As a treasure hunter, it is quite important for you to be able to identify “decoy” or “dummy” signs. It’s because failure on this aspect can lead to a lot of your precious time, effort, and cost all going to waste.

Unfortunately, many treasure hunters do fall victims of these fake signs where they often end giving up on their projects.

When it comes to the Yamashita treasures hidden by the Japanese Imperial Army (JIA) back in the previous World War 2, they used a lot of decoy markings.

The main purpose of these dummy signs is to cause confusion to any unauthorized individuals from attempting to recover the hidden treasures. Thus, it is intended against all treasure seekers out there.

The worse part of falling into the decoy signs is that, they will point you into the wrong direction leading you into a dangerous trap. Again, many treasure hunters have fallen into this clever trickery by the JIA where they got seriously injured while some even lost their lives.

What do dummy signs look like?

If you have a list of the Yamashita treasure codes, you will notice that the dummy signs do have slight similarities to those that are authentic.

Wrong Arrow Sign

One good and simple example of a decoy sign is an arrow. A plain arrow engraved on a certain surface of an object is a legit sign where it is pointing you towards the correct direction.

However, if you notice a small line that intersects the body of the arrow, it means that the correct direction is actually at the opposite side of the portion where the arrow’s head is pointing at.

Again, decoy signs do look and appear slightly the same as the authentic signs but with some slight variations. Thus, whenever you encountered some engrave symbols, you really have to take a close look at them to make sure that you will not miss any of the small details.

Aside from decoy signs that are engraved, they may also come in the form of objects as markers. Some examples include pipes, timbers, metal bars, concretes, strange rocks, and etc…

Let’s say for example that your encountered metal pipes in your diggings. As a treasure hunter, it is a common decision to dig your way under the ground by following the same direction as the metal pipes.

The metal pipes should lead you into the chamber where you can finally recover the hidden deposit.

But, this won’t be the case if it happens that the metal pipes are dummy markers. Instead, they will lead you into a dead-end.

Avoiding Dummy Treasure Signs

I have to admit that avoiding dummy treasure signs can be very challenging.

Basing from my own personal experience, I often realize a certain sign as a decoy when we already shifted or continued our diggings in the wrong direction. Sometimes, we also ended up at a dead-end which is often far away from where the deposit is buried.

One of our common errors is that, we sometimes miss certain signs that give warning about the decoy markers.

Being able to realize that you have been tricked by decoy markers even to the point that you work your way hard just to reach a dead-end is actually much better than not realizing it.

You can always go back from the start particularly at the portion where you encountered the dummy sign. The good thing here is that, you have finally eliminated your chances of heading towards the wrong direction.

On your second attempt, you can rest assured of yourself that your chances of digging your way towards the hidden treasure are increased.

Anyway, the only possible way for you to avoid dummy treasure signs is that, you must have the right knowledge of being able to interpret signs. And most importantly, you have the necessary experience.

I do have a fellow treasure hunter who cannot even read or write. This means that he failed on the aspect of “knowledge”. But through experience, I find him quite amazing when it comes to digging the Yamashita treasures.

He can literally dig the buried treasure on his own without much relying to signs and markers that he encounters. Through experience, he can read a lot of details about what the ground says. The soil and the rocks can provide him such remarkable information.

Sometimes, I have my own doubts though that his skill of being able to read the ground for information did not came from his experience but a God given talent.

Until now, I’m still trying to learn from him.

Give-Aways are Considered Decoys

This is the most interesting part when it comes to decoys. We have the so called give-aways which are small portion of the main treasure that is hidden somewhere around the area far from the location of the main deposit.

Gold Bar Give Away

They often come in single piece or few pieces only. Some common give-aways includes one single piece of gold bar, gold/silver coin, a precious jewelry, and etc…

When discovered, especially by amateur treasure hunters, it often gives them the wrong impression. They immediately concluded to themselves that they recovered the hidden Yamashita treasure. So they left the site right away to enjoy their small finding.

But, little do they know that the main deposit remains hidden somewhere around their excavation site.

In short, give-aways are not really meant as an extra bonus. It is intended to be a decoy and it seems to be quite a very effective clever method by the JIA.

23 Comments to “Identifying Japanese Treasure Decoy Signs”

  • Thanks for the info Sir, it’s very important. Among the hard cement used by the JIA in hiding their loot, one of the hardest is the bluish-colored cement rumored to be made by their Imperial Navy. So if your prospective site is near the seashore, you are most likely going to encounter this. For beginners, better to look for a site with a deposit contained in a box which is far-far easier than that of a common one.

    By the way sir, had to do business with the Ponte Group/Zach Anderson? Are they legit/reliable? Also can you email me the names of other good buyers?


    • I am sorry, I know nothing about those gold buyers that you mentioned here on your comment. It’s because I do have my own trusted private buyer. It is just too sad to say that they do not want me to advertise their services here on my blog.

