R.I.P. Actor and Martial Arts Legend Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba
The 'Kill Bill' and 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' star was 82
Published Aug 19, 2021Sonny Chiba — Japanese martial arts master and renowned actor — has died today of COVID-19 complications, as confirmed to Variety by his agent and manager. He was 82.
With an onscreen career spanning five decades, Chiba appeared in innumerable Japanese titles. He's perhaps best known for his role as Hattori Hanzo in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1, as well as for playing Takashi's uncle in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Beginning his endeavour into acting in 1960, Chiba went on to choreograph many fight scenes later in his film and television career. He studied karate under master Masutatsu "Mas" Oyama, earning a first-degree black belt in 1965. He received his fourth-degree black belt in 1984 and also held black belts in judo, ninjutsu, goju-ryu karate, kendo and shorinji kempo.
Chiba's international breakout role was 1974's The Street Fighter. Prior to the pandemic, he was set to star in Outbreak Z alongside Wesley Snipes. His final posthumous role will be in Bond of Justice: Kizuna.