKING QUESTIONS, THAT'S ALL!
I'M JUST WORRIED ABOUT MY SCHEWL!
Thank you! That is the ultimate sign of respect to a fellow Human...or so I thought.
I think a psycho-analysis of those who are constantly fault finding would be quite interesting. I've never seen anything quite like this before. I truly believe 24/7 news has been at the top of 'worst technology breakthroughs.' some people live on this stuff, it becomes their life. it's like constant poison permeating the world. no thanks. life is to be lived.
to each their own.
will, not referring to your post. I agree with you.
Couldn't have said it better myself
I completely agree. All those Bush bashers really stank up the room. They just wouldn't let up. It was constant--years on end. Everything that Bush did was wrong. Their bashing was only bested by their constant, seething hatred of the man.
What causes such contempt? Got me. They should be psychoanalyzed to determine the nature of their psychosis. Perhaps enough time has passed to do an adequate empirical study.
Bush was a very easy target seeing how he was an idiot.
Yes, it's his fault that he's vilified. Even after he's out of office, the perpetual hatred of the man goes unabated. Definitely some sort of hostility-transference is going on here among the government-hating Bush bashers. After all, people are not hated necessarily because they are idiots. No sir, there is some deep-seated, dark mental disorder that people are displaying in their Bush hatred. Definitely needs to be studied.
The sad truth is the news people are so pampered and lazy these days they dont go out and look for news anymore. They dont watch out for our interest like newspeople use too. Why else would they even discuss something so petty and ridiculous. Obama Bows to the Emperor: the Emperor shook the Presidents hand. How in the world is that a News Story. Our lazy arse news people need to get back on the job. Find out who holding up health care. Who is paying them, follow the money and all that.
I couldn't agree more! Who cares about real political issues (which are very tense between China Japan and the US right now), why oh why did he bow!!! Glenn Beck tell us what to do!!
Couldn't agree with this more. Why is diplomacy so offensive? Why are manners so offensive?
Because so many Americans grew up without it, and we all know how our country reacts to things we aren't used to...outrage and discontent.
This is NOT considered normal courtesy in Japan. There is an intricate system of bowing in Japan, which relates to the status of the individuals involved. By performing his deep obsequious bow, which was NOT returned, Obama declared himself of a much lower societal and political power level. He insulted himself and our country with the gesture, and the Emperor himself look shocked at his ignorance.
Yes, the more Obama travels the more foreign leaders will have that same look and the truth can't be hidden anymore. Obama is ignorant. He speaks nice words with his beloved teleprompter but away from it he's just a stuttering fool.
It's because of limited thinking, the American way is the only way. Some people need to do more traveling they'll find, there's so much to learn
hi everyone, I think it is ethical and you know what, when you are in other culture, you learn to just do the things they are also doing, whats wrong with respecting other people?
Obama is just trying to project and bring good American to the world, I may not be his fan in other policies he is up to but that I applaud him for doing that! COURTESY... and it is not a sign of weakness but respect....
You make a good point here. No politician will ever impress the public with every policy. A little courtesy does go a long way.
Well, I'm married to a Japanese and live in Japan. Bowing is just a form of greeting like the American handshake. My husband didn't seem to think there's anything wrong with it (I showed him the picture of the bow) except that he thought Obama overdid it. He didn't need to bow that low and the bowing while shaking hands is just awkward.
From what I understand, though, protocol dictates that US presidents do not bow to royalty or other heads of state. I imagine that is what many Americans are upset about?
Oh is he admitting now that he did bow to that sheik? It is against protocol. He's not japanese. It is another apology tour. I'm waiting to see him apologize for dropping the two big ones in ww2.
I guess we can see him become a rickshaw runner for the chinese premier since China owns so much of our debt.
Is that just a stereotypical statement or is it just plain ole' racist?
Take your pick rhamson, since you're the one offended.
I didn't think you could tell the difference so I guess it was just plain old ignorant.
There, there, I hope that outburst helped.
Obama is still a rickshaw runner for the Chinese premier!
