Suicide of Takako Konishi

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Takako Konishi (1973–November 2001) was an office worker from Tokyo who was found dead in a field outside Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on November 15, 2001. Konishi had originally arrived in Minneapolis earlier that month, traveled to Bismarck, then to Fargo, 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 America to search for the money in the film.[2] In reality, Konishi had been depressed after losing her job at a Tokyo travel agency, and had come to Minneapolis because it was a place she had previously visited with her lover, a married American businessman.[2] Konishi had been wandering Detroit Lakes when she decided to commit suicide by lying down in the snow after consuming two bottles of champagne.[3] This was supported by the discovery of a forty-minute phone call she had made to her lover the previous night, and a suicide note she had sent to her parents expressing her intent to kill herself and that she had disposed of most of her belongings before she left Bismarck.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

Her story was detailed in the 2003 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. 

External links[edit]