the ancient underwater pyramid structure off the coast of Yonaguni-jima, Japan – as seen by Dr. Robert M. Schoch – page three –

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an image of the walkway and gutters carved into the underwater pyramid at Yonaguni
an image of tool-marks on bedrock near the Yonaguni underwater pyramid
an image of Dr Robert M. Schoch taking samples of encrustations on the Yonaguni No. 1 Monument for analysis

an image of the Main Steps on the Yonaguni underwater pyramid

an image of the Mizo Stairs on the Yonaguni underwater pyramid

The following pages are intended to provide news of recent developments in various studies of the mysterious pyramid
structure that was discovered in 1985 by dive tour operator, Kihachiro Aratake, off the coast of the island of
Yonaguni-jima, Japan. Since 1999, when The Morien Institute first set up some webpages detailing the
‘1999 Yonaguni Expedition’ of Dr Robert M. Schoch we have been inundated with enquiries from
all parts of the world. Those initial pages contained only the opinions of Dr Schoch, and were
liberally illustrated with underwater photographs taken by Dr Schoch during that
1999 expedition. Others who have dived at Yonaguni have different opinions of
the structure, and we also intend to present their views on these pages.


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Books about the Yonaguni underwater structures

“Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations”

Dr Robert M. Schoch

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“The great 19th-century battle between catastrophists and uniformitarians seemed to end with the notion of global cataclysms being dismissed as a back door to the supernatural.

But the catastrophist theory has gradually become more and more plausible, so that now, less than a hundred years later, it is widely believed that mass extinctions are linked to meteor strikes.”

“Voyages of the

Pyramid Builders”

Dr Robert M. Schoch

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“Is it a mere coincidence that pyramids are found across our globe? Did cultures ranging across vast spaces in geography and time, such as the ancient Egyptians; early Buddhists; the Maya, Inca, Toltec, and Aztec civilizations of the Americas; the Celts of the British Isles; and even the Mississippi Indians of pre-Columbian Illinois, simply dream the same dreams and envision the same structures?

Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids:

Only Available On NTSC DVD

Do undersea relics near Okinawa offer proof of a sophisticated civilization during the last ice age?

“Underworld: Flooded
Kingdoms of the
Ice Age”

Graham Hancock

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“From Graham Hancock, bestselling author of Fingerprints of the Gods, comes a mesmerizing book that takes us on a captivating underwater voyage to find the ruins of a lost civilization that’s been hidden for thousands of years beneath the world’s oceans. While Graham Hancock is no stranger to stirring up heated controversy among scientific experts, his books and television documentaries have intrigued millions of people around the world and influenced many to rethink their views about the origins of human civilization.

Now he returns with an explosive new work of archaeological detection. In Underworld, Hancock continues his remarkable quest underwater, where, according to almost a thousand ancient myths from every part of the globe, the ruins of a lost civilization, obliterated in a universal flood, are to be found.”

“Heaven’s Mirror”

Graham Hancock

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Hancock’s chief thesis in

“Heaven’s Mirror”
is that numerous ancient sites and monuments – the pyramids of Mexico and Egypt, the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the monuments of Yonaguni in the Pacific, and the megaliths of Peru and Bolivia – are situated in such a way, geodetically, that they point towards some separate and uniform influence, some lost civilization or “invisible college” of astronomer-priests.

“Origins of the Sphinx:

Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization”


Robert M. Schoch Ph.D.


Robert Bauval

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Dr Robert M. Schoch continues his
Yonaguni investigation

On Yonaguni Island and elsewhere in the Okinawa area there appears to be an ancient tradition of modifying, enhancing, and improving on nature. On Yonaguni there are very old tombs (age unknown, but possibly on the order of thousands of years old) that stylistically appear to be comparable to the “architecture” of the Yonaguni Monument. There is still other evidence of some kind of human working of the local stone on Yonaguni.

Scattered over the island are apparently very ancient (age unknown), obviously human-carved, stone “vessels”. These are composed of local rock, and clearly were neither made nor transported to the island in modern (that is, in the last 500 years or so) times. These stone vessels remain somewhat of a mystery, as does the Yonaguni Monument and other underwater structures reported in the Okinawa area.

On Yonaguni beautifully crafted ancient stone tools have been found that could have been used to both shape some of the stone vessels and other objects, as well as to modify the Yonaguni Monument that is now found underwater.

an image of the very ancient stone vessels scattered around the island of Yonaguni-jima
Copyright 1999 Dr. Robert M. Schoch

Even if it is a primarily natural structure, it may have been reshaped to serve as foundation for stone, timber, or mud buildings that have since been destroyed.

Or it may have even served as some form of boat dock for an early seafaring people. I believe that the art and architecture of the area may have been influenced by the natural geomorphology of the Yonaguni Monument and similar structures.

Over the last few years, Professor Kimura has perhaps softened his position somewhat regarding how much of the Yonaguni Monument is “man-made” or “artificial” and how much is “natural”. Most recently Dr. Kimura has been referring to the Yonaguni Monument and related structures as being “terraformed”, that is natural geological features that have been manipulated or modified by human hands.

This is essentially the position that I have come to, so perhaps Dr. Kimura and I are converging in our opinions of the Yonaguni Monument. If there is evidence of some human modification of a natural structure off the coast of Yonaguni Island, why were the people of ancient times so interested in this particular spot? One suggestion is that 10,000 years ago Yonaguni was located very close to the Tropic of Cancer.

an image of one of the tombs on Yonaguni Jima island
Copyright 1999 Dr. Robert M. Schoch

Today the Tropic of Cancer is located at approximately 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude, while Yonaguni Island is located a full degree further north.

