Shining Light on Ancient Questions: Underwater Pyramid in Japan

A pyramid-like structure has been found underwater off the coast of Japan that might change what we know about early civilization, ancient communication, and ‘lost-continent’ myths like Atlantis.

In 1985, dive tour operator Kihachiro Aratake discovered a massive stone structure off the coast of the island of Yonaguni-Jima that appeared similar to the pyramids of Egypt. The structure has been described as having “wide terraces, ramps and large steps,” and has become a source of controversy for the archaeological community. Only recently has the American media paid any attention to this earth-shaking discovery.

The controversy is over whether these structures (multiple have been found since the 1985 discovery) are naturally formed or truly manmade. Professor of Physics and Earth Sciences at the University at the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Masaaki Kimura is one of the leading researchers of the Yonaguni ‘monument.’ He has been studying the structure for over ten years and claims to have made the dive over 100 times. When asked what he thought the most interesting feature of the Yonaguni structure was, Prof. Kimura described “a rock similar to a face of a man, the height of which is about 7m. Its eyes are artificial and, a famous free diver, Jacques Mayol liked them very much. Therefore, we call them ‘Jacques eyes.'”

Professor Kimura’s main debater, Dr. Robert M. Schoch, a geology professor from Boston University, claims that “we should also consider the possibility that the Yonaguni Monument is fundamentally a natural structure that was utilized, enhanced, and modified by humans in ancient times.” The debate rages on in light of the hypotheses of these scientists whether the structure was manmade or, perhaps, terra-formed.

In response to skeptics of his theories, Prof. Kimura stated that, “There are only a few archaeologists who can dive and study the monument first-hand. So, other academics who haven’t seen the monument with their own eyes are drawing conclusions based on imagination.”

If Professor Kimura is correct, however, what we know about human civilization might be shaken at its core. For the structure to have been constructed by people, it must have been formed above the point of submersion where it currently lays, which means that it would have to have been crafted around 8000 B.C., 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. However, scientists currently understand man in the ice-age as being primarily hunter-gatherers. If Prof. Kimura’s theory is correct, then humans became civilized much earlier than we thought!

Another tantalizing idea has to do with the similarities with the Yonaguni structure and other pyramid structures in the world, such as those in Egypt and the Mayan pyramids in Mexico. Today, communication is vast and constantly increasing in speed with the advent of tools like the telephone and the internet. Thousands of years ago, however, word spread only as fast as the current transportation, such as ship and horseback, could carry it, limiting the spread of technology. The Egyptian and Mayan pyramids have perplexed scientists on how such similar structures were erected around the same time thousands of miles apart from each other with such limited means of communication. If the Yonaguni structure is in fact a manmade pyramid, we can add the Far East to the list of ancient inter-communicators.

Some even believe that this discovery could be a step to finding Mu, or the ‘lost continent.’ Myths like Mu and Atlantis intrigue scientists because if any of them are true, then there were ancient civilizations further back than we had imagined! Ancient stories of a great flood span the entire globe, from Noah’s Ark in Genesis to stories of Matsya in the Hindu Puranas. Further study of the Yonaguni structure could give light to these ancient myths and great stories.

Many efforts are being made to further pursue information and understanding of the Yonaguni structure, such as those being made by the Morien Institute, a non-profit research organization committed to making education and research on ancient astronomy and archaeology accessible globally. Much of the information gathered to write this article came from the Morien Institute. For further information visit