American father-and-son treasure-hunting team has found an underground
tunnel complex believed to be built by the Japanese military during
World War II. Could part of the elusive Yamashita’s
treasure be buried there?
Some 14 years ago the duo had their hands full exploring the Padada
river area where they met several native members of a disbanded
Japanese treasure recovery team. Not only did their new
acquaintances possess a wealth of knowledge on where and how the
Japanese buried their stolen treasures but shared that information with
the Americans as well. They even shared the secrets of their
codebook and how the symbols in the codebook were carved on rocks and
trees to lead one to the treasure. One only had to recognize
these symbols and follow these symbols or clues and they would find the
treasure. This was the break through that the father and son
needed to understand how to find it and retrieve it.
Shortly after, they were shown a treasure map by famed local treasure
hunter James Watanabe. One of the areas he pointed
out was a steep ravine with a stream and several waterfalls emptying
into the Davao River. He told them that it was an Imperial
burial spot, which meant that there were (is) at least 50 metric tons
of gold buried there. Watanabe went on to give them many specifics
about the area and the exact area where the gold was buried.
Since this area was some 100 miles away they had thought at the time it
was an attempt by Mr. Watanabe to get them out of his area of treasure
hunting and maybe even lead them astray. After an inspection
of the area and viewing the many symbols carved on the rocks, trees,
and a plugged tunnel entrance (7’ x 12’) behind a
waterfall, they knew they were on a real Japanese Imperial burial
site. Mr. Watanabe had given them an opportunity of a
Father and son monitored the property through the years as numerous
treasure hunting groups from the Japanese to American and Australian
sought permission to excavate the area. They even documented
three stories of the Japanese coming to the area and making small
recoveries and even unearthing, along the way, bombs set as booby traps
that guard the treasure.
They carefully and discreetly made contacts in the land office so that
when the properties were put up for sale they would be the first in
line to buy. They even made friends with the caretaker of the
property. In late 2004, after 14 years of waiting, they started
purchasing several different parcels that encompassed the ravine and
surrounding hillsides as they came up for sale.
They were in a race against time with a Japanese treasure-hunting group
that also wanted to purchase the properties.
The Japanese were too late, the father and son team prevailed and
gained control of the property and are now exploring the property to
identify the locations of the treasure deposits.
In order to do this they must carefully identify each marker and plot
it on a map so they can calculate compass angles and distances to where
the gold is buried.
Their job was made easier by the caretaker of the property who had
accompanied the Japanese group who had come before them and who
possessed a treasure map.
The Japanese had already found the many markers and had
pointed out the symbols carved on the various rocks and trees to the
caretaker. So it was just a matter of the caretaker pointing
out the markers as he did on their initial inspection of the
area. Now that they owned it they could make a more detailed
inspection of the property, which uncovered even more
markers. They made several strenuous walks up the stream to
view the waterfall and the plugged tunnel entrance that laid
(lay) behind it, with the many symbols carved on its surface.
While exploring the property they found several open tunnel entrances
only to be stopped a short distance inside the tunnel by cave-ins or,
in one case, a carefully sealed tunnel.
They are only waiting for the heavy rains to stop before they start
Will they find the treasure of Yamashita somewhere inside the
mountain? Who will ever know for sure? The mystery
of Yamashita’s Treasure continues to be shrouded in a cloak
of secrecy as those who know about it and those who do find it (,) say