Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Obama bowing to convention

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OBAMA-JAPAN/

The depth or angle of U.S. President Barack Obama’s bow — and handshake — with Japan’s Emperor Akihito has become a heated on-line topic, with sides arching into political camps on whether the greeting went too far — literally – or was appropriate based on customs and culture.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on bowing in Japan, but a few basic rules of thumb, or backbone, are: the more important a person you are greeting, the deeper and longer you bow, with hands generally at one’s sides; and multiple purposes can be served by this act including greeting as well as displays of respect, recognition, apology or gratitude.

While no one called the president’s bow an expression of apology or thanks, a number of blogs examined his and other U.S. leaders’ historical bent in stooping to diplomatically conquer, with a few labelling the U.S. commander-in-chief ”O-Bow-Ma”.

The Fox network and the Los Angeles Times blog offered details of Obama’s and other official U.S. greetings with the imperial family, including a photo of Vice President Dick Cheney shaking Akihito’s hand, and one posted a comment that bowing and handshaking should not be done simultaneously.

from Left field:

Boyz II Men risk a Barack-ing over Tokyo Olympic support

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boyzAsk not what you can do for your country ... ask its direct competitor if it wants any help with its Olympic bid.

Tokyo's 2016 campaign has been short on glamour backers and is struggling to match Chicago's trump card, American President Barack Obama - until now.

Who’s Roos?

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Roos who?

That was pretty much the reaction in Japan when U.S. President Barack Obama tapped California lawyer and campaign donor John Roos as ambassador to Tokyo.

News of the choice sent Japanese diplomats and U.S.-Japan watchers scrambling for information about Roos, whom one U.S. expert described to me in a hurried email as a “Silicon valley mover and shaker, not with any link to Japan, though clearly to Obama”.

Japan markets Obama in masks, books and tourism

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As Washington readies for the inauguration of Barack Obama, one Japanese firm is finding out how well his face sells — literally.

Obama mask factory near Tokyo

A mask factory near Tokyo is churning out Obama masks that are fast becoming the firm’s top-selling face, while others are also cashing in on the popularity of the new U.S. president.

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