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Sonny Chiba

1939-01-23 - 2021-08-19

Sonny Chiba (born January 23, 1939 - August 19, 2021), also known as Shin'ichi Chiba, was a Japanese actor and martial artist. Chiba was one of the first actors to achieve stardom through his skills in martial arts, initially in Japan and later before an international audience. Born in Fukuoka, Chiba played a variety of sports in high school, including baseball and volleyball. He also practiced gymnastics and participated at the National Sports Festival of Japan in his third year. When he was a university student, he learned martial arts, earning a black belt in Kyokushin Karate in 1965 and later receiving a fourth degree in 1984. Chiba's career began in the 1960s, when he starred in two tokusatsu superhero shows. In his first role, he replaced Susumu Wajima as the main character Kōtarō Ran/Seven Color Mask in Seven Color Mask (Nana-iro Kamen) in the second half of the series. However, his breakthrough role was in the 1974 film The Street Fighter. Before retiring, Chiba had also appeared in a number of English language American films, including Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift (2006). Chiba died of COVID-19 complications at the hospital in Tokyo on 19 August 2021, at the age of 82. Description above from the Wikipedia article Sonny Chiba, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.