The Japanese martial arts master and actor, Sonny Chiba, has died of the complications of Covid-19 at the age of 82, his agent said on Thursday.
Sonny Chiba is known for his performance in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.”
“Sonny died yesterday from Covid-19,” his agent Timothy Beal said. “Such tragic news. He was a great friend and an awesome client. Such a humble, caring and friendly man.”
Born in the southwest of Japan in 1939, Sadaho Maeda became a martial arts student and kept learning it throughout the 1960s, ending up becoming a specialist in karate.
His unique martial arts capabilities won him several roles in Japanese films and the television series, notably at the very well-known Toei Studio that found him out in a competition meant to search for new talent.
In the wake of the worldwide fame of Bruce Lee, Chiba established himself as a martial arts expert-cum-actor in the trilogy of “The Street Fighter” outside Japan.
This performance impressed a young Tarantino who later would cast him into playing samurai-turned chief Hattori Hanzo, who forges a sword to help Uma Thurman get retribution in the Hollywood hit flick, “Kill Bill.”
Also in 2006, Chiba played a role in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”.
“Outbreak Z,” the zombie movie with Wesley Snipes, was his next project to work on, said Beal.