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THE STORY BEHIND THE ‘CONTROVERSIAL’ YAMASHITA TREASURE3 Running Head: THE STORY BEHIND

THE STORY BEHIND THE ‘CONTROVERSIAL’ YAMASHITA TREASURE3

Running Head: THE STORY BEHIND THE ‘CONTROVERSIAL’ YAMASHITA TREASURE 1

THE STORY BEHIND THE ‘CONTROVERSIAL’ YAMASHITA TREASURE

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The Story Behind the ‘Controversial’ Yamashita Treasure

The controversial Yamashita treasure is also referred to as Fort Santiago Treasure or Yamashita’s gold. Japanese forces allegedly looted this treasure from Southeast Asian countries during World War II. People believe that the treasure was stolen from private homes, museums, mosques, commercial premises, churches, temples, depositories, and banks. This treasure was then hidden in underground complexes, tunnels, and caves in the Philippines. The treasure is named after Tomoyuki Yamashita, a Japanese army general. He was the Japanese army general in the Philippines in 1944.

According to Peggy Seagrave and Sterling Seagrave, the theft that led to Yamashita treasure was organized by Yakuza gangsters and high Japanese officials, such as the emperor, to fund Japanese war efforts during World War II. Most of the treasure was stolen in Singapore, after which it was transported to the Philippines, awaiting shipment to Japan when the war ended. Unfortunately, some of the boats that were to carry the treasure returned to Japan, and Allied warplanes and U.S. Army submarines destroyed some of them.

Peggy Seagrave and Sterling Seagrave (2001) claim that Americans already recovered most of the treasure and collaborated with Emperor Hirohito and other top Japanese officials to hide the fact that the treasure existed. America then used the treasure to fund clandestine intelligence operations during the cold war. Due to secrecy of the process, many people from the Philippines and other parts of the world continued searching for the treasure. This hunt led to financial losses, injuries, and accidental deaths among treasure hunters. According to Urban Legends, Rogelio Roxas, a Filipino, in collaboration with Yamashita’s interpreter and a former member of the Japanese army, found a treasure on State Islands in 1971. Among the recovered items were radios, samurai swords, and bayonets, which was an indicator that it was part of Yamashita’s treasure. There are various stories on Yamashita treasure all claiming different things, which makes it difficult to understand what happened to the controversial treasure. Indeed, more research on what happened to the treasure is essential.

References

Seagrave, S., & Seagrave, P. (2001). The Yamato dynasty: the secret history of Japan’s imperial family. Random House Digital, Inc..

Urban Legends. The Yamashita Treasure. https://www.wattpad.com/27838635-urban-legends-the-yamashita-treasure