Japanese actor and martial arts legend Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba, known for his roles in “Kill Bill” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” died on Thursday of COVID complications at age 82. Chiba’s career in film and television spanned from the 1960s through the 2010s, in projects where he showcased his expert martial arts skills.
Born Sadaho Maeda in Fukuoka, Japan, Chiba starred in his first martial arts film, “Karate Kiba,” in 1973. His breakout role came in 1974’s “The Street Fighter,” but Chiba rose to even greater fame in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Volume 1″ playing Hattori Hanzo, a retired swordsman and owner of a sushi restaurant. He also appeared in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” as Kamata, a Yakuza boss and uncle of the main antagonist, Takashi.
Before the pandemic, Chiba was set to star in a film titled “Outbreak Z,” alongside Jesse Ventura and Wesley Snipes. “Bond of Justice: Kizuna” will be his final, posthumous film role.
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