Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi was born in Kyoto, Japan on 1937. His family emigrated to San Pedro, California in 1939. During World War II, Takagi was interned at Manzanar from 1942 to 1943. Still, he earned a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, enrolling in 1955. 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 Nakatomi Investment Group. Takagi was married and had five children.
Takagi hosted a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve in 1988. He invited all of his employee's and the party was going fine until Hans Gruber and his group arrived. Hans took Takagi away and began questioning him for information about the vault.
Takagi was shot in the head by Hans Gruber after he refused to give Gruber the code for one of the locks of the vault in the Nakatomi building. His death and Harry Ellis´s are later avenged by John McClane.