Yamatai is a lost kingdom of Ancient Japan. Yamatai was ruled in a matriarchal fashion, ruled by the Sun Queen, the first of whom, was Himiko. The Sun Queen ruled the lands of Yamatai, commanding an elite samurai army, The Stormguard. Himiko herself allegedly wielded great shamanistic powers, even being able to control the weather.
The Sun Queen did not have children, instead she passed power to a successor of her choice, her High Priestesses who would then be doted on by the Sun Queen and groomed to be the leader of Yamatai. However, the truth of the matter is, none of the chosen successors ever became Sun Queen. The chosen successor was brought to a ritual chamber in the monastery for the "ascension" ceremony, when the previous Queen would transfer her soul from her body, into her successor and continue her reign, which means Himiko ruled Yamatai, long after her natural life had ended, as the "First and Last Sun Queen"
Fall of Yamatai
Few knew the truth about the Sun Queen's true nature and Himiko's cycle of rebirth continued for generations. However, at some point during the Kamakura period (circa 1185–1333 CE) a sun priestess named Hoshi, who was due to become Sun Queen, learned the truth of the ascension ritual and how Himiko would inhabit her body, and was planning to expand her kingdom beyond Yamatai. Hoshi refused to allow the Sun Queen to succeed. Hoshi stole the dagger of the Stormguard General and hid it on her person. During the ascension ceremony, Hoshi used the dagger and committed suicide, corrupting the ritual and trapping Himiko's soul in a decaying body.
Due to the failed ritual, Himiko became angered. As her anger grew, it caused a wave of storms that would guard the island so no one would ever escape and the kingdom of Yamatai fell. The Stormguard General, disgraced by his failure committed Seppuku, while the Stormguard continued to guard the kingdom and their queen.
This curse made the island a deathtrap for ships and aircraft. Throughout the hundreds of years of development in international shipping and air transport, from ancient to modern, ships and aircraft that ventured near the island were never heard from again. As they approached, they were immediately caught in sudden storms. These storms were in fact supernatural, driven by Himiko's rage, formed with a speed and intensity that was meteorologically impossible. Escape was out of the question; the storms actually increased in intensity to ensure that the ship or aircraft was wrecked or crashed on the island, regardless of size or seaworthiness, or of the seafaring ability of the crew or skill of the pilots. Any survivors were kept from leaving; all attempts to leave via raft or makeshift vessel were met with similar supernatural storms that either killed the survivors or forced them, without fail, to abandon their attempts for fear of their lives.
During World War II, the island was used as a military base by the Japanese. Working with Nazi scientists, the Japanese contingent was attempting to learn how to use the power of the storms as a weapon. The United States caught wind of what was happening on the island and sent at least one battalion of Marines to raid the island. However, a combination of destructive weather and constant attacks by the Oni (warped inhuman remnants of the Stormguards) wiped out the Marines and their air support, while the remnants of the Japanese garrison were destroyed in a last-ditch attempt to reach Himiko and destroy her.
Decades later, a man named Mathias was marooned on Yamatai. He tried to keep away from other survivors at first not knowing if they were hostile or not. He eventually teamed up with a group of survivors to try and escape, however the Storms crashed their boat into the island. The survivors made another attempt to try and escape, Mathias turned down the offer to join them, believing that the same thing would happen again. He watched as their boat was destroyed and all the attempted escapees were killed. Mathias began studying the nature of the storms to try and find out what the secret of the island was. Eventually, he began to hear the voice of Himiko.
Knowing what he needed to do, Mathias began to try and find a vessel for Himiko. Mathias began recruiting other survivors into his cult of the Sun Queen, the Solarii Brotherhood. Mathias was ruthless and vicious and didn't hesitate to use violence and murder to deter any would be usurpers and keep focus on the goal of freeing Himiko. For years, the Solarii grew in number and power, seizing weapons and supplies from any boats or planes that crashed on the island. The Solarii spent years trying to find a vessel for Himiko, subjecting them to a fire ritual to find a suitable successor.
At some point, Trinity, a fanatical religious sect, caught wind of Yamatai and Mathias' attempts to revive the Sun Queen. Believing that there was only one true god and that the Solarii were heretics, they sent someone to kill Mathias and stop the return of Himiko. However, their assassin never returned. Trinity, knowing that any troops sent to Yamatai would not succeed, ceased their attempts to kill Mathias, though they kept as close an eye on the island and all the activity they could without risking any of their assets.
Arrival of the Endurance
Main Article: Tomb Raider (2013 Game)
This is the island where the Tomb Raider (2013) events take place. The Endurance sails towards the Dragon's Triangle in search of Yamatai. However, due to a violent storm the ship splits in two, leaving the surviving crew members stranded on the island.
Tomb Raider (2018 Movie)
In the Tomb Raider 2018 movie, Yamatai is depicted as the place where Queen Himiko was buried in an elaborate tomb guarded by traps and accompanied by many maidservants, as she was suffering from a contagious disease that she wanted to isolate herself from. Instead of the Solarii Brotherhood, Trinity had already reached the island and enslaved shipwrecked fishermen from China to put them to work excavating Himiko's tomb and achieving her alleged powers.
Real Life Legend
During the late Yayoi period (circa 300 BCE – 300 CE). The Chinese history Records of the Three Kingdoms first recorded Yamatai as the domain of the shaman Queen Himiko. Generations of Japanese historians, linguists, and archeologists had debated where Yamatai is located, though it was located somewhere within Honshu or Kyushu in Japan instead of further south in the Philippines Sea.