picture of the day

Give us a hug

41 Comments

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, tries to hug Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, right, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second from left, looks on, in front of Kerry's residence in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, on Sunday.

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41 Comments
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See question of the day. Kerry really is a bit of a buffoon.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

masonic handshake.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

masonic handshake.

Wow, good obserbation

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When in America...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Japanese look goofy when given hugs. And certainly can't reciprocate the spontaneous gesture.

Soon they'll be catching on to high-5's & fist bumps if they dare be animated and lose the robot mentality.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Love all the smiles!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

just more proof that Japanese very seldom hug or know how to do it properly.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Nice photo. WC626, Whatever!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Well, at least Abe seems to be enjoying the moment. That smile doesn't look staged to me. Abe really looks like he having a big laugh. Is there more to this picture than just an (awkward) hug? I'd love to know what was said that made Abe laugh/smile so much.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why are US diplomats so unaware of the correct way to greet or interface with people of other cultures? I guess that it lies in their isolationist education and non understanding of life outside the USA. As an American these types of encounters embarrass me and could be handled more appropriately if the USA had a agency that teaches foreign diplomats the correct way to interact with foreigners.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

@ Hawkeye

Like when George W met Queen Elizabeth you mean?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why are US diplomats so unaware of the correct way to greet or interface with people of other cultures?

I understand that you mean well, but your suggestion could actually be taken as backhanded insult to Japanese people. I'm sure the State Department has thought about this carefully.

If you look at it from a different perspective, you are in some sense suggesting that Japanese people are so vulnerable and sensitive that we must only bow to them and call them -san even if we are in America and speaking in English. It's as if they are some sort of primitive tribe from the amazon that has had no contact with the outside world and would be very offended if we didn't observe their customs all the time. Calling Japanese people -san while speaking English is my pet peeve. It's so patronising. We don't call Germans Herr or the Spanish Senor when refering to them in English. When in America, the safest thing for all diplomats to do is observe American customs.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I guess that it lies in their isolationist education and non understanding of life outside the USA so when arabs diplomats visit the US i still see them touching cheeks and giving hugs to US diplomats as is there customs. respect fo each others customs is more important. a bow, handshake and or quick hug is works well and respects both sides. the hug is a show of mutual respect/affection for the US closest friend is Asia.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Actually a nice moment caught on film. Had they stuck to just the handshake, it would have been a regular photo op and a terse, political greeting. As it is the hug obviously caught them off guard and everyone is smiling, off-script and natural. THIS is diplomacy.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@Hawkeye Except this is in America so completely culturally normal.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why the long face John? Didn't get a hug back?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kerry jumped into this hug. Nice photo and nice moment!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In relationships, closeness is always better than distance. Period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"LOve all the smiles!"

Me too!

"Like when George W met Queen Elizabeth you mean?"

You mean like when Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad met Queen Elizabeth? Ha ha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wc626Apr. 27, 2015 - 01:38PM JST Japanese look goofy when given hugs. And certainly can't reciprocate the spontaneous gesture.

Yea must be a "Japanese thig".LOL. Most men on this planet look goofy when hugged by another man.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Come on, this is a rather fun pic. xD Just for a moment, we can forget they are politicians, and look at this picture how the meeting between two different cultures.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why are US diplomats so unaware of the correct way to greet or interface with people of other cultures? I guess that it lies in their isolationist education and non understanding of life outside the USA. As an American these types of encounters embarrass me and could be handled more appropriately if the USA had a agency that teaches foreign diplomats the correct way to interact with foreigners.

First off, this exchange occurred in the U.S., in Kerry's home-town of Boston no less. It is the Japanese diplomat who should be flexible to "interface with people of other cultures", and, if he had been properly trained, he would have been expecting this spontaneous demonstration of friendship from Kerry, since that is a basic American trait. But, no, like the vast majority of Japanese tourists, he wants to see other countries, but not really experience their culture -- just observe it within his comfort zone of "Japaneseness". Second, my son-in-law is a consulate representative in the state department who has been stationed overseas a couple of times, and he received extensive cultural, political and language training before each of his assignments.

Yea must be a "Japanese thig".LOL. Most men on this planet look goofy when hugged by another man.

An equally foolish statement. And could only be made by someone who is ignorant of the manner men greet each other in many cultures around the world, including Europe and the Mid-East.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Japanese dignitaries are not used to be hugged. There were three laws since 1947. Dancing. kissing in public, hugging in public. Dansing law was repealed very recently. So, this is the historic photo of Japanese dignitary being hugged.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@jerseyboy: it's not nice blaming Kerry for his gesture, but it's not nice blaming Kishida for his reaction. Probably he was surprised, it's not like Western politicians hug each other all the time.

So, I really can't understand people who are bashing American ways or Japanese ways here: there are more extroverted countries, and more introverted countries. The important thing is being respectful to other people customs, even though you don't share them.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Right on, Alex80. Seems people can be very close-minded, even here. So what if Japanese don't customarily hug?

Right in line with another thread here about public displays of affection, we could surmise that John Kerry was placed in a separate bedroom when he was only a few months old, thus causing his need for skinship even during business meetings.

Vive le difference. There is no wrong or right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A photo capturing a wonderful moment yet some people are able to make this into a negative rant says it all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The important thing is being respectful to other people customs, even though you don't share them.

I agree. But something that I find very strange is the habit that Japanese soccer players have developed of hugging each other as if they were Southern Europeans or South Americans. I know it's not a bad thing, but it just seems really, really weird. I think it's good to be accepting of other customs when in a situation like the photo above, but J footballers hugging the hell out of other J footballers just seems so fake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is an expression of affection and appreciation. Some of our men realize how important it is to be honest with your feelings. To be open and show you really mean what you say. This is one example of that. Good for him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Bogi: you also see European people, before a judo match, bowing. Nothing weird...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

These people have all met before. They may not be life-long friends, but they probably are more than acquaintances. A hug, when on American soil, is perfectly acceptable.

I hug old friends I haven't seen in 20 yrs and only communicated with because of a visit to their town. Sometimes they aren't ready for it either. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe Boston custom that a man hugs another man who is not his relative?, Abe and the lady behind Abe are laughing and enjoying. Maybe they will suggest old hugging and kissing laws to be repealed when they come home. .

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Seeing Kishida-san makes me think how awkward I feel when I bow and say yoroshiku onegaishimasu in meetings here in Japan. It will never be completely natural, for either of us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@B-men: If you are not Japanese, say in simple English. Don't talk in your kind of phrases. Onegaishimasu means Do favor for me. Japanese who understand your pronounciation wonders what this gaijin want me to do. Safe if you talk in simple English.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A hug, when on American soil, is perfectly acceptable.

Not for every one. Not me. I hug my family and a few, very old friends.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

he is holding the hand firmly, Jhon kerry is an awkward position,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What American customs? Customs vary from state to state and hugging is certainly not a "custom". Try hugging someone you barely know in New York and you'll be carrying your teeth away in a doggie bag.

This is not someone Kerry "barely knows". Kishida has met and worked with Kerry periodically over the last 2 years or so. They both assumed their offices only about a month apart from each other. (Kishida in December 2012 and Kerry in February 2013)

And yeah, people "man-hug" here all the time without getting their teeth handed to them. Time to get your head out of the 1950's.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"tries to hug" lmaooooo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

B - Man

Practice makes perfect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would think of all countries, Kerry would know how the Japanese do things. Apparently Japan doesn't warrant careful study though :-(

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

KERRY FOR 2016!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bogi: you also see European people, before a judo match, bowing. Nothing weird...

Not a good comparison. Contestants have to bow before and after matches in judo. It's part of the rules.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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