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Mu: a clue to a legendary lost kingdom in Ojima Komatsugawa park

A few days ago I was cycling down the River Arakawa when I came to Ojima Komatsugawa park. Being on a spur of land that juts out into the river, it’s surrounded by water on three sides. At the top of the hill in the middle of the park, I came across this startlingly beautiful sculpture. A plaque informs passersby that it was created to commemorate the lost continent of Mu, which sank into the Pacific Ocean 12,000 years ago.

Mu – the name rang a distant, bleary bell. ‘The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu,’ better known as KLF, were an acid house band that had a number one hit back in the early ‘90s with a song called Doctorin’ the Tardis. They are best known for burning £1m, equivalent to all of their earnings from their music, before deleting their back catalogue and announcing their departure from the music business.

Mu – I’ll have to Google that when I get home, I thought to myself. That I did, and this is what it told me. Mu was ‘discovered’ in 1894 by a French archaeologist called Augustus Le Plongeon, while he was investigating some Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Le Plongeon claimed to be the first European to translate the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the K’iche people. It told him that the Mayans had first arrived in Central America from an even older continent. This was Mu, also known as Atlantis, the mythical land said to have sunk into the Atlantic Ocean in the days when Arthur was King of England.

According to Le Plongeon, Mu sank beneath the waves after being struck by a series of disastrous volcanic explosions. One of the few survivors of the calamity was Queen Mu, who managed to sail to Egypt, where she founded the civilization of Ancient Egypt.
Le Plongeon’s nutty theory would doubtless have died with him, were it not for the British fisherman, inventor and occult writer James Churchward, a native of Okehampton in Devon, England (which I only mention because it’s just down the road from my own hometown). In a series of books, beginning with Lost Continent of Mu, the Motherland of Man (1926), Churchward revived the Frenchman’s hypothesis but insisted that Mu had been in the Pacific, not the Atlantic.

Churchward ‘rediscovered’ Mu while serving as a British soldier in India, where he claimed to have befriended a high-ranking temple priest who showed him a set of ancient clay tablets. They were written in a long lost ‘Naga-Maya language’ which only two other people in India could read.

After convincing the priest to teach him the dead language of Mu, “the place where man first appeared,” Churchward was able to decipher them. They tell the story of how Earth, Mu, and the Naacal civilization were created by the seven commands of the seven superlative intellects of the seven-headed serpent Narayana.
According to Churchward, Mu was located in the Pacific Ocean and stretched 5,000 miles east to west and 3,000 miles from north to south, making it bigger than all South America. It was a largely flat land with massive plains, vast rivers, rolling hills, and huge bays.
Churchward gives a vivid description of Mu as the home of the Naacal civilization, which flourished between 50,000 and 12,000 years ago. There were 64 million Naacal, and they lived in seven mighty cities. Although they were separated into ten tribes, they followed one religion and were ruled by one government.

Unfortunately, all trace of the Naacal was completely obliterated “in almost a single night” after Mu was struck by a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The entire continent then sank beneath “fifty millions of square miles of water.”
Domínio público. Foto muito antiga, do primeiro quartel do século 19. / Public domain

Although Churchward could find no physical trace of Mu, he claimed that the great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Central America and India all had their origins there. He found evidence to support his claims in the Bible. Having re-translated the entire book from the original Assyrian, he was convinced that the Prophet Moses had been trained by Naacal wise men in Egypt. What’s more, the Garden of Eden had in fact been located, not in Mesopotamia, but in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Sadly, there is no factual basis for the existence of Mu. Geologists dismiss the existence of ‘lost continents’ like Mu and Atlantis. They say that no conceivable event could destroy an entire continent. Besides, it is physically impossible for a continent to sink. The huge mass of rock would have to end up somewhere – and there is no trace of Mu at the bottom of the Pacific.
But Masaaki Kimura, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, thinks otherwise. He has suggested that certain underwater slabs of rock located off Yonaguni, the westernmost island in the Okinawan archipelago, might be the ruins of a Mu city. Perhaps it was Kimura’s suggestion that inspired the sculpture I saw in Ojima Komatsugawa park. Either way, I am glad that someone is keeping the flame of Mu alive.
In fact, the kingdom of Mu has left quite an impact on the Japanese imagination, inspiring the name of a mystery and occult magazine (see below) and appearing in many works of fiction, perhaps most famously in the 1963 Toho film Kaitei Gunkan (The Undersea Warship), known in the US as Atragon (1965).

Mu: a clue to a legendary lost kingdom in Ojima Komatsugawa park

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