Suicide of Takako Konishi

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Takako Konishi (1973–November 2001) was a Japanese office worker from Tokyo whose body was found by a bow hunter in a field outside Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on November 15, 2001. Konishi had originally arrived in Minneapolis earlier that month, traveled to Bismarck, North Dakota, then to Fargo, Minnesota and finally to Detroit Lakes, where she died. Her death was ruled a suicide, but some media stories at the time reported that, under the mistaken impression[1] that the 1996 film Fargo was based on a true story, she had died trying to locate the money hidden by Steve Buscemi's character, Carl Showalter.


Investigations by American film writer/director Paul Berczeller discovered the Fargo theory surrounding Konishi's death resulted from a misunderstanding between Konishi and one of the Bismarck police officers with whom she had been speaking. The story was then misreported by the media, leading to the urban legend that she had come to the United States to search for the money in the film.[2] In reality, Konishi had become depressed after losing her job at a Tokyo travel agency (owing to its bankruptcy), being unable to find another job, and also had begun to drink. She had come to Minneapolis because- it is speculated- it was a place that she had previously visited with her former lover, a married American businessman whom she had met in Tokyo but who had left after taking another job in Singapore.[2] Konishi had been seen wandering Detroit Lakes before she apparently decided to commit suicide by lying down in the snow after consuming two bottles of champagne.[3] This was supported by the discovery that she had made a forty-minute phone call to her former lover in Singapore the previous night, a suicide note she had sent to her parents expressing her intent to kill herself and that she had disposed of most of the belongings she had brought with her to the U.S. before she left Bismarck.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

Her story was detailed in the 2003 short documentary film This Is a True Story, directed by Paul Berczeller,[4] in which she was portrayed by Mimi Ohmori. In addition, the urban legend surrounding her death is the basis for the 2014 film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.


  1. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (17 April 2014). "Fargo". Snopes. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Berczeller, Paul (5 June 2003). "Death in the snow". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Did a Japanese woman really die trying to find suitcase stuffed with $1m buried in the snow after watching Fargo - or was it an urban myth sparked by cop's blunder?". Dailymail. 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  4. ^ "This Is a True Story". Vimeo. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 

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