It's not like this topic is ultimately a big deal anyway, but some people made it out to be one.
There's constructive criticism, there's disliking a person, and trust me, I'm not a big fan of Obama, either . . . but then there's just over-analyzing and misunderstanding.
Normally, I don't consider people who don't know certain things about another person's culture stupid, or anything like that. However, I will make an exception in this case because Conservatives (who are typically also Nationalists) obviously don't seem to realize that you greet people in Japan by bowing. It's common knowledge. Hell, Obama even shook his hand in the process, so what he actually did was he brought two cultures together. Either way, he's being courteous to the Japanese for knowing how to properly greet them there. Is that so wrong to be nice to others by showing respect towards their culture? Don't we expect that here? If so, why would you not expect it for others? Do unto others as they have done unto you. I also must stress that this is one reason (certainly not the only) why other countries don't seem to like America: lack of respect for others and their cultures. Not everyone does this, of course, but you can see it just by looking at all of our magazines. There's hardly anything in them that deals with international affairs.
Ther first sentence alone is pretty stupid: "News photos of President Barack Obama bowing to Japan's emperor have incensed critics here, who said the US leader should stand tall when representing America overseas." Yes, let's make sure that other countries know that we have authority over them ,or that if they attack us, we'll be ready to strike back. Let's never be nice to them and, you know, become friends. Everyone could be our enemy, so show no mercy!
I also like how one person said, "I'll bet if you look at pictures of world leaders over 20 years meeting the emperor in Japan, they don't bow." If anything, that means they didn't think to care about Japanese culture. Why would the American presidents in the past have not known about this? Shouldn't they be told? If they are told, why should they ignore simple advice? That's ignorant behavior. Not only that, but I must stress that just because the past presidents haven't bowed, that doesn't mean that Obama shouldn't.
But ultimately, either greeting is fine. If the emporer would've just done the hand shake, I'm ultimately sure he'd realise it would probably make Obama more comfortable (maybe), but Obama chose to go a whole other route, an ultimately more satisfying route, considering people can easily gain first impressions within fifteen seconds. I'm still not a fan of Obama, but he gets a thumbs up from me in this situation.