Hey, Mr. President, You Bow to No One!
I’m fascinated by the mini-kerfuffle (on the Right at least) over President Obama’s propensity to bow when meeting foreign heads of state who are also royalty (see his super-bow to the Emperor of Japan to the right). In the old days, this type of stuff was really important. Students of Chinese history may recall that one of the first British emissaries to the Chinese emperor refused to “kowtow”(叩頭）as a matter of principle since it symbolized submission to the authority of the foreign sovereign. These days, it is just amusing blogfodder. I don’t know why the President feels a need to bow to royalty, since as this link shows, no one else who meets with the Japanese Emperor feels a need to do so. I guess he’s just overly polite. But he’s the U.S. President. He bows to no one!