Shinzo Abe went to Canada, and all he got was this corny door-knocker

Image of the week: After a pleasant visit to our nation's capital, the Japanese PM and his wife installed the beaver-shaped hardware back home—and showed it off on Instagram

Stills from an Instagram video posted on PM Hinzo Abe’s account showing the PM and his wife, Akie Abe, installing a wooden door knocer recently brought home from Canada. (@shinzoabe/Instagram)

A year ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s friendliest allies. They golfed together. They wore matching hats that said “Make Alliance Even Greater.” Abe even tried to nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. But last week, Abe’s trip to Washington, D.C., was soured by disagreements on trade—as usual, Trump wanted to make America great at the expense of everyone else, this time aiming at Japan’s auto exports and agricultural protectionism. Their clash set the stage for a more pleasant weekend in and around Ottawa, where Abe may have breathed a sigh of relief in the company of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who no doubt sympathizes with Abe’s frustrations. Both leaders have long championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership; over the weekend, Trudeau—despite a couple embarrassing gaffes, twice mistakenly saying “China” when he meant “Japan”—spoke proudly of Canadian beef exports to Japan, while Abe talked up Japan’s tech exports to Canada. One item not found among their talking points: a wooden door-knocker Abe picked up as a souvenir. Early on May 2, Abe posted a pleasant Instagram video of himself nailing the piece, adorned by a wooden beaver, to the door frame of their villa in Lake Kawaguchi. A light, airy score bounces in the background while Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, giggles during a trial run. The quintessentially Japanese video racked up more than 120,000 views in its first 10 hours online. One wonders if an unexpected Japanese demand for Canadian beaver-shaped door-knockers will follow—the two countries might need to renegotiate the TPP to accommodate the surge.