Joseph was born the son of George Joestar II and Elizabeth, establishing him as the grandson of Jonathan Joestar. When his mother was forced to go into hiding after killing his father's murderer, one of Dio Brando surviving zombies, his grandmother Erina Joestar decided it would be best if he assumed his parents died out of fear he might get caught up in the same fatal situation his father and grandfather suffered. It was then both Erina and Robert E. O. Speedwagon who took care of Joseph. The young Joseph developed early an ability to use the Ripple inherited from his grandfather, first displaying it when Speedwagon was being kidnapped.
Visiting New York with Erina, Joseph encounters Smokey Brown, an African-American youth who steals his wallet. Nonetheless, Joseph befriends the pickpocket after giving a beating to two corrupt policemen who brutalized Smokey. Both he and Erina acquaint themselves with Smokey. While dining in a restaurant, Joseph personally publicly humiliates a racist mafioso who kept insulting Smokey; that mafioso's companion then suddenly informs him that Speedwagon is reported dead in Mexico. Later that night, Joseph is attacked in New York City by Straizo, an old companion of his grandfather Jonathan turned-Vampire. After being led on a wild chase, Joseph manages to defeat Straizo, who destroys himself with his stored Ripple while warning the youth of the Pillar Men.
Joseph goes to Mexico in search of Speedwagon, revealed to be alive in a secret underground Nazi facility where the Nazis are trying to revive a man who seems to have been trapped in a stone pillar for 2,000 years. Here Joseph meets the Nazi Rudol von Stroheim. Unfortunately, the Nazis are successful in awakening the man, who is christened "Santana" before he kills most of them. Joseph battles Santana and manage to defeat him with Stroheim's help before he seemingly died. Before Stroheim dies, the nazi reveals that three more "sleeping pillar men" have been discovered underneath the Colosseum in Rome and that Joseph must stop them and meet with an ally.In Rome, Joseph meets Caesar, a trained Ripple user near his age who is supposed to show Joseph the ropes. At first, they are unable to do anything but argue; Caesar blames Jonathan Joestar for causing the death of his grandfather William Anthonio Zeppeli through his incompetence. Caesar brings a Nazi named Mark to drive them to the Colosseum, where they find the three pillar men, Wamuu, Esidisi, and Kars, awakened. Mark is casually killed by Wamuu, enraging Caesar and causing the pair to fight him. Unfortunately, even with his American Ripple-Infused Clackers, the untrained Joseph is unable to stand a chance. Luckily, he manages to talk them out of killing him promising to train for a whole month for a rematch.
To ensure that Joseph does not chicken out, Wamuu and Esidisi both end up inserting a "wedding ring" inside Joseph's heart and throat. They explain that the rings are internal time bombs set to release poison into his blood if he does not defeat them and retrieve the antidote they carry within a month. Joseph realizes that he will have to train or die, and Caesar introduces Joseph to his master Lisa Lisa, who also reveals that the motives of the pillar men are to seize the Red Stone of Aja to become perfect life forms.
Along with Caesar, Joseph begins his training under Lisa Lisa. She immediately forces Joseph to use a modified mask to alter his breathing, enough for him to be able to keep it in control when using the ripple. She then puts both students in the 'Hell Climb Pillar', a pillar covered with oil that requires expert control of the Ripple to climb. Without experience in the use of the Ripple, Joseph has trouble climbing, but finally manages to do so thanks to Caesar's help. In the next weeks, Joseph trains under the harsh Loggins, who teaches him how to breathe in for 10 minutes straight and how to breathe 10 times in one second. As his last test, with only a week left before the poison takes effect, Joseph needs to defeat Loggins in a battle to earn the right to be recognized as a proper Ripple user.
Joseph finds Loggins murdered by Esidisi, who learned of the Super Aja in Lisa Lisa's possession. Denied his chance to pay back his teacher for the hell he went through, Joseph finds himself nearly outwitted by Esidisi before managing to defeat him with both his new skills and a sleight of hand strategy involving his wool hat. Joseph ingests the antidote in his opponent's nose ring, but doesn't realize that his attack only reduced Esidisi to a disembodied nervous system. Esidisi then takes over Suzi Q's body to mail the Red Stone to Kars in Switzerland while taking a last stand to deal with Joseph and the Ripple Users. Joseph and Caesar manage to safely force Esidisi out of Suzi Q by using opposing ripples and then watch as the Pillar Man is dissolved by the sunlight. Joseph mentions being impressed by Esidisi's resolve and loyalty, having gone so far to help Kars succeed.  Lisa Lisa discovers that Esidisi sent the Aja to Switzerland, and the Joestar Group leaves Venice for the Alps.
