Takako Konishi

kumiko

Takako Konishi (1973 – 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 it was insinuated by the media that she had died trying to locate the missing money hidden by Steve Buscemi’s character, Carl Showalter, in the 1996 film ‘Fargo,’ under the impression that the film was based on a true story. Investigations by American film writer/director Paul Berczeller discovered the entire ‘Fargo’ story had come about as the result of a misunderstanding between Konishi and one of the Bismarck police officers with whom she had been talking.

The story was then inflated by the media, leading to an urban legend. Instead, it was discovered, Konishi had been very 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. Depressed and lonely, Konishi had been wandering Detroit Lakes when she decided to commit suicide with an overdose of alcohol and sedatives. Her story was detailed in the 2003 documentary film ‘This Is a True Story,’ directed by Berczeller. In addition, the urban legend surrounding her death is the basis for the 2014 film ‘Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.’

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