Martial Arts Legend and 'Kill Bill' Actor Sonny Chiba Dead at 82

Chiba also appeared in ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.’

Entertainment
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Japanese actor and martial arts legend Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba has died due to COVID complications at the age of 82.

The actor who has been in the film and television industry for five decades between the 1960s and the 2010s, starred in roles for noteworthy American films including Kill Bill and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. His career spanned across Japan and the U.S. as he took on projects that showcased his martial arts skills. He later went on to choreograph elaborate fight scenes later on in his career.

Chiba studied under karate master Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama and earned his first-degree black belt in 1965. In the 1970s, he starred in a trilogy of films, playing Oyama in Champion of Death, Karate Bearfighter and Karate for Life. Throughout his illustrious film career, he was stable able to maintain black belts in ninjutsu, shorinji kempo, judo, kendo and goju-ryu karate.

Chiba notably played Hattori Hanzo in Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill: Volume 1 film. Hanzo was a retired swordsman who owned a sushi restaurant and crafts a blade for Uma Thurman’s main character. In The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, he appeared as Kamata, a Yakuza boss and uncle of the main antagonist, Takashi. Prior to the pandemic, Chiba was also set to star in Outbreak Z alongside Wesley Snipes and Jesse Ventura.

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