While pursuing the Super Aja, Joseph and his companions see a platoon of German soldiers confiscating the Red Stone of Aja and are invited to a chalet, where Joseph is reunited with the supposedly-deceased Stroheim, who has been rebuilt as a powerful cyborg by Nazi science. But at the same time, Kars has infiltrated the Nazi chalet in search for the Aja. Stroheim's machine body is quickly cut in half by Kars, who instinctively knows Joseph killed Esidisi and expresses hidden hatred towards who he initially considered a source of amusement. During the struggle, the Red Stone of Aja slips and falls into a ravine where Joseph and Kars battle to seize it. After a difficult fight, Joseph manages to keep the Stone while Kars disappears at the bottom of the ravine.
The next day, the group discovers a likely hideout for the Pillar Men and Caesar is eager to go fight them. Joseph voiced being against going after Kars in daylight, sensing a trap. This result in Joseph saying words that drive Caesar off the edge as he leaves to do the job himself, Joseph learning his friend's story and changing his mind. However, by the time he and Lisa Lisa arrive, they see Caesar had already died fighting Wamuu and used the last of his strength to get the Pillar Man's lip ring. Out of respect for Caesar, Joseph decides to not take the antidote until he defeats Wamuu. Joseph and Lisa Lisa decide to pursue the likely wounded Wamuu inside the mansion.
Joseph and Lisa Lisa find Kars and Wamuu but also find themselves outnumbered by Kars´s vampires. Lisa Lisa bluffs destroying the Super Aja unless the Pillar Men accept her terms to settle things in two one-on-one showdowns at the Skeleton Heel Stone arena. Sent to retrieve the stone, Joseph notices the photo of an infant with Erina, Speedwagon, and Straizo and confronts Lisa Lisa about it. She tells only half of the photo's significance before Joseph engages Wamuu in a deadly Roman chariot race-battle. Wamuu initially gets the upper hand, but Joseph still manages to counter his dangerous attacks and destroys Wamuu´s body with only his dissolving head. Joseph, in a sign of honor to the warrior, gave Wamuu some of his own blood to ease his pain before drinking the antidote to give his opponent peace of mind.
Kars proves to be less honorable than Wamuu and breaks his promise to fight Lisa Lisa one-on-one and sacrifices one of his weaker vampires in order to defeat her. Angered by Kars' treachery, Joseph then challenges Kars, who looks upon him as a weak Ripple user and not even worth fighting seriously. All seems to be over in this fight against Kars until a newly rebuilt Stroheim and his Nazi soldiers, Speedwagon, and Smokey arrive to help. As the two fought on, Joseph is eventually given the decision to choose between his life or Lisa Lisa's, but is able to counter the whole situation and send Kars flying into the spike pit below. Stroheim and his Nazi soldiers blast Kars with ultraviolet light, but unknowingly gave him the light necessary for his Super Aja-embedded stone mask to trigger and transform him into the ultimate life form.
Taking the Super Aja while running off, Joseph steals one of the Germans' airplanes to lead Kars away while devising a strategy to defeat him. Joseph then assumed he could kill Kars using the planet: namely crashing the plane with Kars on it into a volcano. Though it appears Kars is dead while sinking into the magma, the Pillar Man evolved a continuous and inorganic porous material to protect himself while digging his way out and slicing Joseph's arm off. When all seemed lost, Joseph unconsciously defends himself from Kars' enhanced Ripple by having the Super Aja redirect the attack into the ground. This causes an eruption that blasts the land the two fighters are on into the air, with Joesph distracting Kars long enough to be knocked out of Earth's orbit by debris. But gravity runs its course and Stroheim assumes Joseph dead at sea near Italy.
Weeks later, a funeral is held for the presumably-dead Joseph, but Joseph himself crashes the event and reveals that after he fell back down from the sky, he ended up in Italy where he was helped by some local fisherman and nursed back to health by Suzi Q and later marries her. Joseph then returned to America to find his friends bewildered and shocked; he comes to the realization that Suzi Q had evidently forgotten to telegram them reassuring his survival.
Years later, Joseph, at the age of 67, bumps into a Japanese man in JFK Airport. While he initially apologized for bumping into him, Joseph realized the man's nationality and kicks him. Joseph then subsequently explains his hatred of the Japanese due to one marrying his daughter and convincing her to move to Japan. In contrast, Joseph is content with his Japanese-made Sony Walkman and after putting his headphones on, he boards a plane to Japan.
Stardust Crusaders (1987-88)
|“||Oh! My! God!||”|
—Joseph Joestar's catchphrase for the majority of Part III
Joseph's daughter, Holy had apparently called him to Japan to help her son Jotaro, who had landed himself in a holding cell and refused to leave - claiming to be possessed by an evil spirit. Joseph arrives at the compound and at first, demands Jotaro leave his cell. The latter ignores the request and uses the evil spirit to tear the little finger off Joseph's prosthetic hand. With no other choice, Joseph, in conjunction with his Egyptian companion, Muhammad Avdol, force Jotaro to unleash his "Stand" and trick him out of his cell. Jotaro admits his loss, and the group returns home where Joseph explains the manifestation of their Stands is due to the recent awakening of the Joestar Family's arch-nemesis, DIO.When Holy develops a Stand which starts to leech away at her life, Joseph spearheads the effort to help her. Utilizing Hermit Purple, he tries to discern DIO's location (believing that by killing Dio, Holy's Stand would disappear) - and is successful, thanks to Jotaro's Star Platinum noticing a fly in the background of the resulting photograph. Joseph, Jotaro, Avdol and newly joined companion, Kakyoin soon leave for Egypt by plane. During the flight, the group is attacked by an enemy Stand user whom is defeated fairly easily, but manages to kill the plane's pilots. Joseph is forced to take the wheel (despite having crashed a plane twice before) and manages to successfully land it 35 km off the coast of Hong Kong.
Arriving in Hong Kong, the group discussed their status over a meal. With Joseph's suggestion, the group decides to take a sea route through the Indian Sea that should get them to Egypt within 50 days. After inviting a random French tourist to their table, Joseph ordered the group some strange delicacies by mistake due to his inability to read Japanese Kanji. The french tourist, named Jean Pierre Polnareff, ends up impaling Joseph's prosthetic hand and quickly revealed himself to be one of DIO's men. At the Tiger Balm Garden, Avdol faced off against Polnareff's Stand, Silver Chariot. After defeating him, Avdol recognized Polnareff's chivalrous ways and chose not to kill him. Jotaro then quickly removed Polnareff's flesh bud, just as he did with Kakyoin. At the dock, Polnareff asks Joseph about his prosthetic hand and decides to joins the group on their quest soon after.
The Joestar Group takes a private boat manned by men from the Speedwagon Foundation, however although Captain Tennille, who commands the ship, is discovered as an impostor and working for DIO, the impostor manages to sabotage the boat, forcing Joseph, his companions and the crew to evacuate. They then encounter a deserted ship on which they go aboard, but the ship begins to attack them all, disabling Joseph and the rest of the Joestar Group save Jotaro who defeats the user of the ship Stand, an orangutan.
The group is eventually rescued and arrives in Singapore, where they go rest at a luxurious hotel. In his room, Joseph receives a phone call from Polnareff who warns him about a Stand user which Avdol explains could be Rubber Soul, a mercenary working for DIO. Although Joseph tries to gather everyone to stay safe, the threat is dealt with before everyone can meet. Joseph takes the opportunity of using the television set in his room to gather more information about their enemies, he only manages to receives a warning against Kakyoin and briefly spies on DIO before DIO psychically spots him and shoos him away.
Terror In India
Joseph and his companions arrive in Calcutta, India, where Joseph discovers that his preconceptions are actually true, as he is swarmed by beggars and the dirty street are full of the diseased and the homeless. Polnareff separates from the group in search for his sister's murderer. Joseph and Jotaro search for him across the town, but when they learn that Avdol was wounded, decides to keep his survival a secret in order to operate more freely. Joseph and Jotaro then stumble upon a fleeing Hol Horse, one of DIO's henchmen. Although Hol Horse is surrounded, the timely intervention of a girl named Nena who pins Polnareff down allows Hol Horse to escape. Joseph is splattered with a drop of Nena's blood on his arm during the struggle. However, a strange swelling appears where his arm was splattered. In Varanasi, Joseph's swelling grew so much that he decides to have it treated. However, the swelling is revealed to be the Stand Empress which grows into a miniature humanoid attached to its arm. Empress kills a doctor and makes Joseph appear as the culprit, forcing him to run throughout the town. However, Joseph manages to dispose of Empress with his Hermit Purple and kills Nena.  The Joestar Group then buy a car in order to travel to Pakistan. On their way, they are attacked by a car, revealed as the Stand Wheel of Fortune, but Jotaro manages to defeat the enemy Stand and its user.
In Pakistan, the Joestar Group enters a foggy village where everyone is unwelcoming and unsuspicious. Joseph, trying to jump on his car in order to drive away, finds himself falling on the spikes of a barrier and nearly impales himself. However Enya the Hag, disguising as a gentle hotel owner, welcomes the group in their hotel. Enya eventually reveals herself but is swiftly defeated. However, Joseph decides to keep Enya in order to interrogate her later. The group eventually arrives in Karachi, where Steely Dan kills Enya before she can reveal anything and subdues Joseph by having his Stand Lovers infiltrate his brain. Thus Joseph perceives tenfold whatever pain Steely Dan feels, and the group cannot harm Steely Dan. Joseph flees alongside Polnareff and Kakyoin while Jotaro is humiliated by Steely Dan, but Kakyoin and Polnareff shrink their Stands in order to fight Lovers directly inside Joseph's brain while Hermit Purple allows them to see inside it. Lovers and Steely Dan are eventually defeated.
In Arabia, Joseph decides to cross the desert with camels. However, their attempt to cross it is thwarted when they are attacked by the Sun Stand. Jotaro manages to make a shelter against the Sun, but everyone is trapped. Joseph, trying to find a solution, sees his companions laugh maniacally and thinks that they are suffering from dementia. It turns out that Joseph was the last to spot their enemy's ridiculous hiding spot. Arabia Fats is swiftly defeated.
Joseph and his companions stop by a village and buy a Cessna in order to fly across the desert, with a baby. However, Kakyoin has a nightmare in the middle of the flight and becomes so agitated Joseph crashes. Although everyone survives, they are stranded in the desert. Kakyoin, suspicious of the baby, is knocked down and everyone goes to sleep, where they are attacked by Death Thirteen. Fortunately, Kakyoin manages to defeat the Stand as he summoned Hierophant Green.
The Red Sea
Joseph and his companions reach the Red Sea, where they go meet Avdol's father, in fact, Avdol who was secretly disguised in order to buy a submarine. The Joestar Group now reunited use the submarine to cross the sea. They are attacked by High Priestess and forced to evacuate the sinking submarine, but High Priestess fuses with the bedrock and transforms into a gigantic face which swallows everyone. However, Jotaro destroys High Priestess and everyone reaches Egypt.
In Egypt, Joseph and the Joestar Group meets with men from the Speedwagon Foundation who provide supplies, give them the Stand user dog Iggy, and inform them of the Egypt 9 Glory Gods, nine other henchmen DIO kept up his sleeves. The first of the Egypt 9 Glory Gods, N'Doul, manages to injure Kakyoin and Avdol. However the combined efforts of Jotaro and Iggy manages to prevail.
Kakyoin is given to the care of local doctors, and although Jotaro is acting strange, nothing unusual happens.
Joseph is attacked by Mariah and her Stand Bastet and becomes magnetized alongside Avdol. Having every metallic object attracted to them is a huge handicap, but Joseph manages to surround Mariah with Avdol and uses her power to his advantage by having himself and Avdol collide with each other, crushing Mariah.
After receiving a call from the Speedwagon Foundation, Joseph informs everyone that Holy had only four or five days left to live. In order to speed things up, they then take a train from Luxor to Cairo.
(The information in this section derives from a Light Novel not written by Araki. As such, it may or may not be considered canon.)
Joseph appears in the Genesis of Universe novel in both chapters, where he is kept captive in Satanic Coupler with Avdol, but when he is rescued by the rest of the group, Joseph helps defeat the locomotive Stand. He throws his metallic hand in Satanic Coupler's way, stopping it on its tracks. He also saves Jotaro from The Scribe Ani, damaging his Stand, Ptah.
In Cairo, Joseph has taken a photograph of DIO's Mansion, but everyone he interrogates doesn't recognize it. One man named Daniel J. D'Arby lures the Joestar Group into a gambling session, where he steals Polnareff's soul. Determined to save Polnareff, Joseph challenges D'Arby to a game where each have to put coins into a glass nearly full of liquor and whoever makes the glass spill loses. Although Joseph tries to cheat, he is outsmarted by Daniel, and loses his souls. Fortunately, Jotaro manages to win everyone back.
During several days, Joseph's search continues, but it is Iggy who guides everyone toward DIO's Mansion.
Battle in DIO's Mansion
The Joestar Group is welcomed by Telence T. D'Arby, the butler of the mansion, who forcibly drags Jotaro, Joseph and Kakyoin into a void. The trio finds themselves on an island in the middle of the sea where Telence challenges them to video games. Kakyoin loses the game and his soul, but Jotaro and Joseph cheat together in order to win the second round. When Jotaro pummels Telence, Telence is propelled through the fake sky of the underground room.
Not out of the cellar yet, Joseph, Kakyoin and Jotaro notice that another battle is taking place as they try to escape.
Joseph, Jotaro and Kakyoin meet Nukesaku, a vampire, and bully him into indicating where DIO is. They decide to flank DIO from the outside of the building, breaking through a wall to enter a second time, and interrupt Polnareff and DIO's clash. Joseph alongside everyone follows Nukesaku to the room where DIO sleeps, but Nukesaku somehow is teleported inside a the coffin in the middle of the room, and Joseph, sniffing an ambush, flees through a window with the rest of the party. As the sun sets, Joseph decides that they flee because fighting the vampire without the slightest hint of his power is suicidal. He and Kakyoin flee first whereas Polnareff and Jotaro wait in ambush in order to follow DIO.
The Final Battle
DIO pursues Joseph and Kakyoin, who have bought a truck and are trying to drive away from him. At the same time, Kakyoin tries to attack DIO, without results, but notices that DIO's Stand The World is similar to Jotaro's. DIO sends a bystander crash into the truck, forcing Joseph to stop driving and instead hop across the roofs of Cairo.
However Kakyoin devises a plan to force DIO to use his power openly. DIO stops time, taking everyone by surprises and punches through Kakyoin. However Kakyoin manages to tip off Joseph about the true nature of The World. Joseph manages to decypher the cryptic message Kakyoin leaves in regards to DIO's power and even figures out some of The World's weaknesses, but DIO is too strong anyway.
Joseph is stabbed through the throat and taken out as he meets with Jotaro and warns him against The World. Later DIO sucks the entirety of Joseph's blood to power himself up, and Joseph seemingly dies, his specter talking one last time to Jotaro, who manages to kill DIO.
The Long Journey Ends
Jotaro and Polnareff's injuries were dealt with by the Speedwagon Foundation. Since DIO had taken much of Joseph's blood, Jotaro asked for a blood transfusion from DIO's body to Joseph's. After using Star Platinum to restart Joseph's heartbeat, the transfusion began. The shriveled-up body that Joseph had after losing so much blood began returning to his normal muscular figure and Joseph fully revived. Joseph uses the opportunity and plays a joke on Jotaro, claiming to be DIO possessing Joseph's body which nearly causes Jotaro to attack him. Luckily Joseph is spared a beating by claiming it was a joke.
Later, Jotaro and Joseph took the remainder DIO's body outside, where it evaporated with the rising sun. They then gave one final moment of thought for Kakyoin, Iggy, and Avdol.
At the airport, Joseph and Jotaro gave a final goodbye to Polnareff, who was finally ready to return to his home country of France. Joseph asks Polnareff to come with him to America, knowing that the latter had no one waiting for him back home. Polnareff refused the offer, stating that despite being alone, France was his homeland. The trio gave their final goodbyes and left, promising to see one another again someday. In Japan, Holy awoke fully healed and freed from the curse. Even miles away, she knew her son and father were coming home.
Post Stardust Crusaders
During the next 10 years Joseph became a shadow of his former self. He had gallstone surgery, suffered cataracts, wore dentures, needed a cane to walk, and had gone a little senile.
During this time he gained a great-granddaughter named Jolyne Cujoh, but it is unknown if they have interacted with each other.
He learns he has an illegitimate son and writes him in his will. Unfortunately for Joseph, Suzi Q hears about this and is angry. In an attempt to get a picture of him using Hermit Purple, he discovers an ominous figure in the photos instead and Jotaro decides to go to Morioh to investigate.
Diamond is Unbreakable (1999)
Jotaro travels to Morioh upon discovering that Joseph has an illegitimate son there named Josuke. Joseph ultimately also ends up traveling to Morioh to help localize Akira Otoishi, though he has aged, can no longer walk without a cane, wears spectacles, is hard of hearing, and isn't nearly as athletic as he used to be. He seems to have lost the use of his Ripple abilities, though this may be due to his age causing him to be incapable of sustaining the required breathing techniques for it. He is still able to use Hermit Purple, however. Joseph serves a supporting role as a result, and isn't involved in the majority of battles in this part.
At one point, he discovers an "invisible baby" which turns out to be the Stand user of Achtung Baby. When the baby's carriage becomes invisible as well and rolls down a hill to land in a pool, Josuke panics about not being able to locate the baby in the water. Joseph, however, cuts himself to stain the water with his blood, thus allowing Josuke to find the baby. He says he did it because he wanted to make Josuke proud. By the end, Joseph adopts the baby and named her Shizuka - this, however, leads to further conflict with his wife Suzi Q, who believes the baby to be another "secret child."
Stone Ocean (2012)
In an interview with Eiichiro Funakoshi, Araki describes Joseph to be "likely still alive, albeit a little dumber." Though he does not appear in Part 6, this would put him in his 90's during its events.