Amy S. Ebesu University of Hawaii
Judee K. Burgoon University of Arizona
As the King and his suite neared Akasaka, the palace of the Emperor, a bugle announced their arrival. The Emperor Meiji of Japan stood alone in a room adjacent to the entrance of the palace. He was dressed in European military uniform and the crest of his coat was decorated with orders. As [ King] Kalakaua left the carriage and entered the palace, he stepped up to the Emperor alone and extended his arm to shake hands. For the first time in Japanese history an Emperor exchanged handshakes with a foreign sovereign. ( Ogawa, 1973, p. 91)
Instead of the traditional bow, this momentous meeting between two monarchs in 1881 began with a simple handshake, which served as a precursor to friendly international relations between Japan and Hawaii. More recently, two Middle Eastern leaders greeted each other, not with the usual formal handshake, but with an embrace, and this seemingly inconsequential greeting ritual signalled a turning point in the tenor of peace negotiations.