Bowing etiquitte: Obama's bow [edited and locked version]

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Bowing etiquitte: Obama's bow [edited and locked version]

Post by Eiuol » Mon 11.16.2009 11:51 pm

Here is a video I want to ask about:

I'm wondering if this an expected type of bow to the emperor? I'm wondering if a low bow like that is what would be expected if bowing customs are understood, or if the emperor is even expected to bow back. I'm pretty unfamiliar with bowing etiquette, especially when it involves someone as high up as the emperor.

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Re: Bowing etiquitte: Obama's bow [edited and locked version]

Post by phreadom » Sat 11.21.2009 7:45 pm

To prevent this thread from becoming another political firestorm, the thread will remain locked.

However, as this is a valid question that I'm sure many others including myself were justifiably curious about, I'll try to give a reasonable answer here to satisfy everyone's curiosity.

In short, from a Japanese perspective the technical issues with the bow seem to be that he bowed too deeply while shaking hands with the Emperor. While shaking hands while bowing is not technically forbidden, as it is generally done in business situations with westerners, bowing that deeply while shaking hands seems to have been odd. A slight bow, or even a slight bow while shaking hands, as you see the Emperor slightly do, and the Empress more noticeably do, would seem to have been more correct from a Japanese perspective.

The Japanese seem to have seen this as a sign of respect for the Emperor and a harmless gesture of good will. ... 90151.html

Many Westerners, primarily those in America, were offended by this and feel that not just the President, but any heads of state should not bow to each other in this manner. Americans were both offended by what they saw as a display of weakness or subservience, and the possibility that Obama's actions in this manner (including his recent bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) could embolden other nations against the US upon seeing the President as too weak and deferential.