Actor Sonny Chiba passed away in Kimitsu City, Chiba, on August 19th due to pneumonia brought on by a coronavirus infection. The actor’s agency announced the actor’s passing at 82.
According to his agency, Chiba was hospitalized on August 8th with pneumonia after having contracted the coronavirus at the end of July.
Sonny Chiba is remembered by many as one of the greatest Japanese action stars of all time. The actor was in numerous works that garnered international praise, including The Street Fighter movie series. Chiba found renewed international fame after appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series of movies.
Chiba made his debut at the age of 19 in 1959, starring in Seven Color Mask, Toei’s first superhero TV show, making him one of Japan’s first live action superheroes. Chiba would also go on to play Ogon Bat in 1966. The character of Ogon Bat is considered by many to be the world’s first superhero, tracing its origins back to the 1930s.
The actor also appeared in 1982’s Uchu Keiji Gavan, the first series in Toei’s Metal Hero franchise, where he played a pivotal character in the show’s end game.
Additionally, Chiba was also the creator of JAC, the Japan Action Club (known today as the Japan Action Enterprise), who Toei have used for many of their tokusatsu TV hero productions over the decades, including Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.
Sonny Chiba’s brother, Jiro Chiba, played Kazuya Taki in the original Kamen Rider series from 1971. Chiba was also the father of various actors, including Arata Mackenyu, who appeared in the Kamen Rider Drive film, Surprise Drive, as Eiji Tomari, the lead character’s son from the future. Mackenyu would also go on to play a main character in the live action movie adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable.
Source: Yahoo! Japan