New Special Relationship?

Donald Trump meets Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe

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The art of the perfect handshake

An entire political relationship was judged by an awkward 19-second handshake.

As Donald Trump welcomed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to the White House, the two world leaders endured a bizarre encounter where the US President pulled Mr Abe's hand back and forth, proceeding to pat it several times.

Mr Trump is famous for being a businessman, and he seems to have brought the Art of the Deal to the Oval Office. Business Insider advises that although the handshake is supposed to be a greeting gesture of equality, it can be used as a means of control.

In the world of business, a handshake can make all the difference between two people vying for the same job. According to Forbes, a Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake.

If your palm is facing upward while your companion's palm is facing downward, it allows them to have the upper-hand (literally). In the case of Mr Trump and Mr Abe, the President does not have the upper hand but reasserts his authority through the hand-on-top technique.

The Week argues that the "double hander" communicates dominance through intimacy. The technique can counteract power-players, and restrict the receiver's hand.

In the Definitive Book of Body Language, authors Barbara and Allan Pease warn not to use the double hander on a stranger. They write: "The double-hander is like a miniature hug, and is acceptable only in circumstances where a hug could also be acceptable."

Before the awkward handshake, the Japan Times reports that Mr Abe and Mr Trump shared a "brotherly hug" and warm wards of adoration.

The bromance continued with a round of golf, with the Japanese prime minister admitting, "My scores in golf are not up to the level of Donald at all."

The behaviour and body language may suggest the cultural differences between the two nations: the self-assuredness and dominance of the United States to Japan's modest and humble attitude. As the new odd couple of politics engage in talks, perhaps the US and Japan can learn a bit more from one another.

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