When this treasure was found in 1963, at the time it was valued at 600,000,000 yen, and today it’s worth more than 10 billion yen.
What is Japan’s buried treasure?
Primarily, they’re war funds from the 12th to 19th century hidden by powerful clans and daimyo during times of crisis.
The general term for this hidden treasure is “maizoukin” (buried treasure; where they’re located is unknown.)
The area where it’s buried and the story of the size of the treasure is called “maizoukin densetsu” (the legend of buried treasure.)
However, if the stories were accurate, the buried treasure should have been found a long time ago.
After the fall of the daimyo and the long history since, the whereabouts have become ambiguous. On top of that, the story gets embellished and the whole story gets exaggerated.
For example, all over Japan we’ve found buried treasure currently valued at some ten million to hundred million yen, but it’s said that there are treasures worth hundred billions and trillions. We’ve never found anything of such an enormous sum.
The buried treasure that is found in the modern area is mostly the hidden property of rich farmers and merchants.
“Buried treasure” is treasure that has been unaccounted for.
In Japan, sometimes koban (former gold coins) or copper coins are found at excavation investigations or public works sites.
After World War II alone, there have been about 50 reported discoveries.
The Buried Treasure of the House of Tokugawa
Chief Minister: Ii Naosuke
Itoi Shigesato’s Tokugawa Buried Treasure Exhumation Project
This buried treasure legend concerns the House of Tokugawa, which had a long-standing rule for much of Japan’s 250 year-long Edo Period.
These were the war funds used by the shogunate for emergencies after the Bakumatsu era’s chief minister Ii Naosuke was assassinated in the Sakuradamon Incident.
They concealed 400 koban coins, and if converted to today’s money, it’s said to be worth less than a few billion yen.
In the 1990s, a TV program used an excavator to dig a hole in the ground. While it was being ridiculed by being called “the great public works TV show,” it earned a great boom in popularity.
This is probably the most famous buried treasure legend in Japan.
The Legend of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Buried Treasure
Totoyomi Hidetoshi’s counterweight gold
It’s said that the current value of this would be about 200 trillion yen, and it’s a very famous buried treasure that sometimes gets written about again in the mass media.
From the Middle Ages to the modern era, Inagawa, in the southwestern part of Hyogo, has always been at the center of silver and gold production.
This is a buried treasure legend that concerns Tadakinzan.
When Toyotomi Hidetoshi was nearing death he was unhappy about his son Hideyori’s fate.
One part of the war funds meant for the Imjin War troops dispatch was the “Tenshou Ooban” worth 410 million ryo (the then-currency) and 30,000 kan (~3.75kg) of gold nuggets (about 112 tons, along with Totoyomi Hidetoshi’s counterweight gold.) That Tadakinzan hid it somewhere inside a huge tunnel.
There are still traces of that tunnel that Tadakinzan built.
Tadakinzan built a silver mine tunnel that had an extensive diameter around the former Settsu Province (now Kawanishi, Hyogo), Inagawa, as well as Ikeda.
Takeda Shingen’s Buried Treasure
Koushoukin, Japan’s first system of currency
This buried treasure legend is said to be what the famous daimyo of the Warring States period, Takeda Shingen, left. He was the person to develop Japan’s first large-scale gold mine (including mining and refining the ore).
He was a military commander of distinguished war service, and they say he created the country’s first gold coins called Koushoukin. Because if that, it’s certain that out of all the daimyo in Japan at the time, he boasted the biggest fortune.
That might be the origin of this legend.
After Takeda Shingen died, Toyotomi Seiken lost those techiques, and the House of Tokugawa took over the country.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune’s Buried Treasure
Minamoto no Yoshitsune
Fujiwara no Hidehira
Minamoto no Yoshitsune was overthrown by his older brother, Minamoto no Yoritomo, so he fled to Hokkaido by ferry. In order to restore his home, the legend states that he hid a large amount of war funds.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune had a large powerful family in Oshu where he had an abundant amount of gold dust, which propped up the Oushuu Fujiwarashi.
Since Fujiwara no Hidehira was his patron, it can’t be said that this is an unfounded rumor.
After Yoshitsune died, it’s said that definitely left a lot behind.