Joe is an average high school boy with messy, brown hair. On his left side, he wears a yellow hair-clip that resembles a lightning bolt. He wears multiple gold piercings on his left ear, but keeps his right ear hidden behind his hair.
Unlike Sara, who wears her school uniform properly, Joe seems to prefer a casual, looser style. He wears his blue school blazer unbuttoned, with his sleeves rolled up past his elbows. His shirt is unbuttoned at the collar, but buttoned the rest of the way down. Like Sara, he wears a green checkered tie. He also wears brown pants, presumably befitting of Sonobeno's dress code.
Additionally, Joe sports three gold bracelets on his right arm, a longer cord with a dog bone at the end on his left, and a small dog key-chain in his right breast pocket.
Like the other participants, he wears a collar device upon being brought into the Death Game.
Joe is an extremely upbeat, excitable, considerate, and loyal person. He is easily embarrassed when others misinterpret him and is sensitive to how people perceive his appearance. Like Sara, Joe puts in all his efforts to help the group succeed in the puzzles. He consistently convinces the group to believe in Sara and her abilities and generally places most of his trust to her. Though he is described as gaudy by Reko Yabusame and has a small habit of saying the wrong things at the wrong time, Joe is genuinely kind-hearted and sensitive to others' feelings.
Although not academically one of the smartest in the group, he does provide occasional insights.
Despite his constant optimism and belief in others, Joe is not incapable of suspicion, as he was the first to suggest the presence of a traitor among the participants. Furthermore, while reluctant and torn over what winning the Main Game would mean, he was willing to go through with it, up until Sara exposed his true role.
At some point, he befriended Sara during their years in high school. Their bond deepened when on Joe's birthday where Sara gifts him a dog keychain that her friend, Ryoko, won at an arcade.
After this, Sara introduced him to Ryoko and the three became close friends. After some time passed, Joe asked Ryoko on a date and she agreed. On said date, they went and ate doner kebabs and, at some unspecified time (unknown whether this happened before or after they ate), he fell in a ditch and she helped him back up. It should be noted that their date was on the day of the kidnapping.
In the manga, Joe accidentally stood Ryoko up for their first date due to him protecting an injured cat in the rain. He's found by Sara and the two go around trying to find the cat an owner. However, for the time that it wasn't adopted, it lived with Sara and was named Kuro. Kuro eventually was given to their classmate Takagi.
At some point, Joe went and won Sara a cat keychain that looked similar to Kuro.
He and Ryoko re-scheduled their date which took place on the day of the kidnapping.
The Death Game
After finishing up their date, Joe heads back towards the school to walk Sara home, bragging to her about the date. He jokingly asks Sara if she would like to hold hands, but despite answering either yes or no, Joe teases her. However, he becomes more serious and asks Sara if things would be easier if she had a boyfriend. Due to her silence, he comes to the conclusion that she can't sleep at night because of a stalker she's been dealing with. When questioned if that was his reasoning for always walking her home, he tries to play it off with him just wanting to brag. However, he is dragged towards Sara's house when she encounters the stalker, grabbing his hand and running. After talking, Joe tells her he will see her tomorrow, specifically at school. He then reappears in her house in her front door's entrance, asking her why she's panicked and if she had called the authorities. Sara then heads upstairs while he makes a call.
In the manga, Sara grabs Joe's wrist and runs towards her house, pulling the two of them inside and locking the door where they find Sara's mother unconscious in the hallway.
After she enters her room, Joe hears Sara scream and rushes up stairs where he finds her and her stalker. Wanting to protect and save her, he tries to punch said stalker and falls unconscious.
Joe and Sara then awake to their First Trial. Joe picks up the key that dropped out of his pocket and uses it to unlock his restraints. He then tries to use the same key on Sara's restraints. It doesn't work, but he notices that doing so shaved a little bit off the key, revealing green. He uses sandpaper to fully whittle the key and is able to unlock Sara's restraints.
In the manga, the key is coated with candy, so Joe melts it by holding it to the fire hanging from the ceiling.
The two exit the trial room and enter a pitch dark hallway, and fall through the floor. Joe carries Sara to the Central Hall on the first floor. When she wakes up, Joe pretends not to know her at first, but plays it off as a joke.
