Working off his schedule of meetings and visits in Japan, it was time for the First Family to meet up with the Japanese emperor and empress in Tokyo today.
Always keen to show how different he is from his predecessor Obama, there appeared to be a slight style variation between President Trump meeting Japanese Emperor Akihito in 2017 and former President Obama doing the same in 2009. We have put the pictures next to each other for your to see the difference. Notice the bow in 2009, notice how Trump doesn’t do that.
Bowing is seen as an important sign of respect in Japan, where elders are given more respect than young people. US presidents have faced criticism from home press for bowing to the Japanese emperors, as it appears less powerful. Back in 1994, former President Bill Clinton bent forward with his hands together to meet Japan's emperor at the White House. At that time, the White House press secretary stated: "Presidents don't bow, and Emperors don't toast."
The then-Chief of Protocol, who is responsible for international decorum, said: "It was not a bow-bow, if you know what I mean."
But both Republican and Democrat presidents have bowed deeply, almost to 90 degrees, to Japanese emperors in the past.
President George H.W. Bush did so in 1989 at the funeral of the previous emperor, and President Barack Obama followed suit 20 years later, bowing to almost chest height of the Japanese emperor.
Not so for President Trump. No bow, but just a respectful handshake.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump then proceeded to have tea with the emperor and empress of Japan, something of which there is video, but no sound, as is customary.
After the 30 minute meeting, the leaders shook hands again, and President Trump tapped the emperor’s arm repeatedly with his left hand, whilst he said: “Thank you for the great meeting. I‘m sure we will meet again”.