Edmund M. H. Simon was born February 22, 1882 the son of a Protestant wholesaler in Dresden. After an initial visit to the local citizen school he graduated from the High School of the Holy Cross, which he left Easter 1902 with testimony of university entrance qualification. He studied law in Tübingen, Berlin, and Greifswald, and besides the Japanese language at the seminar of oriental languages in Berlin, where after a study of four semesters he graduated with the diploma examination in that language with the predicate “good” in July 1904. In spring of 1907 he passed the first state law examination at the Royal Higher Regional Court to Stettin and subsequently became a royal Prussian articled clerk. With his dissertation he graduated from the University of Greifswald with the degree of Doctor of Laws. In February 1908, he accepted the appointment as an interpreter and stayed in Japan until August 1910.
Simon visited Okinawa in 1910. His detailed field research led to another inaugural dissertation for a PhD from the philosophical faculty of the Royal University of Leipzig in 1912, which was published in 1913. On a scope of 182 pages, it is divided in two parts: geographical contributions (chapter I.-VII.) and ethnological contributions (chapter VIII.-XIV.). It includes 159 maps, plans, illustrations, and photos. The photos were all originals, as unequivocally can be seen in the captions, where the term ‘Originalaufnahme’ is given: this refers to an original photo, not a copy from elsewhere. Accordingly, the photos were taken by or for Simon himself and provided for the printing of the book in Germany. This work is of particular ethnological importance.
Among the photos is found one with the caption
“Alter Mann aus Shuri nebst Frau und Enkeltochter. Originalaufnahme.”
In 1983, seventy years later, the photo was discovered by Okinawan Karate researchers and an article published identifying the person as Kinjō Ufuchiku:
“Master of Bujutsu 130 years ago: Original photography discovered in the data collection in Shuri.” By Nakamoto Masahiro, Gushiken Shōichi.
Today this photo has become famous.
It was shot by Edmund M. H. Simon, PhD, in 1910, and published in 1913. The whereabouts of the original negative and possible copies are unknown.
Copies of the book can also be found in US libraries, including the Library of Congress, Harvard University, Yale University Library, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and others.
© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.