Not an outburst, just an observation. However your inciting distortions do keep it lively in here.
Yes, what would we do without inciting distortions.
I am glad you deal with your shortcomings with laughter. Kind of helps deter from your ignorance.
I'm sure you'll continue to point out my shortcomings and ignorance. And I'll continue to be amused.
Thanks. You make it too easy and I am glad you are amused. You know what they say? Ignorance is bliss. Maybe this explains your happiness.
oh oh oh! Tantrum you said a mouthful there!
Perhaps, but I would rather be on this side of it then on the lack of it. Dangerous thing, especially racist ignorance wouldn't you agree?
I would agree, especially when you see it everywhere with everyone who doesn't agree with you.
That would be true if you had not made and tried to defend your self admitted racist statements. Good try but you made your bed and you may as well lay in it. You may have a hard time getting everyone else to agree with your racicist views as there was a time when that fueled a world war. You may also wish to understand that racism paints you with a brush that is hard to remove.
You prove my above point.
Obama will continue to be rickshaw runner for the chinese premier and soon he will be known as the Doormat in Chief.
Not too smart are you? Well having read your comments in the past I kind of knew where you stood anyway I just wanted to explore your statement to reassure myself that it is kind of hopeless to reason with your form of ignorance. For some odd reason you think you have got my goat with this. All you have done is exposed yourself for what you really are.......
And you have done the same.
and it's not looking good !
Now you're just being repetitive!
Of course, you can't help it since you see racism all around you.
Not really. As you paint others with your branding you fail to follow the conversation. Your reference to absolutes just further indicates your inability to distinguish people and their views. By claiming I see racism all around me you try to go outside this conversation and make an absolute statement to get the taint of your shortcoming off of you. No my friend I don't see everything as racist but I do see you as racist with your lame arguments to validate your point.
no. I don't agree.
I'm fed up with racism.We're all racist one way or another.
And ,what's wrong with that ???
Hypocrisy all over the world !
Could be, it sounds like you know a lot about trite sayings.
Well, at least he didn't kiss him or hold hands with him...
he does apologize a lot, but frankly i think he is trying to makeover the image of americans as arrogant, disrespectful people who do not understand the world outside of their television tubes. in that effort i give him an A for diplomacy, but keep in mind this is a president with little to no foreign affairs experience so this is all kind of new to him, expect mistakes, or run for office
Bowing in Japanese culture is not an apology it is a sign of respect. You obviously don't understand thier culture. Nice one poppa
Not when you bow so low below the level of one's head, that's when it takes on a different meaning than the normal "greeting" bow.
Incorrect. A half bow is a sign of weakness. A full bow is respect.
If anything, Obama would might have had an amateur understanding of the bow in practice but nonetheless, it was no sign of weakness.
It is clear to me that you don't know. I don't really mind if you don't want to admit that and its not my business to convince everyone. Just stating what I know from my personal relationship with Japanese culture.
I think it's more complicated than you're making it out to be. Yes It's a sign of respect, but it's also an acknowledgement of "status". The person who is the lower status of the two should bow first and lowest, holding the bow until the other person has done theirs.
But you're right, I'm not an expert.
Incorrect. You are misinterpreting the issue. Obama has come as a visitor to Japan and is respecting the fact he is at someone elses home. If anything, you have complicated the matter with making assumptions, based on what I'm not sure. I am trying to tell you what I know, having a direct experience with the culture. Your choice. I dont think I am being rude.
Totaly depends on culture....but I thought he was just being polite? If that's the case who cares how he did it....
I agree, yeah being polite, just noting on japanese culture because it got brought into it to ostricise Obama, quite petty really.
Petty, agreed. I think if one did the research they would find presidents doing all sorts of goofy stuff trying to be polite. Issues like this are simply filler for a slow new days.
I would tend to agree, except that this controversy came up before with the Saudi king, and I think Obama would have been very careful not to make the same mistake this time.
More carefull? He has made himself clear, he believes the US has been too arogant. He's fixing that.....TIC.
