Handshake Vs. Bow?

President Obama continues to face criticism at home for his deference to royalty abroad, after he was photographed bowing sharply to Japanese Emperor Akihito on Saturday. But the White House has defended the near-90-degree bow, saying Obama was observing "protocol."  History shows other leaders have been comfortable greeting the emperor with a mere handshake.  

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    President Obama

    Nov. 14, 2009: The President bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (AP).
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    Aug. 29, 2007: Japan's Emperor Akihito greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting in Tokyo (Reuters).
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    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

    Oct. 22, 2008: India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur are greeted by Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (Reuters).
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    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

    Feb. 27, 2008: Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his wife Aliza are greeted by Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (Reuters).
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    Vice President Dick Cheney

    Feb. 21, 2007: Vice President Dick Cheney is greeted by Japan's Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (White House photo by David Bohrer).
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    Chinese President Hu Jintao

    May 9, 2008: Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with Japanese Emperor Akihito at a farewell call at a hotel in Tokyo (Reuters).
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    Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet

    Nov. 26, 2007: Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and his wife Tran Thi Kim Chi greet Japanese Emperor Akihito and Japanese Empress Michiko upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace to attend a state dinner in Tokyo (Reuters).
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    Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

    July 9, 2009: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his wife Terri greet Japanese Emperor Akihito during the Emperor's visit to Queen's Park in Toronto (Reuters).
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    Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov

    Feb. 27, 2007: In this photo released by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japanese Emperor Akihito greets Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (AP).
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