Keiji Shinogi then suggests everyone introduces themselves. After the discussion is finished, Q-taro Burgerberg reveals the box he carried through his First Trial. Inside is a doll head asking to find its other body parts. The group splits up to search; Joe searches with Keiji in the Blue Room.
After Sara finds 3 live bullets, 6 dummy bullets and a revolver, she, Joe, Keiji, Q-taro and Kai Satou become trapped inside the Blue Room. Meister, the painting in the room explains they need to choose a "Challenger". Sara is chosen to be the Challenger for the game which turns out to be Russian Roulette. After successfully clearing it, Joe joins Sara to search since Sou Hiyori, her previous partner, did not return after leaving to get help.
Once leaving the Game Room, he and Sara are stopped by Kanna Kizuchi who begs to know if she could've saved her sister from death. Kazumi Mishima arrives and lies to Kanna saying that brute force was required for the trial. She yells at him in disbelief before Joe also lies. Kanna denies them and yells at herself for being stupid enough to get her sister killed. However, she is calmed by Sara who agrees with the two. Kanna is led away by Reko Yabusame.
They find the rest of the doll limbs and everyone gathers in the Pink Room. The doll is assembled and Sue Miley appears. She hands everyone a tablet so they can do a practice majority vote. Joe votes for himself. Mishima gains the most votes and dies. After Mishima's death, Joe tries to question who voted for Mishima but is shut down by both Reko and Keiji. Feeling deflated, he heads off and sits by himself in the Bar.
When Sara stops by, he asks her if she believes Keiji is truly a cop or not. She replies that she either does or doesn't. He states that he can't find anybody among them suspicious, despite him being the one who said that there might be a traitor in their midst. He asks Sara to look into Keiji and she agrees to.
He goes to look for Sara later and discovers her carrying a man. He helps her carry the unconscious stranger towards the Pink Room where Keiji, Gin Ibushi, and Nao Egokoro reside. He learns that things are also harsh for Keiji and asks him if there was anybody he looked up to, Keiji confessing that there was. Soon, the body retrieval announcement asks that they all leave, sending Nao to yell that Mishima isn't dead and shoving his head into the box Q-taro brought. Gin chases after her, leading for the remaining three to follow. Joe decides the search the first floor while Sara and Keiji investigate the second.
After a while, the man Sara found in the Red Room regains consciousness so Joe calls everyone to the bar to interrogate him. The group learns that he is Gonbee Yamada and is a prisoner. Sara asks him if he would assist them but he declines, telling them that somebody could become a traitor. Joe then unties Gonbee, stating that he's finished suspecting his allies and can't imagine somebody being evil because his heart says so.
When the interrogation ends, he, Reko, and possibly Gin depending on whether Sara took him with her or not continue on their search for Nao.
At some point, Joe found the Sacrifice card.
He's later found by Sara in the Bar again. He shows her a picture of both them and Ryoko and tells Sara that he misses her. He explains to Sara that he had his first proper date with Ryoko on the day of the kidnapping and was so nervous that he couldn't talk at all. He poked fun at the memory of Sara trying to sit on a traffic cone much to Sara's displeasure to forget it. He asked Ryoko why she decided to go out with him since the two didn't know each other well. She told him that no friend of Sara's could possibly be a bad person and Joe agreed. The two then made a promise that if anyone made Sara cry, they in return would make them cry. He tells Sara to stop looking like she's about to cry, less she wants Ryoko to punch him. He jokes and tells her that if he sees any traffic cones, he'll get rid of them. Sara yells at him to forget that.
He presumably found himself in the last supper room and learned of what his card did. After learning that he either dies or everyone but him and a special person dies, although reluctant, tries to go through with a plan to receive the most votes and escape with Sara.
