Feature

Did Obama bow too low?

Commentators are debating whether President Obama's greeting to Japan's emperor was respectful — or obsequious

While visiting Japan over the weekend, President Obama bowed deeply before Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Was Obama just showing culturally sensitive respect to his host or did he fail to stand tall enough as America's head of state? (Watch Obama bow when meeting Akihito)

Obama behaved impeccably: "There seems to be this macho idea that American Presidents have to show they're tough," says Zennie Abraham at the San Francisco Chronicle, and that bowing is emasculating. In Japanese culture, however, it's appropriate to bow deeply when meeting the emperor; Obama was just respecting the customs of his hosts.
"Obama's bow to emperor of Japan and racism in the media"

Obama is denigrating America's global standing: By teaching Americans "to bow before monarchs and tyrants," says Scott Johnson at Powerline, Obama's undignified greeting reflects a larger failing in his foreign policy — and sends the message that the U.S. "is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize."
"Why is this man bowing?"

A bow is appropriate, but Obama bungled it: The president's gesture is hardly "unprecedented," as conservatives suggest, an unidentified academic tells Jake Tapper at ABC News, but neither was it a show of great cultural understanding, as some on the left say. By leaning too far forward and combining a handshake and bow, Obama just looked foolish. The president's "lurch[ing]" bow recalls Bush's attempt to give German prime minister Angela Merkel a back-rub.
"On President Obama's bow to the Japanese emperor... both the left and the right are wrong"

Bowing is only okay if it's reciprocated: Accusations that Obama was "prostrating" himself are overstated, says Ann Althouse at her blog. "I don't see the problem with our president bowing in a country where bowing is conventional." The real question is whether he should "bow to a potentate who does not bow to him."
"Obama is bowing again"

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