The largest golden hoard in history has already taken dozens of lives, but people keep searching for it with even more greed.
The gold of Yamashita – a general in the Japanese Imperial army – is apparently hidden in the Philippines, and the search for it attracts treasure hunters from all over the world. The story begins during WWII, when powerful Japan occupied many Asian countries and robbed them of their riches. The legend says that the treasure was transported from Singapore and concealed in the Philippines. The Japanese dug underground caches that could be accessed only from adjacent natural caves. After the work was finished, cruel Yamashita ordered for all the engineers, construction workers and guards to be walled inside. Thus he got rid of everyone who knew about the treasure's location.
Historians doubt the veracity of these events, but since the hoard's value could reach hundreds of billions of dollars, even die-hard skeptics are tempted to try their luck. Treasure hunters have been buying land with WWII-era structures on it, hiring workers and even heavy equipment.
In 1953, Japanese entrepreneur Minoru Fukumitsu tried to find the treasure. He interviewed circa 300 men who had fought against Yamashita, searched in the archives of Tokyo, Manila and Washington, and followed the trail of the Imperial army, but failed to find anything of value.
Interestingly, news of finds in the Philippines sometimes appear in the media. In 1981, a bulldozer driver discovered a chest filled with jewelry and gold items 800 km from Manila, for a total worth of several million dollars. In 2017, a video was published on the web showing gold bars in a half-inundated cave.
There is also a theory that Tomoyuki Yamashita's treasure has long been found. But how, where and by whom? Some say that in 1945 the US army secretly transferred the looted gold to the States. The treasure was supposedly used to finance the Black Eagle fun, created to conduct the Cold War with the USSR. However, the theory isn't supported by any solid evidence.
Another hypothesis says that the Japanese did return some of the loot in the early 1950s, when they removed the broken warships that were blocking the naval routes.
Finally, some believe that the treasure was accidentally found by a Philippine plumber called Rogelio Rojas and then confiscated by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who had ruled the county in the 70's.
Perhaps Yamashita's treasure is still there in the Philippine caves, and one day we'll hear about its chance discovery.
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