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"Hey, we're flexible. Pearl Harbor didn't work out, so we got you with tape decks."
―Joe Takagi responding to McClane's question about the Japanese celebrating Christmas. [src]

Joseph "Joe" Yoshinobu Takagi was the President of Nakatomi Trading and appeared in the 1988 film Die Hard. Takagi was initiating operations of the Nakatomi Corporation in Los Angeles when a group of terrorists seized the building to steal millions in bearer bonds. He was later shot in the head by the leader of the group, Hans Gruber, when he refused to give them the code for one of the vault locks.

Early Life[]

Joseph Takagi was born in Kyoto, Japan on 1937. His parents emigrated to the United States in 1939, settling in San Pedro, California. During World War II, Takagi was interned at Manzanar from 1942 to 1943. Eventually his family was released and Joe Takagi began school. As a teenager, he earned a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, enrolling in 1955 and graduating in 1959. He also earned a law degree from Stanford in 1962 and an MBA from Harvard in 1970. Eventually, Takagi became President of Nakatomi Trading and Vice Chairman of the Nakatomi Investment Group. Takagi was married and had five children.

Die Hard[]

Takagi hosted a Christmas party for the Corporation's employees at the newly constructed Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve in 1988. The festivities were abruptly halted by the arrival of Hans Gruber and his group of terrorists, who had seized the building in a bid to steal millions of dollars in bearer bonds.

Gruber denounced the Nakatomi Corporation's "legacy of greed and deceit", then threatened to harm people unless he spoke to Mr. Takagi shortly. Gruber recited snippets of Takagi's biography, showing he had researched his victim. Annoyed at Gruber playing games, Takagi revealed himself almost immediately. Most of the gunmen stayed behind to keep the hostages corralled, where Gruber and a couple of others ushered away Takagi to his office. In his office, Hans Gruber kept up his erudite facade, considering the architectural models in the office akin to conquests of Alexander the Great. Hans suggested he and Joseph Takagi were both educated men and there would be no need for violence should he comply. Hans demanded the codes for the vault, but Takagi could not do so. Gruber warned not to play hero, but Takagi's protest was not he was not entrusted with all the codes, and even if he was to talk, that would only be part of it and the codes would be changed by the main office in Tokyo by this time tomorrow.

Takagi was shot in the head by Hans after bravely refusing to give him the code for one of the vault locks. His death, along with that of Harry Ellis, is later avenged by John McClane by throws Hans from the 30th floor of the Nakatomi skyscraper.


In the short time he was shown, Takagi was shown to be a kind jovial boss, who appreciates the hard work of his employees and commends them every chance he gets. In the case of Holly, he has no problem boasting about her skills on the field. He's also very accomodating to his employees, as seen on that fateful night. Hosting Christmas parties on the plaza and even inviting their families as shown when he personally rented the Limo that brought John McClane to Nakatomi Plaza. Despite being interned as a little boy, Takagi has shown to have a sense of humor regarding Japan's history in WWII. Jokingly claiming that since Pearl Harbor didn't work out, they got America with tape decks. There were only a few times when Takagi showed slight anger. The first when he catches Ellis snorting Cocaine in Holly's office, where he gives a glare to him and the second when Hans cites his history in an effort to single him out. Hoping cooperation would protect his employees. However he's also shown to be defiant when he realizes Hans's true motives, goading Hans to kill him when he demands the code to the Vault. 

His personality doesn't go unnoticed as Holly tries to protect him from Hans and John regrets not being able to stop Hans from killing Takagi, knowing full well that would have killed them both.


Die Hard Characters
John McClane - Holly Gennero - Lucy McClane - John McClane, Jr. - Al Powell - Richard Thornburg
Die Hard Hans Gruber - Karl Vreski - Dwayne T. Robinson - Harry Ellis - Joe Takagi - Argyle - Ginny - Theo - Eddie - Heinrich - Alexander - Tony Vreski - Franco - Fritz - Marco - Uli - James - Kristoff - Harvey Johnson - Gail Wallens - Mitchell - Rivers - Special Agent Johnson - Agent Johnson
Die Hard 2 William Stuart - Ramon Esperanza - Major Grant - Carmine Lorenzo - Leslie Barnes - Ed Trudeau - Marvin - Samantha Coleman - Garber - Kahn - Oswald Cochrane - O'Reilly - Baker - Thompson - Burke - Miller - Sheldon - Shockley - Mulkey - Sherman - Albertson - Telford - Vito Lorenzo
Die Hard with a Vengeance Simon Gruber - Zeus Carver - Joe Lambert - Connie Kowalski - Walter Cobb - Ricky Walsh - Mathias Targo - Katya - Charles Weiss - Jane - Fred Schiller - Dexter - Raymond - Jerry Parks - Karl - Otto - Mischa - Nils - Klaus - Rolf
Live Free or Die Hard Matt Farrell - Thomas Gabriel - Mai Linh - Warlock - Miguel Bowman - Emerson - Trey - Russo - Rand - Del - Molina - Taylor - Raj
A Good Day to Die Hard Yuri Komarov - Irina Komarov - Viktor Chagarin - Alik - Mike Collins - Murphy