Obama Bows to Emperor, World Embarrassed

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People love Michelle Obama photos no matter what the First Lady wears. Conversely, at least as some see it, it seems like her husband can do no right.

Some commentators are ripping President Barack Obama's bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito this weekend, accusing him of groveling before a foreign leader.

Is It Hot In Here Or ...

But is that actually the case?

While Obama bowing before the emperor looks a bit awkward, it isn't without precedent. Nor was it a sign of capitulation or anything of the sort.

U.S. presidents from both parties have often been criticized for their attempts at culturally sensitive greetings to high-ranking foreign officials.

Former President George W. Bush was mocked for holding Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's hand, a traditional sign of friendship in the Middle East.

In fact, back in 1994, former Democratic President Bill Clinton was even criticized for almost bowing to Akihito. He awkwardly stopped just short of this ...

Cultural faux pas or not, a bowing Barack just looks awkward.

If anything, Obama's encounter with Akihito could be considered a stumble because it mixed a bow with a handshake - something not normally done.

And it wasn't the first time the president, a Democrat who has been in office less than a year, has been criticized for his greeting of a foreign leader.

Critics accused him of genuflecting to Saudi King Abdullah at a summit meeting of the leaders of the top 20 rich and developing nations this year.

The bow comes during highly charged times.

Conservatives are strongly opposing Obama's policies, especially his plan to overhaul the health care system, and jump on any perceived faux pas.

Andrew Malcolm, in a blog on the Los Angeles Times, asked, "How low will the new president go for the world's royalty?" Apparently, pretty low.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters Monday that the bow by Barack Obama was traditional, "a sign of respect to the emperor."

"We're in an environment rwhere everything is hypersensitive. Any move you do, there will be some group that sees some message within all that."




I am from Japan, and I must say that I'm pretty shocked by all the fuss they are making over one bow. What these people don't understand is that bowing in Japan is a regular form of greeting. It is not the kind of submission or subservience that the western world thinks it is.
I myself bow almost every time I greet an older person or a guest, or even people I see on business. It is perfectly normal. As a Japanese, I don't see anything strange in Mr.Obama's bow. He is merely greeting the emperor the Japanese way, respecting our culture. Shouldn't that be a good thing?
The emperor he bowed to is not the war criminal who caused millions of people to be killed in WWII... the present one is without any political power, he's just a symbol. I'm disgusted and yet at the same time amused that Americans would be arguing about something so small.


The only embarrassment that should be felt here is by those who have made this such a big deal. I work at an international conferense center in Geneva and exactly today I saw non-Japanese delegates greet Japanese deleagtes the same way.
First of all, this article is stupid.
Secondly, how much credit may i give it coming from a 'gossip' webpage-just goes to show every corner of America is so desperate to grill the best thing thats happened to them since Bill and that intern-whats her face-Monica.
Thirdly, this articale is stupid. Is the Twilight convention over? and there nothing left for the author to pulll out of their ass. And I stick to that comment because the article was posted by 'free britney' what/who would americans be if they didnt ooze Sensationalism!


ITS A SIGN OF RESPECT PPL..He mayb the president of USA but the man has respect for other leaders as well... in japan they always bow down to the emperor.. he is just being respectful...


Wow ignorant people commenting here. Had it been a greeting bow all would be fine but it was a bow showing he is below the Emperor and the Emperor did not return the bow. Why was it no other World leaders who met with the Emperor bowed except Obama? Why did the Japanese media cover it up so they would not be embarrassed with the people thinking they have a weaker ally in the US.


I can't believe they even made an issue out of it. So negative and aggressive. I think they need to get out of their little bubble and explore different cultures, perhaps that will help make them more understanding, tolerant and peaceful . Cultural respect and compromise is what the world needs. I agree with Takae ‘since when is the US the world?’ Very disappointed with these attitudes.


The comment made by Andrew Malcolm is very ignorant. Narrow minded people are very dangerous with words. America has an open minded President, who is open to other cultures and respects them. That should be something to be proud of and not moan or complain about. I cannot to believe that his show of respect towards Japan's Emperor has made such headlines. As a South African I'm shocked to see you still have people who live in such close minded bubbles.


No it is not wrong look where he is, in Japan where in Japan you bow to High ranking leaders that is what he is doing because in that country that is there culture. When traveling to another country you are supposed to follow there culture not your own. If Japans High ranking officials were in the US they would either bow to him bc thats theres along with a hand shake or a solute which is how its done here. OBAMA is a peace maker let him make peace what is the need for violence.


World embarrassed? Since when the U.S. is the world? :P It's only the U.S. that seems embarrassed. A bow with a handshake is not wrong. You shake hands and bow if you like. Some do and some don't.


Barack Obama Biography

Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. He became a Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2004, and has... More »
Honolulu, Hawaii
Full Name
Barack Hussein Obama II

Barack Obama Quotes

I do think in Washington, it's a little bit like American Idol. But everybody is Simon Cowell.

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