The Underwater City of Yonaguni

by Marios Mavromichalis
The Underwater City of Yonaguni
The Underwater City of Yonaguni

A submerged rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan

It was actually by accident that Kihachiro Aratake made the discovery of what scientists are calling, the archeological find of the century. He came across the mysterious find while diving off the coast of Yonaguni Jima, an island located 67 miles from Taiwan, in search of a new spot to view hammerhead sharks from.

However, he inadvertently strayed outside of the designated safety zone and was taken by surprise when he saw what appeared to be a massive stone structure sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor. He swam closer to investigate his discovery and was in awe at how colossal it was. The structure was approximately 240 feet long and 90 feet wide, with an arranged pattern of monolithic blocks, black and gaunt. Due to the heavy encrustation of coral, it was difficult to determine exactly what it was. Curious, he encircled it, again and again, taking photographs before returning to shore.

The next morning, he awoke to find his pictures plastered on the front page of every major newspaper in Japan. News of his discovery traveled quickly, and instantly attracted diving archeologists, news media people, and curious non professionals to the dive site. Controversy grew at the same quick pace as researchers and scholars debated over its origin. Were these structures man-made or simply formations caused by natural elements?

Since then, Professor Masaaki Kimura has made more than 100 dives and has extensively mapped out the area. He believes he has stumbled across the remains of a 5,000 year old city beneath the ocean. A total of ten structures were discovered at Yonaguni, and another five off the main island of Okinawa. Combined, the ruins cover an area measuring 984 feet by 492 feet.

Among the Yonaguni Jima ruins Professor Masaaki discovered – a stepped, stone structure measuring 82 feet high that dates back to 8,000 B.C. and closely resembles a stepped pyramid. It is also referred to as the world's oldest building. It's design has been compared to various pyramids found in the America’s and could prove to be one of the most important archeological discovery of the last fifty years.

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