I'm not sure why folks continue to be surprised by his actions.
Geez, Obama can't even fart without it being a major issue.
He gets so much grief no matter WHAT he does, it would be refreshing to see him let one rip and then grab some one's butt and tell a midget joke or something.
I mean, seriously, it the guy breathes, it's "Is that a socialist Antichrist kinda breath?"
He might as well cut loose if he gets the grief anyway.
by the accepted definition of world war, we are having one right now. it is just not stated as so, it goes by other names.
I agree but I was referring to World War ll as the Nazis espoused a bunch of racist distortions and nearly destroyed us with it. It has to do with Flight Keepers racist comments.
rascist distortions? what, like the anti-islamic distortions?
you don't give up, do you ??!!
So you're not a racist and have never been . Not even in your thoughts.
I did not think that was in question. I don't know that I have never had any racist thoughts but I certainly have not proposed them as a basis for any ignorance I may have had. I would hope that if I indeed did hold anyone with the racist distortions I would recognize and relieve myself of them.
Surprise you just had a racist thought!
And you didn't know it!
You are simple aren't you. Anyone can have a thought about anything but that may be an aberation or a stereotype. When you make statements such as yours and then defend and repeat them as taunts then you must really believe in what you espouse. Or are you an idiot that can't help yourself when it comes to relating to the core of the conversation. By the way the word idiot is referenced to a mentally deficient person, or somebody who acts in a foolish, self defeating, uneducated or counterproductive way. Please do not take it to mean that I am saying you may be stupid as that has a whole different meaning.
Really ?? A whole different meaning ??!!
I'm not reporting you because i'm amusing myself too much with your posts !
Well I bow, like Obama does, to your superior dictionary skills and unthinking racism.
Your disinterest is well noted and it is a shame that you have this flaw so deeply inbedded in you.
I am glad for you and the whirly twirly world you live in.
You expose yourself too easily. Perhaps a little tact to your agenda would better serve you.
Well unless rhamson sees it, rhamson's not going to relieve it! There must be one big toilet somewhere!
Potty Humor. Once again you show yourself for who you are.
Ignorance is the state in which one lacks knowledge, is unaware of something or chooses to subjectively ignore information. This should not be confused with being unintelligent, as one's level of intelligence and level of education or general awareness are not the same.
No offence but can you see yourself and compatriot in there somewhere? I am waiting for the two or three word turnaround phrase you most assuredly will resond with.
Your phrase is good enough.
"I am glad for you and the whirly twirly world you live in."
I really feel sorry for you. You really don't understand do you?
You could never offend me ,even if you try hard!
guess why !
Ignorance can also be a state where one simply doesn't agree with one's versions of the "facts". We should be careful not to make debates personal based upon our own opinions.
This is all over the web and on the news and I find it absurd!
I didn't voter for Obama and frankly can't trust him as far as I could throw him but bowing is not any sign of subservience on Obama's part. It's a common gesture and akin to a handshake.
Ok, the history of the bow in Asian cultures. It is a bloody greeting and sign of respect. A perfect example, martial Artists bow to each other before a fight and then proceed to attack each other...come on people! Seriously, this is so silly.
If he got on his knees and bowed, then yes, that would be a sign of subservience on his part. But that is not the case here.
You must read back aways to get the gist of the whole conversation.
I asked you a very plain question I think.
I don't need to go back anywhere.
A plain question is asking for a plain answer.
Since you jumped in at this point of the conversation it will take too much time to explain all the complexities of what Flightkeeper has said. It would be a diservice for me to paraphrase so it would be better for you to go back and read the progression yourself.
I've read it. I don't find that kind of distortions anywhere !
I would take your response as genuine and give you some credibility but your added ridicule of your graphic and your inability to comprehend the content of the posts Flightkeeper made during this conversation tend to make me think you two share some common distortions. That's okay. I will still read and respond to your posts without holding them against you.
Anybody would think that he got down on his knees and gave him a blowjob. The least great thing about America is those that bleat on constantly about how great America is.
