When ten thousand lives are lost in an instant, when a way of life is wiped out in that same instant--all in one small part of the planet--you can say a civilization has been lost. That is what happened on March 11, 2011 in northeastern Japan. An earthquake coupled with a tsunami erased lives, housing, communications, transportation, and the fishing industry--the people and the way of life they created.
What's the difference between what happened in Japan's Tohoku and what happened in Yonaguni eons ago?
The simple answer is, in Tohoku, the stories were not lost. Everything was recorded in words and pictures. There were witnesses who survived.
Suppose there were witnesses who survived the Yonaguni disaster? Would the symbols and marks on stone tablets now preserved in the prefectural museum in Naha, Okinawa, be their stories?