Sonny Chiba Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Net Worth, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Sonny Chiba? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Sonny Chiba?

Shinichi Chiba, 22 January 1939 – 19 August 2021, known internationally as Sonny 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.

Actor And Martial Arts Legend Sonny Chiba Has Died At 82

Sonny Chiba died on Thursday at age 82, his management company announced. His friend Ryuji Yamakita, the director and producer of Chiba’s final film, confirmed he died in a hospital in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, following complications from COVID-19.

Sonny Chiba was a prolific actor in Japanese film and TV, working closely with the famed production company Toei. His fame broadened with the international release of The Street Fighter, a bloody trudge through the Japanese underground that upon its American release was billed as having the “first X-rated fight scenes in screen history.” The movie lived up to its press hype, with Sonny Chiba brute-forcing his way through nameless bad guys. (Be warned that in the clip below, Chiba punches out an opponent’s teeth).

Sonny Chiba’s “The Street Fighter” Collection

Sonny Chiba Biography, Wiki

Sonny hiba was born in Fukuoka, Japan, the third of five children. His father was a pilot for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service; his mother, originally from Kumamoto Prefecture, had competed in track and field in her youth.[9] When he was four years old, his father was transferred to Kisarazu, Chiba, and the family moved to Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture.[10]

After Sonny Chiba went to junior high school in Kimitsu, the physical education teacher advised him to do artistic gymnastics. He also was passionate about track and field sports, baseball, and volleyball. He participated in those four sports championships of Chiba Prefecture. In high school, Chiba dedicated himself to artistic gymnastics and won the National Sports Festival of Japan while in his third year. He enjoyed watching movies, including Western movies such as Shane and High Noon.

Sonny Chiba went to the Nippon Sport Science University in 1957. He was a serious candidate for a place in the Japanese Olympic team in his late teens until he was sidelined by a back injury. While he was a university student, he began studying martial arts with the renowned Kyokushin Karate master Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama (whom he later portrayed in a trilogy of films), which led to a first-degree black belt on 15 October 1965, later receiving a fourth-degree on 20 January 1984.

Sonny Chiba Biography
Sonny Chiba
BornSadaho Maeda, 22 January 1939, Fukuoka, Japan
Died19 August 2021 (aged 82), Kimitsu, Japan
OccupationActor, martial artist
Years active1960–2021
Spouse(s)Yōko Nogiwa​​(m. 1972; div. 1994)​
Tamami Chiba​​(m. 1996; div. 2015)​
ChildrenJuri Manase
Mackenyu
Gordon Maeda
Websitewww.chibashinichi.com

Sonny Chiba Career

With his martial arts proficiency in karate, judo & kenpo, Sonny Chiba was in the box seat to take advantage of the early 1970s martial arts boom commenced by Chinese superstar Bruce Lee, and Chiba starred in the brutal and uncompromising The Street Fighter (1974) (aka “The Streetfighter”).

The film has Chiba playing a mercenary style, street thug who will do anything for a price, and take on most anyone, including the Japanese Yakuza. The approach of the film was quite different from the Bruce Lee films in that Lee only eliminated his enemies when he was defending his friends or his honor.

Quite the opposite, Chiba was only after a fistful of dollars for his deadly services and would engage in mortal combat for the highest bidder, although this often clouded his judgement to his own detriment. The only person “The Street Fighter” respects is his martial arts teacher, the short rotund, karate master “Masaoko” played by Masafumi Suzuki, who manages to easily out smart and out fight the frustrated Chiba!

Upon its release, the film was roundly criticised for its excessive violence, including the amazing finale where a lethal blow to the ringleader’s skull is shown in x-ray on screen. Fans didn’t care, and they flocked in their thousands to see this economically made, yet eye catching chop socky spectacular.

A sequel quickly followed with him back again in the messy production Return of the Street Fighter (1974) (aka “Return of The Streetfighter”), which was followed by a third Streetfighter movie also starring female martial arts dynamo Etsuko Shihomi in the gritty Sister Street Fighter (1974) (aka “Sister Street Fighter”), and then the fourth and final film in the series _Gyakushu Satsujin ken (1974)_ (aka “The Street Fighters Last Revenge”), which was arguably the best of all the sequels.

Sonny Chiba had firmly established himself as a key anti-hero of Asian martial arts cinema who said little, and used his fists to sort out his troubles. With the demand high from keen action fans, he remained remarkably busy on screen for the next twenty years starring in numerous Japanese film & TV productions with an emphasis on bruising fights, samurai swords, Yakuza gangsters and pretty girls in trouble.

Outside of Japan, the “Street Fighter” series of films has achieved enduring popularity through many midnight cult screenings, and their style heavily influenced a youthful indie filmaker named Quentin Tarantino.

Tarantino has used strong references and imagery from the “Street Fighter” movies in several of his films including True Romance (1993) and _Pulp Fiction (1995)_. And when Tarantino came around to casting his mammoth Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) project, he was awed to have Chiba accept the key role of the hot headed, and sometimes humourous, Okinawan sword maker “Hattori Hanzo.

Sonny Chiba has undoubtedly been a major figure and ongoing influence in the worldwide passion for martial arts movies for over thirty years, and he continues to actively contribute to the genre by encouraging & training young hopefuls seeking to make their mark on screen.

Sony Chiba Personal Life

Sonny Chiba with children
Sonny Chiba with children

Chiba divorced his first wife, actress Yōko Nogiwa, with whom he had a daughter, Juri Manase, who is also an actress. He had two sons from his second marriage to Tamami Chiba. Their children Mackenyu Arata and Gordon are actors.

His younger brother, Jirō Yabuki (also known as Jiro Chiba), was also an actor.

Sonny Chiba Martial Arts Ranks

Sonny Chiba held black belts in the following martial arts:

  • Kyokushin Karate: 4th Dan
  • Ninjutsu: 4th Dan
  • Goju-ryu karate: 2nd Dan
  • Shorinji Kempo: 2nd Dan
  • Judo: 2nd Dan
  • Kendo: 1st Dan

Sonny Chiba Net Worth

According to Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb & Various Online resources, famous Movie Actor Sonny Chiba’s net worth is $1 – $5 Million at the age of 80 years old. He earned the money being a professional Movie Actor.

Who was Sonny Chiba?

Shinichi Chiba, 22 January 1939 – 19 August 2021, known internationally as Sonny 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.

How did Sonny Chiba die?

Sonny Chiba died on Thursday at age 82, his management company announced. His friend Ryuji Yamakita, the director and producer of Chiba’s final film, confirmed he died in a hospital in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, following complications from COVID-19.

What is Sonny Chiba’s net worth?

Sonny Chiba has an estimated net worth of $1 – $5 Million.

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