this guy is a disgrace to this country
At over six feet tall, the US president was photographed bending to nearly a 90 degree angle when he greeted the relatively diminutive Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace on Saturday.
Right-wing websites criticised the US president for showing deference to the Japanese emperor, with the Drudge Report running a banner headline reading: “Obama bows before Japan’s emperor”.
Critics claimed the sign of deference went against state department protocol, which decrees that presidents bow to no one.
In a blog post titled “How low will he go?” , the LA Times’ Andrew Malcolm compared Mr Obama’s bow unfavourably to the upright greetings extended to the emperor by Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, and Douglas MacArthur, the latter observed during the US occupation of Japan following the Second World War. Mr Malcolm suggested that Mr Obama’s “wow bow” was undignified and showed a lack of understanding of the history between the two countries.
At least one blogger went as far as to call the president’s actions “treasonous”.
Right-wing commentators unleashed similar criticism in April, when Mr Obama bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during the G20 summit.
The Washington Times called the alleged bow a "shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate", which ran contrary to American tradition of not deferring to royalty.
"By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the US president belittled the power and independence of the United States," the paper said in an editorial. "Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer."
But a senior administration official dismissed the criticism , telling Politico that the US president had simply been observing protocol by bowing to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
"I think that those who try to politicise those things are just way, way, way off base," he told the website.
Mr Obama is not the first US president to come under criticism for his treatment of royal hosts and visitors.
Bill Clinton, the former US president, experienced similar problems when he welcomed the Japanese emperor at the White House. He was widely mocked for slightly inclining his head in a non-committal semi-bow.