Japanese document in "Sherlock"
December 26, 2013 2:32 PM   Subscribe

At 3:35 in the "Unlocking Sherlock" video on PBS.org, a scroll with Japanese characters is shown on the wall.

There's a closer shot of it at 3:37. It looks a lot like some kind of martial arts rank certificate, but I don't remember any mention of Sherlock practicing a martial art formally (must watch both seasons again before January 19). Can anyone help with a translation, or some idea of what this document is?
posted by Joleta to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The shot at 3:37 is still not that great to make the certificate entirely legible. But, with a bit of Googling, I was able to find the certificate.

It is a first-degree black belt (shodan) in judo for a person named Jeffrey de Beshu. (or least, that is the phonetic rendition in Japanese). I don't watch the show, so maybe that is the name of another character. The certificate is also dated 1965 (Showa 40).

Then, after a bit more Googling, I found this as the source image.

In short, the prop people found a judo certificate for another person and hung it in the wall.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:47 PM on December 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

The canonical Sherlock Holmes was a practitioner of a martial art called "Baritsu," which was a typo for Bartitsu, a derivation of jujitsu created in the late 19th century by an Englishman (with an outstanding mustache...literally) who spent a few years in Japan. Bartitsu flared as a fad for just a few short years, and then was extinguished.

The mention of "Baritsu" in the books was actually right at this spot in the Holmes arc; this upcoming episode is called "The Empty Hearse," which is a play on "The Adventure of the Empty House," the name of the mystery in which Holmes returned to life (spoiler?) and describes his battle with Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls in Austria in "The Final Problem." (The last episode of the new series was called "The Reichenbach Fall.")

FWIW, Sherlock's travels following his apparent death included Tibet, but that was as far east as he got.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:06 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks, tanizaki. That's pretty much what I thought, but you went above and beyond.
posted by Joleta at 3:20 PM on December 26, 2013

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