      Anyway, thanks for the additional feedback about the bluish colored hard concrete. I also did encountered one and it is so tough to break.

  • Good day Sir,

    Can I asked your interpretation of what we dug at 3ft?

    We encountered a pit under ground made of limestone we found broken Japs bottle, spots of tars and a twisted rod that form of twisted rod is like this °X° lying under.

    What confuses me is the inside below legs of this twisted rod a small wire tied on the upper right side leg. I think it is only a sign because it is not connected into object that trigger the form of the small wire is like this °““\`/“““

    ( Note: slanted line, circle etc… are connected in this drawing illustration.) My question, is this small wire a sign of a booby trap set up under the ground? Or a sign of a deposit?

    Thank you in advance for your reply God bless.

    • Those broken bottles, spot of tars and many other man-made materials were commonly used by the Japanese Imperial Army as a sign to indicate that there is a hidden treasure on that spot.

      The twisted rods that formed an X with two dots on its sides means, there are two separate deposits that are placed on the sides of that particular spot.

      As for the wire, if it is uncut or it goes way down under the ground, there is a huge possibility that it is connected to a booby trap. Since in your case is not then it is probably just one among the signs.

  • Sir I want to ask something. Our house got a weird texture of soil. A dark red soil that won’t get dry at all.

    Underneath our house, they dug up for a basement but they never get the whole part of the house because of hard rough rock (like a coral) but we figured out that, that is a man made rock with a cement.

    They already got 2 big cement rocks rolled outside the house. Its shiny and white. Problem is there is no visible sign like the normal site. But my grandfather got a close clam shell with the same cement components of the big cement rocks.

    What do you think of this area, positive for deposit?

    Thanks Sir.

    • A soil that don’t dry is indeed strange which I think there are some kind of materials that are mixed on it. Anyway, if that kind of soil can only be found at the area around the foundation of your house then it is probably a sign.

      The man-made rock with a cement that you recovered needs further inspection. Try to figure it out if its weight is not too heavy for its size. If it is not then probably, something is stored hidden inside it.

      As for your question, I could still not confirm if your site is positive or not. Thus, you should do further surveying and perhaps some minor diggings.

  • Hi sir Elmo, what is the meaning of the sign like an apple engraved in the hard stone?

    • It represents the precious hidden treasure in that area.

  • Good day sir Elmo, I am new subscriber to your YT channel. Can I ask you some interpretation about our TH activity? We found a one broken bottle just a half of it instead of a glass where in stated in the book, as we continue digging we also found a handle only of a shovel which we found also under wherein we’ve got the broken bottle. I am very much appreciate and Hope you will share your opinions.

    • Bottles, shovels, and other objects found under the ground are good markers which indicate that you are following the correct direction or digging the correct spot towards the hidden item. Thus, if you keep on recovering such objects then that’s good because they are guiding you.

  • Dear Sir Elmo,

    We just dug parts of a broken jar 10 feet below our corn field 15 meters away from a very big tree. As we continue digging, we found a pile of logs 2 feet long after 25 feet of digging. What can you say or advice because as of now we are already in the water?

    • This must be a tunnel deposit because of the presence of those logs. Anyway, try to follow the directions of those logs.

  • Sir good afternoon. We saw a big foot stone marker after we dig 1ft and under that foot there have plenty of bottles. What is the meaning of that Sir? Are we on the right spot? Because the bottles are only under in the big foot stone marker.

    • I suggest that you should dig a little bit deeper on that spot because there might be some additional markers.

  • Sir Elmo,

    Good day, kindly help us. I want to send to you photos of possible treasure signs for you to interpret correctly. I have many locations and I need someone like you with huge knowledge to assist us.

    Thank you & regards.

  • Give-away treasure can also hide in boulder rock?

    • Yes, that’s correct.

  • How can I buy books about dummy and real signs?

    • I do not know if someone is selling them but for my copies, I am giving them away for free but I really do not have the time to sort them out.

  • Sir, I’m from the Philippines. Do you know anyone who wants to buy and operate areas which have positive Yamashita treasures? The signs on the walls are not till in the dug out. Turtles, asterisk, bird etc.

    • Yes, they are an Australian Firm. I’ll try to check some info about them and post about it later here in my blog.

  • Dear sir Elmo,

    I’m from Northern Luzon. I would like to ask for your help. We have a project site, we have a pipe dug inside, 2 meters below the ground. There are going to and north, south, east and west. it’s rusty and can’t be detected by the magnet, and there’s something like paste inside, when we washed the pipe, it hardened like paste and was spicy in the hand .. what does the pipe mean. thank you very much and God bless you

    • The pipe as a marker is a “direction”. One of its end is actually the direction in which you need to follow.

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