Have you ever wondered about the things that the Japanese believed in that would have led them to do what they did in the 1930’s and 1940’s? Why do they bow instead of shake hands? How did they think of the Emperor?
The Emperor of Japan was thought to be a living incarnation of a God. Most of the Japanese people had never heard him speak until they heard the announcement that Japan was seeking peace with the United States in 1945. Emperor Hirohito was the ruling Emperor during that time. He passed away in 1989.
Three days after the bomb fell on Nagasaki he was able to overthrow a military coup and take control of the country.
The reason that the Japanese people bow is as a greeting and a sign of respect. They will do it for different amounts of time depending on the reason.