Unfortunately, it was recently reported that Japanese actor and martial artist Sonny Chiba has died at age 82. This news was reported by CNN, who stated that Chiba lost his life due to complications with COVID-19.
Chiba was born in Fukuoka, Japan on January 22, 1939. Chiba’s birth name was Sadeho Maeda, and he also acted under the name Shinichi Chiba as well.
In Japan, Chiba had an extensive movie and television career which began in the 1960’s. One of his first roles was in a television show called Seven Color Mask. Throughout his career Sonny Chiba starred in many different martial arts movies. Many audiences will recognize Chiba for his roles in popular movies like Battle Royale II: Requiem in which he played Makio Mimura, Kill Bill Volume 1 in which he played the character Hanzō Hattori, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in which he played the character Boss Kamata, and many more. His performance in the 1974 movie The Street Fighter made him famous internationally. Chiba also appeared in the sequels of The Street Fight.
Not only was Chiba an excellent actor, but he was also a great martial artist. He earned his black belt in Ninjutsu, Goju-ryu karate, Shorinji Kemp, Judo, and Kendo.
He has a dedicated following in the film and martial arts community, many of whom have posted about their admiration for his work and character.
— Lewis Tan (@TheLewisTan) August 19, 2021
RIP, Sonny Chiba.
The sun goes down. pic.twitter.com/51S6UIABLK
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) August 19, 2021
— Michael Jai White (@MichaelJaiWhite) August 19, 2021
In 50 years on screen, Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba grew from actor to fight choreographer to legend. A black belt in six martial arts, he blended toughness with depth in films like “The Street Fighter,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/bmRzebbNlI
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 20, 2021