Still, I could think of a few things Obama might apologise for, on behalf of his predecessors but humility is no sign of weakness.
Think of the upside, as they said on the news.........when was the last time you've seen the leaders from these two countries in the same room?
The Japanese are probably saying the same thing about shaking hands, its just tradition!
is a greeting that important? we are not living in a hollywood film. International relations goes a bit further I would think.
How people use the strangest apparatus to attack a national leader... bizare
It's extremely important!! It's purposely staged for public consumption so naturally the symbolism and message that's choreographed should be clear and as intended. I think the message Obama sent is clear, we are weak.
Probably not. The meaning of the bow is somewhat subjective, however I think we can agree that these "greetings are staged photo ops intended to send a message to the public.
You believe if the camera were not there, they would not bow? Interesting. Not for the sake of it but I do disagree.
Where did I say that? I'm sure Obama would observe what is customary even if the cameras weren't there, but there is no way for us to know how low and long such a bow would be.
Blues, I agree. When I was married my ex worked for Mikimoto Pearls, a Japanese company for 20 years. I'm a little familiar with their culture.. A slight bow of the head is viewed as respect, but not a complete bow from the waist, that is reserved for apologies. Heads of states are not to bow from the waist with each other, because that is viewed as submissive.
maybe you two should exchange numbers seeing how nobody either ever knew or has forgotten what it is you are on about
I must appologize but I have been trying to combat some racist views expressed by FlightKeeper and seemingly defended by Tantrum with little success. They seem to rather engage in childish mindless banter with personal attacks and simple sentences to defend a view that is not defensible. It is somewhat fun whatching them expose their shortcomings.
Come on rhamson, your shortcomings were exposed as well, and it was unthinking on your part which is why it's funnier!
Oh, are you still here? I thought we had it out already. This penchant you have of turning around the statements of someone on himself works only if there is evidence to back it. Otherwise it is argumentative and useless. Perhaps you should look at yourself to determine where there were points made and lost and I will do the same. I will still stand against racism though and that will not change. I hope you will look at it too and not just laugh it off. If you do you lose a part of yourself and your humanity.
We had something out?
You should take a little of your own advice. You were the only one getting heated and I was only amused, as usual.
The effect certainly showed it. Reality is hard for you isn't it?
What is amusing about your word games is the content. You always use the others observations of you to describe them when in fact it is clear the two have no similarity even when used negatively. You really don't have anything worthwhile to say do you?
I do at least amuse you. You said it yourself. You still don't get it.
I'm not defending anything
I said everybody's a racist
Which I still sustain.
the problem with you is that you can't see your own shortcomings,
due to your short mindness, I think !
That's a convenient way to file it away but doesn't help the situation. I did not attack the thought of racism but the admission of it as a credible way to define a culture. If you had read back you would have understood this. Your argument is not germain to these points. And if that does not explain your short mindedness I don't know what will. If you wish to continue with personal attacks I am afraid the other posters have grown tired of it and so have I. So say what you will and I will hopefully gain some appreciable knowledge from it.
I give my opinion wherever I want, whenever I want.
Every body knows that if there's something i'm not is short minded.
Of course you can believe whatever you want.
And if other posters are bored with my posts, I can't care less. I only post for my own fun and pleasure.
If someone answers back,the better.
I can't help it. Just one more thing. Your pride is what is holding you back.
You can't read between lines, it seems.
I put virtual world in its true perspective
(meaning forums, blogs, chats etc.)
FOR FUN !
and you're a joke
Your words bely your anger. You are so transparent.
Such a shame! All this passion wasted on arguing when it could be better spent on romance!
well said, but i think the passion is just a bit misdirect, not to go off topic but Obama has made Americans more political, like it or not when Bush was in office we all seemed subdued to let him do what he wants because well, we just did, but with Obama the whole country seems to be in constant political debate and that is the best form of nationalism
Whether America wants to accept it or not and whether you believe it is for the better or worse change comes painfully. It is up to the individual to discern the motives and make their choices. 2012 will be here soon enough and that is when I think we will see what America thinks about it, pro or con.