Before the Main Game, Joe stated that if everyone voted for Sara, it would be a massacre, the only person hearing him being Gin. During the Main Game, Joe tries to help Sara with the most of his ability. When the preliminary vote occurs, it is implied he voted for himself. When asked what his role is, he refuses to say. His comment on Sara dying leading to a massacre leads for Sara to reveal him as the Sage. He fesses up and claims to be the Sage but, in return of telling them who the Keymaster is, that they not vote for him. He tells them that Sara is the Keymaster. Everyone begins to believe him but then Kanna states that she is the Sage and that the Keymaster is Sou. Kai than states that he is the Sage and Sara is the Keymaster.
The three are asked for the design of the Keymaster card since, as the Sage, they should know. Joe claims that the design is of a key, Kanna of a lock, and Kai doesn't say anything. Sara figures out that the real Sage is Kai since the Sage didn't know what the design of the Keymaster card was and only knew who it was. However, this leads her to question as to why Joe claimed to be the Sage. Sara brings this to light and Kai tells Sara that the Sacrifice is without a doubt Joe. Despite his pleading for Sara to believe him and that he is the Sage, he ends up losing out due to the most votes going to Kai.
Miley reveals to the others that Joe was the Sacrifice, the latter beginning to laugh and apologize for tricking the others. He tells them he can't picture anyone being a bad person, not even Sou or Gonbee who was revealed to be Alice Yabusame, a murderer. If Sara votes for him, he tells Sara that he knows she was the third vote and that he tried real hard to escape with her. If she doesn't, he tells her that the fact she didn't vote for him is what made things clear. He tells the others that they're his friends and to work together to escape
He tells Sara that, despite it being strange to say to a friend, he loves her.
Miley calls for the Wrigglers to come and suck out all the blood from his body. He cries in pain as Sara shouts for Miley to let him go. She's handed a button that is supposedly able to slow down the device and has a slim chance of saving him. Sara then repeatedly presses the button in hopes of saving Joe. However, her tries end up being futile as Joe slinks over and bleeds.
Sara, grieved by Joe's death strongly believes that she is at fault for it, thus creating hallucinations that taunt her and blame her for Joe's death. Throughout her time on the third floor, remembering anything related to Joe causes her more harm, until she is overwhelmed and has a hallucination of her killing Joe with a knife.
She is able to forget the hallucinations by using Safalin's machine, but using it too many times causes her to forget about the real Joe.
After receiving the Sacrifice card in a tablet trade, Hallucination Joe asks her how it feels to have his card. Sara panics, leading her to go to the Room of Lies to use Reko/Alice's tokens to make a trade. Upon seeing the body cleaned up, she falls into despair. Hallucination Joe begins to strangle her. Gin is able to call her back to her senses and tells her to confront the hallucination. When she succeeds, it scoffs at her, saying she was already broken and that it's impossible to rid of it for good.
At the end of the second Main Game, if Kanna dies and Shin lives, Shin sets up a malicious Joe AI in the Room of Rubble as a way to avenge Kanna. Seeing the AI causes Sara to forget Joe entirely.
If Shin dies and Kanna lives, Shin manages to escape his execution to the Rubble Room and set up an actual Joe AI before expiring. Sara is able to reunite with Joe and completely clear herself of her hallucinations.
Chapter 3, Part 1
While searching the fifth floor a room similar to Sara and Joe's classroom is found. Ranmaru finds the dog memento Joe wore. He confesses that he knows about Joe, but only because he heard a little from Midori.
Sara is deeply appreciative of the bond she has with Joe, and they are notably close in comparison to the other participants of the Death Game.
Expressing a brave face for her, he dislikes having her worry about him as well as when she is feeling despondent. Joe cares about Sara greatly and he is quick to act to defend and support her.
In the official manga, Joe states that he admires her cool and composed and yet kind appearance she gives off. It can be implied that Sara holds a small crush or a secret admiration towards Joe, as she silently states her envy towards Ryoko when Joe shows up to walk her home, and when she states what she believed would be her last words in the First Trial. ("Joe, you know I...") In the 4th chapter of the manga, Shin mistakes the two as lovers, much to her embarrassment.
The relationship between Joe and Ryoko is interpreted as two close friends. At some point during their lives, their mutual friend Sara introduced the two to each other, and they eventually became a small friend group.
At an unknown point after this, Joe asked Ryoko out, and they had their first date on the day of the kidnapping.
