How Ojigi Works: Is Obama An Idiot Or A Boob For Bowing?

Let’s talk about bowing in Japanese culture, also known as Ojigi

Ojigi (bowing) is an essential part of Japanese daily life. People bow when saying hello, thanking someone, apologizing, saying good-bye and introducing themselves. Although shaking hands (akushu) has become accepted as a form of greeting, many Japanese still are not used to it.

The deeper you bow, the more respect you are showing. There is an old haiku poem; “Minoru hodo atama no tareru inaho kana.” It means “Young rice stalks stand upright, the mature grains bow low,” implying that one grows to understand the meaning of humility. When somebody’s position is higher than the other, the person in the lower position bows his or her head a little lower than the person in the higher position. Generally speaking, older women bow very politely. There are many who bow deeply while shaking hands at the same time, and there are others who bow many, many times. However, greetings between friends are fairly informal. They would casually raise their hands or lightly lower their head (eshaku).

Let’s check a bit more

Basic bows are performed with the back straight and the hands at the sides (boys and men) or clasped in the lap (girls and women), and with the eyes down. Bows originate at the waist. Generally, the longer and deeper the bow, the stronger the emotion and the respect expressed.

Generally speaking, an inferior bows longer, more deeply and more frequently than a superior. A superior addressing an inferior will generally only nod the head slightly, while some superiors may not bow at all and an inferior will bend forward slightly from the waist.

When dealing with non-Japanese people, many Japanese will shake hands. Since many non-Japanese are familiar with the custom of bowing, this often leads to a combined bow and handshake which can be quite complicated to execute. Bows may be combined with handshakes or performed before or after shaking hands. Generally when bowing in close proximity, as necessitated when combining bowing and shaking hands, people turn slightly to one side (usually the left) to avoid bumping heads.

After all that, let’s watch this video sent to Hot Air by an anonymous source

So, Obama not only bowed, but he kinda did it wrong, back wasn’t straight, hands not at his sides, he did the shaking hands thing. Notice that Emperor Akihito neither bowed nor shake his head. Afterwards, Obama did the head shaking thing. So, the question is, is he an idiot for attempting to practice a Japanese custom with no real knowledge of how these things work, especially in terms of POTUS meeting the Japanese Emperor, or, is he a complete boob who was trying to place himself, and the USA, in an inferior position? The Emperor knew the protocol, namely, shake hands, no bows. Doesn’t Obama have people to freakin’ tell him these things?

Meanwhile, the continuation of his Asian vacation is not going so well

……On Sunday, leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum dropped efforts to reach a binding international climate change agreement in Copenhagen next month, settling instead for what they called a political framework for future negotiations.

Obama became the first president to meet with the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the military junta of Myanmar, and White House officials say he personally demanded the country’s leaders release political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But Obama failed to secure any mention of political prisoners in an ASEAN communique.

The U.S. and Russia now appear unlikely to complete a nuclear arms reduction accord by Dec. 5, when the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires…….

Halfway through his Asian tour, Obama is confronting the limits of engagement and personal charm.

It’s kinda tough to get others to do, or at least agree to do, things when one places oneself (and ones country) in a position of subservience.

BTW, I wonder what other world leaders have done when meeting Emperor Akihito?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!