Outrage as Obama Grovels at Emperor’s Feet


President Obama’s decision to bow and scrape before Emperor Akihito during a recent state visit has angered many in the US even as it has pleased many in Japan, with critics saying the American president should not be going with crooked knee before the world’s kings.

He bowed low and deep – only by actually kneeling at the Akihito’s feet could he have expressed greater “respect.” The bow was of course not returned by the emperor.


Previous American leaders have taken care to treat Japan’s ruined monarchs as equals or mild inferiors – MacArthur famously had Hirohito come to him to take his orders, and recently vice-president Cheney remained conspicuously straight-backed as he shook the emperor’s withered hand.

A significant brouhaha in fact ensued when Clinton appeared to bow to Akihito, which was denied at the time by the ambassador in typically Clinton-esque fashion: “It was not a bow-bow, if you know what I mean.”

The previous emperor, Hirohito, was in the eyes of many an unrepentant war criminal who only escaped the gallows thanks to the necessity of confronting Russia, so it is no surprise he was never honoured, but his nondescript successor is regarded more positively.

Conscious of the great sacrifices made to rid the American people of monarchical parasites, for 200 years the US’s official diplomatic position has been that monarchs should humoured with nothing more than a handshake, so this gesture actually marks a significant change in policy, unwelcome in the eyes of many.


Obama’s obeisance might have been passed off as a gesture of contrition for the sake of manipulating an ally’s public opinion, but Obama recently made a similar grovelling performance for no less than the king of Saudi Arabia, a regime most in the west regard as utterly despicable.

Of course, the bow was well received by many in Japan, although with the Japanese Democrats being relatively sceptical of the imperial system this might not have quite the same effect it might have enjoyed had the emperor’s LDP fanclub still been in office.

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    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    10:37 01/05/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I don't see what all the big deal is...It's just petty formalities between two world leaders...

    It's not like they're giving each other head on top of a Shinto temple...

    And even so, it's going to be a matter of who's going to be the uke in the relationship...

    Avatar of DeRosset
    Comment by DeRosset
    17:04 14/02/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Well, you just painted a very interesting mental image.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:33 21/10/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    He's behaving like they are superior. And that is a problem. Because it sends a completly wrong message.

    Avatar of Suzuho
    Comment by Suzuho
    20:03 19/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    hmm not really xD but u got the general idea~

    he deep bowed~ meaning he submitted himself~ but thats not something bad its something amazing~ showing his respect for the "king"
    if his idea is only pleasure the public then he sucks. but if he really feel respect then. cool ^^ cauz he should after all.. its the Emperor ~ not some wannabe like himself that became pres xD

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:53 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Americans shouldn't be outrage he's just bowing and after all it's a Japanese culture to greet each other even though the Emperor didn't bow as well but still he's treating other nation leaders as equal, not all but still.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:41 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    more like the twit who is a major twat who wrote this flippant piece of schiess....
    btw.. Artefacts should be in the museum not fucking running a website...

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:48 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Ah Americans, ignorant of the world since its conception.

    You mean to tell me there are other cultures!? NO WAY!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:06 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    This is almost as ridiculous as that time where there was a controversy over which mustard Obama used...

    Avatar of Computer Research Society President
    06:28 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I see no problem with him bowing to the Japanese emperor what with him having no real power and all, but I sure as hell would never bow to the bastard king of Saudi Arabia, now why would he do that?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:30 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Remember folks this is TEH EMPRAH of MANKIND... Son of the Sun-god and whatnot. A living Deity!

    We should bow deeply and rspct his imperial majesty Teh EMPRAH!

    Obama got it rigth this time... But failed in Arabia when he bowed to this towelheaded impostor.


    Comment by Anonymous
    07:02 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think it's okay, he's a king/emperor/not a figure chosen by the people, so he isn't on his level, in Japan, his homologue is the PM after all. He should just remember that kings will stay waaaaaay longer than him on their charge. It's just the minimum respect for a member of the ROYALTY

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:05 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    teh EMPRAH is not Royalty he is a GOD!

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:32 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    does republican now = mean spirited namecaller? How about the coalition of the rich and the stupid?

    Come on, have you ever heard of "when in Rome"?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The coalition of the rich and the stupid is the founding principle of human society.

    Every society has it's rich people invoke patriotism, national pride, racial pride, and religious pride to get enough stupid people to his side. Use their money to hire strong stupid people who don't believe what they say but it doesn't matter because they can be easily bribed, and use your marauding hoarde of morons to drown out the intelligent people who are trying to call you out on your inneffectiveness and corruption...or just have them drown the intellectuals.

    That's the founding principle of every nation or kingdom that has ever existed on the face of the earth.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:48 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Its a bow of Respect! Fuck this shitty Country.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:57 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If its a bow of respect, then why wasn't it returned by the Emperor?

    Obama and his a fucking idiot.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:03 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    A GOD who doesn't even bow to other gods doesn't bow to some lowly human president

    Comment by KHANblog
    08:39 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Artefact, I would like to engage in a debate with you on this. But first, may I ask, what is your gripe about monarchies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:16 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't think he was bowing... I think he saw fried chicken on the floor.

    Avatar of Aero
    Comment by Aero
    07:43 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pfft. Obama-chan was just looking at his shoes. You have to be presentable, right?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:01 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Forward, Down, Down-Forward + Punch!!! OBAMA!!! Forward, Down, Down-Forward + Punch!!!

    Avatar of g0rth0r
    Comment by g0rth0r
    08:33 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I blame it on chronic back pain.

