Seeing that most commenters here are cool with Obama’s bow to the Japanese Emperor – as a sign of cultural respect – I wonder what actual Japanese people are saying about it.
Thank God for the internets, where bilingual folks can read Japanese online forums... and blog about it in English.
Such as Joshua Williams. His “Japanese Headlines Examiner” blog is on Examiner.com. Here are a few online comments Williams says he translated from Japanese:
“What a bow!”
“Such a deep bow from Obama, what a fine guy.”
“I’m surprised he bowed. He’s really trying hard to meet the Japanese way!”
“President Obama is a top-class person, isn’t he? Amazing!”
“I laughed because it was a much better bow than I had imagined.”
“Obama has more of a true Japanese heart than most Japanese do.”
But then a commenter at Examiner.com, one Ted Nakagawa, replied:
“What we are not getting translated [by Williams] are these Japanese blogs with posters to whom the Obama Tokyo bow is somewhat ‘going to their nationalist heads’.
“All kinds of nationalist comments such as amazement that a nation defeated would be bowed at in this manner, and ‘Long Live the Emperor!’, and also abject surprise at Obama bowing like this -- racial ephitets are also made about Mr. Obama in disdain (for example, referring to him as ‘kuronbo’ (or ‘little black boy’)...
“One Japanese poster is questioning if this kind of Obama [bow] to the Emperor is not a violation of US diplomatic protocol, and another one predicts that Americans, despite what Japanese might think -- are going to get mad over this...”
In another comment, Nakagawa added:
“Comments (in Japanese) on the same Japanese blog that were NOT fawning over Obama and his controversial ‘ojigi’ before the Emperor, some in fact questioning it and suspecting it insincere, have apparantly been purposely left out of this journalist's translations and report.”
I am not looking forward to a week’s worth of talk-radio and cable- news folderol over The Bow, curious as I am about the actual protocol. The signal-to-noise ratio is gonna suck!