However, the position of the Tropic of Cancer varies over the millennia, from under 22 degrees to over 24 degrees, according to a 41,000 year cycle.

In about 8000 B.C. the Yonaguni Monument was located very close to the Tropic of Cancer. Perhaps it was the site of an astronomically-aligned shrine.

In conclusion, based on my preliminary reconnaissance of the Yonaguni Monument, I am not yet absolutely convinced that it is an artificial structure – but in my opinion, even if it is primarily natural, it may have been modified by human actions in ancient times. This enigmatic structure merits more detailed examination.”


“It was through the generosity of Mr. Yasuo Watanabe, (Japan Medical Dynamic Marketing [MDM], Inc., Tokyo) that I was able to first visit Yonaguni Island and explore the Yonaguni Monument on 23-24 September 1997. I sincerely thank him for his hospitality and patronage.

Mr. Graham Hancock was instrumental in arranging the trip to Yonaguni, and Graham Hancock and his wife Santha Faiia joined me there to dive on the Monument.

Mr. John Anthony West also accompanied me to Yonaguni in September 1997. Mr. Shun Daichi (New Perspectives Quarterly, Tokyo Correspondent) also joined us in diving, and provided me with various reference materials on the Yonaguni Monument and help in translating.

Mr. Kihachiro Aratake, who actually discovered the Yonaguni Monument, was our guide for the dives, and dive masters Mr. Hiroshi-Kubota and Ms. Yoshimi Matsumura provided us with invaluable assistance, as did Ms. Megumi Kondo (MDM), Ms. Akiko Ito (MDM), Mr. Ken Yamada (Ortho Development Corporation, Utah), Mr. Dale Kimsey (Ortho), and Mr. Steve Hubbard (Ortho).

I returned to Japan in late July and early August 1998 to further study the Yonaguni Monument and related structures as a member of the Team Atlantis multi-disciplinary underwater research team and documentary film project. I thank Mr. Michael Arbuthnot for organizing this effort and inviting me to participate. Mr. Boris Said, producer for Team Atlantis, was immensely helpful in making sure that everything worked out.

The project would have been impossible without the assistance of Ms. Iris DeMauro, who gave freely of her time and energy throughout the expedition and allowed us to stay at her family’s beach house in Okinawa during the latter half of the trip.

Dr. James J. Hurtak and Dr. John T. Dorwin also participated in this trip; sharing freely of their knowledge and opinions, they gave me much food for thought. Also in Japan with the Team Atlantis 1998 expedition were Ms. Janet Arbuthnot, Mr. Christopher DeFelice, Ms. Sarah Kingston, Mr. Peter McDougall, Mr. Vince Pace, Mr. D. J. Roller, Mr. Matthew Sapero (the excellent webmaster for now defunct), and Ms. Sandy Wright. I thank them all for their participation.

In Japan we were assisted by many people; in particular I would like to single out Mr. Kihachiro Aratake, Mr. Atsushi Mori, and Ms. Chie Mikami of Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corporation.

Finally, I extend a heartfelt thanks to Dr. Masaaki Kimura for his hospitality. Dr. Kimura met with us numerous times during our stay and explained in detail his ideas regarding the Yonaguni Monument and similar structures. I greatly appreciate his years of research.”

a photo of Dr. Masaaki Kimura, and Dr. Robert M. Schoch

Copyright 1999 Dr. Robert M. Schoch

Dr. Robert M. Schoch and Dr. Masaaki Kimura
Yonaguni Island, 1999


Look back at Dr. Robert M. Schoch’s
Yonaguni investigation on
page one &
page two

Compare Dr Schoch’s views on the
Yonaguni structure with

the radically different views

of Prof. Masaaki Kimura

Read Dr Schoch’s views on the

ancient rainwater-erosion controversy

of Egypt’s Great Sphinx


Further reading about the Yonaguni monument

and Ice Age civilisation as recommended by
Dr Robert M. Schoch

Barot, Trushar, 1998. “Divers find world’s oldest building.” The Sunday Times, London, (26 April 1998), page 4.

Hancock, Graham, and Faiia, Santha, 1998,

Heaven’s Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization”
London: Michael Joseph.

Joseph, Frank, 1997, “Underwater City found near Japan” Ancient America, vol. 3, #17 (March/April 1997), pp. 2-6.

Minamiyama, Hiroshi, 1997, “Bottom of the Ocean Ooparts [Out of Place Artifacts]”. Tokyo: Futami Shobo, Publisher. 302 pages. ISBN 4-576-97087-9. [In Japanese. The Yonaguni Monument and related structures are discussed on pp. 11-46.]

Schoch, Robert M., with McNally, Robert Aquinas 1999,

“Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations”
New York: Harmony, Crown Publishing Group, Random House. The recently updated

(UK edtion)
is now also available worldwide …


History’s Mysteries

“Do undersea relics near Okinawa offer proof of a sophisticated civilization during the last ice age?

Archeologists have long believed that civilization as they define it — intelligent, tool-making, monument building, social humans — began about 5,000 years ago.

But submerged beneath the waves near the Japanese island of Yonaguni is evidence that may well overturn that long-held theory.

A small but persuasive number of scholars and scientists have long thought that “advanced” societies may have existed as long as 10,000 years ago.

Their theories, however well reasoned and defended, have been hamstrung by a lack of evidence.

But recent discoveries of man-made artifacts on the Pacific seafloor may well prove to be the smoking gun that will propel this alternative view of civilization to prominence”.

see the evidence with ‘unique underwater footage’
of the various Yonaguni structures in the
‘History Channel’ TV programme

“Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids”





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