An old friend -- an academic with expertise about the Japanese Empire, and in general a supporter of President Obama -- sends me the following note, relating to photographs of President Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito of Japan:
"His bow is neither (1) unprecedented nor (2) a sign of cultural understanding...At their 1971 meeting in Alaska, the first visit of a Japanese Emperor to America, President Nixon bowed and referred to Emperor Hirohito and his wife repeatedly as 'Your Imperial Majesties. Yet, Nixon gets the bow right. Slight arch from the waist hands at his side...Obama's handshake/forward lurch was so jarring and inappropriate it recalls Bush's back-rub of Merkel.
"Kyodo News is running his appropriate and reciprocated nod and shake with the Empress, certainly to show the president as dignified, and not in the form of a first year English teacher trying to impress with Karate Kid-level knowledge of Japanese customs...The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms....The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part."
The End of America in Pictures Part I
ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper Reports: