Takeshita is an easy number 2 for the following reasons. Shortest player on the team and a setter to get that team where it was winning medals. 32 years without a World Championship medal. Olympics 28 years. Doing it with 159 cm (5 ft 4 in) setter.
Basically thrown under the bus for not qualifying in 2000 by the press, not by her coach but the press. Essentially retiring 2 years later from the sport. Coming back and improving her skills and getting the Japanese women to the heights that they did with her as the starter.
Saori Kimura will always be number one, but Saori loved Takeshita as her teammate. Saori was quirky, but had a smile that was genuine. Takeshita did not give you much, but after London, she’s crying and hugging at 1:30. This to me is her saying to all of her doubters, I poured my soul into this and I nearly gave up on myself. I am enjoying the effort that resulted in this bronze. She immediately retired after this match. There was no, thank you Yoshie tour that Saori Kimura got in 2016-2017. And I love me some Saori Kimura, but she doesn’t get to the heights without Yoshie right by her side.
Also look at this video
In 2016 many of the younger players wanted to play with Kimura because she had been there so long.
I absolutely have the utmost respect for Takeshita and I agree with everything you said about her playing an integral part to Japan's NT. If we're talking legacy, then she would certainly take top spot along with Sano and Kimura. However if we're talking popularity-wise I don't think she would be at No. 2. The press didn't exactly milk her image, like they did with Kimura and when Miyu came along she managed to steal everyone else except Kimura's thunder and people ate it. That ace title she had going back then pretty much put her forward to an extent so I do think Nagaoka would still take 2nd.
Here during a show with Ebata, Kimura, Sakoda and Shinnabe
There was that show with Naomi Masuko and Kaoru Sugayama where they were talking about the rise of female volleyball players and they mentioned Miyu as one of the players with the biggest hype