    Comment by KHANblog
    08:31 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Artefact, I would like to engage in debate with you on the subject. But first, my I ask, what's your gripe about monarchies?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:26 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Obama probably thought a bow had to go below the person's eye level and anything above a 90 degree angle and Obama would still be able to look in the guys eyes since Obama is so much taller than him

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:17 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm wondering if people forget he is from Oahu where the Japanese culture is probably one of the most influential on the Hawaiian islands.

    He probably knew very well what he was doing when trying to show respect for Emperor Akihito. Whether it be outdated to bow like that, he is a guest in someone else's home and thus should show a bit more respect.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:33 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Obama really seems like a gentleman like that, respecting others traditions when he is visiting them.
    If just the whole world could be like that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:15 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    When in Rome, do what the Roman's do, as the saying goes.

    I personally don't see anything wrong because he's the guest in someone else's house.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:01 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not to mention that he's just following the basic courtesy - he's just bowing, not licking the Emperor's boots. Everybody does that in Japan all the time, so why not the President of the United States?

    Avatar of Dirty_Dingus008
    Comment by Dirty_Dingus008
    04:22 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The teleprez's love for King/Emperor cock knows no limit. His mistake was to try again in the public's telephoto lenses.

    This could explain those crusty flacks always seen under his lip and that odd walk after he leaves those countries...

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:33 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yea he should've played coy like GW.

    The Saudi King never got past first base with that man...he raised the price in oil just to hear bush's voice.

    The Saudi King was embarassed that the press had video of his makeout session with george.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:44 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    a) didnt know there was still an emperor of japan. b) its called public relations. i actually like to see he isnt like all the other presidents that feel they are over everybody else.... americans should learn of this. not critizise it... to bad that hes not going to be re-elected. since americans are so stupid he isnt goingt ot be re-elected.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:01 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I get the bow towards the Japanes emporer, but the one with the saudis? Not good, hm...

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    05:02 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "for 200 years the US’s official diplomatic position has been that monarchs should humoured with nothing more than a handshake, so this gesture actually marks a significant change in policy, unwelcome in the eyes of many."

    Many are stupid.

    Everyone bows to everyone in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:30 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Bowgate" is one of the most ridiculous non-issues I've ever seen. Bowing is a way to show respect in Japan, and Obama is doing just that. I'm neutral on him, but I think he's being an honourable ambassador for the U.S. doing these things. Maybe the media would appreciate it more if he barfed on the Japanese prime minister's lap like GHW Bush did.

    04:32 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol I remember that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:34 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hey asshole wear a flag pin...if you don't wear a flag pin you're socializing Hitler!

    Avatar of Pyrolight
    Comment by Pyrolight
    04:23 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Obama is a smart man. He clearly does not give a crap what people think of him back home and would rather try and build/fix Americas relations with the rest of the world.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:37 18/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Doesn't really matter.

    Japan's still our bitches after WW2, can't do shit without our approval still.

    Stop trying to spin the truth.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:05 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    o ya? why is north korea still a threat? Why hasn't America already invaded north korea and still dependent on japan and "America's Allies"?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:35 18/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    There is a difference between respect and submission.

    Obama was showing respect, not submission. Most outraged Americans are superimposing expectations of their own cultures onto foreign soil.
    A country isolated till 200 years ago which developed its own culture with minimal foreign (even from mainland Asia) influence, and yet Americans expect "their way" to be the right way in that country?

    Bowing to the Emperor of Japan is showing respect to ALL Japanese in a way that 'democratic' America cannot understand. The Emperor of Japan is an integral part of Japanese cultural identity. If you say the current Emperor is just a figurehead, well, in much of Japanese history the Emperors were pretty much that. The Emperor is more akin to the Pope in Rome than a western king, as he is the spiritual head of country.

    If the Japanese are proud and happy of their Royals, why should they bow to gaijin who want to 'educate' them in 'equality'? isn't America land of the free? So the average American is free to overeat and grow fat, but the president isn't free to respect and follow Japanese culture in Japan?

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:43 17/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    ok i dont knw,but thats his way of showing respect, he is still the leader of strongest country, but he bow to show respect to an ally, what's wrong?
    or is the all pride and loud americanists feel ashamed of because they cannot step on top of other country?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:36 18/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oops, looks like you bothered more than a few Japanophiles with this one, Artefact. Maybe you should stick to your time-honored formula of China-bashing articles, just to let your readers know you're all on the same team.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:47 22/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Saudi bow was a honest mistake, he went too low. The Japan bow was an outright f***up, he should have known not to bow so deeply from the previous one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:55 27/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Royalty absolutely does not bow to any one. It was a good decision for obama to bow to show respect, but not that low.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:09 11/02/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol I love how all the weeabos and jappos here are calling that 'emperor' a god (as if any exist). He's as mortal as anyone... it'll become evident when he dies of old age. A bunch of make believe nonsense humans used to make up to control others. Wake up.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:56 19/01/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:09 11/02/2011 # ! Neutral (0)
    lol I love how all the weeabos and jappos here are calling that 'emperor' a god (as if any exist). He's as mortal as anyone... it'll become evident when he dies of old age. A bunch of make believe nonsense humans used to make up to control others. Wake up.

    ^You're fucking retarded.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:50 24/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    He is bowing an elder, what is wrong with a younger male showing he's respect to someone older.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:35 22/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe Hussein should have given him a blowjob too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:07 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe they should worry more as how he ignores he human rights issue when dealing with China.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:34 18/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I love the critique of the bow, but let's be realistic. The American pundits who are faux-outraged know just as much about bowing in Japan as Obama does (nothing). They just want people to believe Obama is giving in to foreign leaders. Which is interesting considering the Saudi leader Obama bowed to is the same leader Bush held hands with and kissed.

    Butthurt Republicans. Americans and non-Americans alike must be all find amusement in their wacky shenanigans.

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