Please accept my applogy without sounding too much like Obama. I did not mean to go on with those two but the I wanted to see where it would lead. I was not disapointed. I am sorry it was not as worthwhile for you.
Instead of posting so much nonsense, why don't you write some hubs ?
Or maybe you're someone's alter ego ?
Why do you ply me with questions if you have no respect for the answers? Maybe it is that pride thing again.
you never answer anything worthwhile !
another joke !
Thank you !
I did answer your questions. You just don't like the answers. Instead you take the easy way out by ridiculing what you won't or don't understand.
I am spending a lot of my writing on a book currently and this forum gives me a break away from it. Perhaps in the future I will partake. The book is not about politics or religion if you believe it.
Thanks for the answer.
I hope you can write better than your posts !
Tantrum, it's been fun girl! We should do this again. See ya later!
A lot of people who did not like Bush as president did not hate him. Yes, some did, but the majority just made fun of him I certainly don't hate him.
Don't you think that what is happening regarding the disapproval for Obama is just the "shoe on the other foot"? I'm sure that there are people who hate Obama just as there were those that hated Bush. But I don't think that most Americans that disapprove of Obama's policies hate him or wish him ill will.
Maybe Obama bowed so low because he is so tall .
And at least he didn't puke on anyone of royalty!
So no one criticizing seems to remember this? Geez, even Bush respected the customs of other cultures.
Anyway, the bow was pretty low.... maybe he dropped a penny?
In other news, Obama used his left hand to wipe his ass, angering right handed Americans across the nation.
I'm starting to find myself nostalgic for the days when our presidents lost their cookies on foreign heads of state. Excluding Japan and the Queen of England, most of the others Obama has debased himself to deserve that visceral expression of disgust.
One japanese TV station was so embarassed for Obama's inappropriate subservience that they're not even running the bow. They want to see a strong American president and what do they see? A groveling tool. He really is so ignorant. If he bothered to talk to other heads of state that have the same "bowing" culture, he would have been told that there are no bows between representatives of heads of state, the bow only occurs between people of different status and usually it's the person of low status bowing deeper to the person of high status. Just put a sign on his rear end that says "kick me here" because he's just so willing.
You're still with this issue ?
Hi flight !
What an issue !
Maybe your president needs more counselling, or another kind of counselling !
well, in any case, before any American president visits any foreign power, he has a responsibility to himself, his own country and his hosts to be well versed in that country's protocols and etiquettes.
While I am no fan of Obama for people to start breaking this one down and start analyzing it is pretty absurd ! In Japan they bow , it is like our hanshake here . Ridiculous to me . I thought the bow was just fine ! Much ado about nothing
It amazes me that criticism of Obama makes other people so disagreeable.
And you're not friendly at all. :
I didn't see "the Bow," so I can't comment on it. I will say that I think we have much bigger issues to worry about, however.
Obama is trying to improve America's image internationally. One who respect others get respect back, there is no wrong in respecting others.
I guess after the last 8 years it's hard to stop poking fun at the president whether it's justified or not
President Barrack Obama is the President of the United States of America. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito is the Emperor of Japan and the highest authority of the Shinto religion.
His Imperial Majesty is part of the imperial line dating back to 650BC. He is not the leader of the Japanese government. The Emperor has no power in relation to government. The Japanese Prime Minister fulfils that role. The emperor is royalty, a monarch. He is (in the traditional sense) noble, i.e. he is of an hereditary class that has special social status in a given society. He is not responsible to anyone, rather he has subjects. Neither is he merely a king (ruler of a kingdom), but an Emperor (ruler of a country that has, or has had an empire).
In Japanese society President Obama is not His Imperial Majesty's equal in political rank or in social status. Indeed the Emperor is above political rank. They are not counterparts. The Prime Minister of Japan is closest to the President's Japanese counterpart.
