Martial Arts Legend and ‘Kill Bill’ Actor Sonny Chiba Dies at 82

August 20, 2021

Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba, the Japanese actor and martial arts legend best known internationally for starring in ‘Kill Bill: Volume1 and Volume 2’ as well as ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ died Thursday from complications caused by COVID-19, his manager said. He was 82.
Born Sadaho Maeda in Fukuoka, Japan on Jan. 22, 1939, Chiba took up martial arts when he began attending Nippon Sport Science University in 1957, studying Kyokushin Karate under Master Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama and earning a first-degree black belt in 1965, as noted by his IMDb bio. He would later go on to portray Oyama in a trilogy of films (Champion of Death, Karate Bearfighter, and Karate for Life). In 1984, he received a fourth-degree black belt. He also held black belts in Ninjutsu, Goju-ryu Karate, Shorinji Kempo, Judo, and Kendo.
Chiba’s career in film and television spanned five decades, Variety reported. He appeared in numerous Japanese films and popular American movies, including ‘The Street Fighter,’ ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ and ‘Bullet Train’, according to Chiba’s biography on IMDb.com. He also appeared in both of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, CNN reported.
Chiba is survived by his three children, actors Juri Manase, Mackenyu Arata, and Gordon Maeda.

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