In Chapter One Part Two, Joe confesses how he could barely summon the courage to speak to her, and they ended up talking more about Sara instead.
In the manga, it is explored that Joe mistakenly stood her up on what was supposed to be their date, due to helping a stray cat on the side of the streets. Later on, however, it is revealed that they had re-scheduled it.
|Person||What they call Joe||What Joe calls them|
|Sara||Joe||ジョー, Joe?||Sara||サラ, Sara?|
|Joe (self)||オレ, Ore?|
|Keiji||Joe||ジョーくん, Joe-kun?||Keiji|| ケイジさん, Keiji-san?|
|Shin||Joe||ジョーくん, Joe-kun?||Sou||ソウさん, Sou-san?|
|Gin||Big bro Joe||ジョー兄ちゃん, Joe nii-chan?||Gin||ギン, Gin?|
|Kanna||Joe||ジョーさん, Joe-san?||Kanna||カンナ, Kanna?|
|Q-taro||Joe||ジョー, Joe?||Q-taro||Qタロウさん, Q-taro san?|
| ジョー, Joe?|
チャラ男, Charaou?, lit. "Gaudy guy"
| アリスさん, Arisu-san?|
|Mishima||Joe||ジョーくん, Joe-kun?||Mishima||ミシマ先生, Mishima-sensei?|
|Nao||Joe||ジョーくん, Joe-kun?||Nao||ナオさん, Nao-san?|
|Kai||Joe||ジョーくん, Joe-kun?||Kai||カイさん, Kai-san?|
|Person||What they call Joe||What Joe calls them|
| ジョーくん, Joe-kun?|
田綱 丈くん, Tazuna Jou-kun?
|Ranger||Joe Tazuna||田綱 丈, Tazuna Jou?||N/A||N/A|
| ジョーくん, Joe-kun?|
タヅナ ジョウ, Tazuna Joe?
- His age is not officially given, but he is in the same school, and school year/grade as Sara. Due to his birthday being July 26, he is likely two months younger than Sara. The Japanese school year begins around April 1st and ends around March 31st of the following year. Sara's birthday is May 18, and she is officially 17 years old during the story. She is also, officially, in her 2nd year of high school. Thus, she turned 17 not long after her 2nd year of high school began, and Joe two months later.
- Joe had a buzz cut in middle school. (Crew cut in the English translation.)
- The dog keychain Joe wears was given to him by Sara, which Ryoko won at an arcade.
- His likes are listed as dogs and sports in his character profile.
- The kanji that makes up his first name is 丈, Jou?, lit. "length; height".
- The kanji that make up his last name are 田, ta?, lit. "rice field" and 綱, zuna?, lit. "rope; cable".
- In the original Japanese, when Joe is talking about his date to Sara, following the conversation, the one who ate the doner kebab was Ryoko. Likely the confusion in the translation is due to Japanese lacking pronouns in this conversation.
- Joe: "She's such a good girl! I'm moved!"
- Sara: "Cute, right?"
- Joe: "So cute!! Like today, [she] ate a doner kebab in one bite! [She's] such a glutton huh~!"
- Sara: "A doner kebab... Wait... You went on a date!?"
- This was later corrected in an update on December 2019.
Characters Participants Sara Chidouin • Joe Tazuna • Keiji Shinogi • Shin Tsukimi • Kanna Kizuchi • Gin Ibushi • Q-taro Burgerberg • Reko Yabusame • Alice Yabusame • Kazumi Mishima • Nao Egokoro • Kai Satou First Trial victims Dummies Hinako Mishuku • Naomichi Kurumada • Shunsuke Hayasaka • Anzu Kinashi • Mai Tsurugi • Ranmaru Kageyama Kugie Kizuchi • Megumi Sasahara ASU-NARO Floor Masters Sue Miley • Rio Ranger • Tia Safalin • Gashu Satou • Sou Hiyori Meister • Man from the Memorandum • Maple Other Mr. Chidouin • Mrs. Chidouin • Ryoko Hirose • Botsun • Girl from the Memorandum • Mr. Policeman • Kuro Survival Island characters Rei • Jin Mutou • Touko Rikuno