President Obama bowed to offer greeting and respect to the Emperor. Was it clumsy? Arguably yes. Was it technically incorrect? Yes - there should be no physical contact during a bow. But it was absolutely appropriate for President Obama to show deference to His Imperial Majesty, which he did.
Not doing so would have been dishonourable. But it would be the President who was dishonoured, not the Emperor. Failing to show respect to an elder or someone of higher social standing in traditional Japanese society is dishonourable. Although as a foreigner the President would not be considered in the same light as a Japanese person. By not bowing, such a person would bring dishonour on himself and his family, not the Emperor.
As it is (and even though he is not obliged to do so as a foreigner) the President displayed both humility and respect towards the Emperor. Those two qualities are extremely important in Japanese society. Together they demonstrate the most important quality in formal Japanese social tradition. That of honour. The President of the United States showed himself to be honourable in terms of traditional social Japanese culture.
It's almost inconceivable the President did not foresee the negative reaction he would get from certain quarters at home before making the gesture. Meaning he chose to do so knowing he would likely be vilified for it by some. That demonstrates strength of character, not weakness.
Moreover, His Imperial Majesty would be fully aware of these circumstances. I believe the Emperor would not deign to consider how the gesture was executed, but (in light of the circumstances) would most certainly regard the honourableness demonstrated in its offering, i.e. that the President chose to offer a formal Japanese greeting at cost of controversy, rather than solely a western greeting which would have gone unremarked in the west and within Japan.
It's a great shame for me that some of the President's countrymen cannot see the strength and honour encompassed within that gesture. And it's a great shame they don't see that through apparent weakness, great strength is often shown.
As you said in your post
'President Obama bowed to offer greeting and respect to the Emperor. Was it clumsy? Arguably yes. Was it technically incorrect? Yes - there should be no physical contact during a bow. But it was absolutely appropriate for President Obama to show deference to His Imperial Majesty, which he did.'
Don't you think a President, should know how to bow to Imperial Majesties in Japan, if that's what he's supposed to do ?
Clumsiness, doesn't speak well of anybody in that position.
His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito had a private tutor (Elizabeth Gray Vining) who taught him western manners and etiquette, western values and culture from the age of eleven. His teen years were spent being schooled in the protocols of diplomacy and affairs of state. By the age of twenty he was fluent in those behaviours. In 1953 alone (aged eighteen) his Imperial Majesty made official visits to thirty seven countries, including the United Kingdom where he was a guest at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
If President Obama had such an upbringing, then this minor faux pas would be inexcusable. As this is not the case, it is excusable. The President is the head of the government of the United States of America. He is a politician who serves the people of the United States of America. He does not have perfect deportment or aristocratic grace, nor is he expected to. He is not an aristocrat.
He showed humility and respect to the Emperor and therefore the people of Japan and their culture. And he did so knowing he would be attacked for it at home. So he has shown himself to be strong and honourable. In doing, as head of state, he has represented the United States as strong and honourable. That is more important than any minor faux pas committed in the process. Sometimes it's more honourable to do something incorrectly than to not try it at all.
You Americans always find an excuse for all your mistakes.
it's in you it seems !
If you're happy with that, it's ok with me.
Not my problem
Hooray I am an honorary American now
Mistakes happen. It's a fact of life. We shouldn't stop ourselves from doing things through fear of making a mistake. Sometimes the trying is more important than the result. In this case I think that's true.
I think I am happy with that and I'm glad that's ok with you.
Yes ! why did he had to bow ??!!
If he didn't know how to do it !
I've lived in Japan for ten years. It is strange to me that critics in America think Obama is being obsequious. He is merely respecting other cultures. What didn't work about his greeting, however, is that it was done awkwardly. Bowing and shaking hands at the same time seems to be some kind of strange compromise. So if he was going to greet the Emperor properly he should have got a briefing first on exactly how to do that. Then at least he would have pleased somebody.
Also, it is contradictory that Japanese officials have to shake hands with westerners when they don't do that at home. They only do it because they are showing respect to other cultures.
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