The Food Pyramid
The Dragon of San Fransisco
Joe is 5’9’’ and has a slender frame. His back and left arm are covered in intricate irezumi, signifying his old allegiances to the Yakuza.
Joseph Hallard Nagasaki was born in San Fransisco, California on January 11th, 1936. His mother was a Japanese-American florist named Asuka Smith and his father, Hayato Nagasaki, was a factory worker from Japan. Young Joe spent most of his early childhood in and around the Japanese community of San Fransisco, never quite feeling either completely American or Japanese.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Joe and his family were uprooted from their home and sent to an internment camp in northern California, where they lived until the end of the war. This experience deeply shaped Joe’s perception of the U.S. government and he would forever resent and distrust American authority figures.
A Life of Crime
In 1945, the Nagasaki’s returned to San Fransisco and lived a fairly comfortable life until 1952, when Hayato died of pneumonia and left his family with several outstanding debts. To pay them off, Joe joined the American Yakuza as a courier and bruiser and worked his way up to being the personal bodyguard and lover of crime boss Megumi Oda in 1953. The life of a criminal paid exceptionally well. It also provided a way for Joe to exact his revenge against a system that had continuosly oppressed him and his family. In 1954, Joe and Megumi had a daughter named Audrey together.
For the next decade, Joe and Megumi administered their vast empire in relative peace, with the escalation of the Vietnam War only disrupting some of their business. Audrey was given a good life. In order to keep her away from her parent’s criminal activities, she was sent to a boarding school near Seattle in 1964.
Dragon Street Massacre
Megumi Oda had been running the Oda Crime Clan ever since her father Shouta died in ‘52. Her older brother Takashi “Two-Swords” Oda had been exiled and banned from the family’s criminal enterprises in 1950 after dishonoring the Oda name, brought about after he had drunkenly murdered an unarmed woman who refused to have sex with him. Shouta had given the 24-year-old Takashi two choices: commit seppuku or leave the country forever. Takashi chose the latter.
But in 1968 he returned with his sights set on the Oda Clan leadership. He was supported by the rival Yamamoto Clan of Los Angeles, whose end goal was to expand their territory into central and northern California. Small skirmishes had already broken out between the two clans. An enormous street war almost seemed inevitable. Four quiet months went by. Then, on March 7th 1969, that war – the Dragon Street Massacre – finally came.
After a night at the cinema, Joe and Megumi were driven by their chauffeur through Dragon Street (the name given to the road that separated San Francisco’s Chinese and Japanese neighborhoods). It was late at night and the chauffeur took the slower route to avoid an accident on the freeway. However, the Yamamoto Clan saw this as their golden opportunity to decisively strike at their enemies. They painstakingly tracked the Oda limousine and managed to pin it between two cars at a traffic light.
Enemy gunfire instantly killed the driver, forcing Joe and Megumi to take cover in the vehicle. Both sides exchanged gunfire for nearly ten minutes, ultimately resulting in the deaths of seven individuals, including Megumi. She was shot in the abdomen and bled to death before the ambulances and police could arrive. Shortly thereafter, Joe learned of his 15-year-old daughter’s kidnapping. An old contact informed him that the Yamamoto Clan had sold her to a sex trafficking ring in the midwest. Wounded and vowing to find his daughter and kill her captors, Joe bought a one-way train ticket to St. Louis and didn’t look back. He would never again enter a life of crime, unless absolutely necessary.
The Wandering Ronin
Joe sees himself as a wandering ronin of the old Sengoku period of Japan, doing what he can to survive and protecting the innocent wherever they may be. To those who would harm the defenseless or cross him, he shows no restraint or mercy. He is highly skilled with blades and ferociously agile, making him a dangerous opponent in close quarters. His favored weapon is his ancestral katana, which was created some 400 years ago and has belonged to the Nagasaki family ever since. It is rumored that Joe once killed a man with a playing card, although nobody knows for certain.