Japanese Action Star Shinichi Chiba Dies at 82

Society Culture

Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)--Japanese action star Shinichi Chiba, who was known as Sonny Chiba overseas, died at a hospital in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Thursday. He was 82.

Chiba, whose real name was Sadaho Maeda, died after his pneumonia linked to COVID-19 worsened, according to his talent agency. He was hospitalized on Aug. 8 and had been receiving oxygen. Chiba did not get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Chiba, a native of Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, started his actor's career in the 1960s and became popular for his role in the "Key Hunter" television detective drama series, which started in 1968. He did stunts by himself.

He appeared in more than 1,000 films and dramas, including Quentin Tarantino's 2003 film "Kill Bill: Volume 1" and "Furin Kazan," a "taiga" historical drama series aired by NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., in 2007. Chiba also directed and produced films.

In 1969, Chiba established Japan Action Club, a talent and entertainment firm that trained such action stars as Hiroyuki Sanada, Etsuko Shihomi and Shinichi Tsutsumi.

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