Sonny Chiba, Star of the Wuxia Classic “Storm Riders” Dies at 82 from Covid-19

Shinichi Chiba

Japanese action star Shinichi Chiba, also known as Sonny Chiba, passed away from Covid-19 on August 19, 2021.

Whilst the star was very much known in the Japanese film industry, Chinese audiences got to know him as Lord Conqueror in the 1998 Hong Kong wuxia classic Storm Riders, starring alongside superstar Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng and later in the 2002 TV adaptation Wind and Cloud 风云 where he also reprised his role. International audiences might know him more as retired swordsman and sushi restaurant owner Hattori Hanzo who forged a blade for Uma Thurman in Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1. Likewise, you might have also caught a glimpse of Mr. Chiba as Yakuza boss Kamata in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

2002 TV series Wind and Cloud

As news of his passing spread, his colleague – Chinese martial arts actor Vincent Zhao who starred alongside Mr. Chiba in Wind and Cloud wrote a short tribute to his co-star to remember him by. Quoting a line from the movie Storm Riders, Vincent wrote: “When the Wind and Cloud combine, the Fish with Golden Scales becomes a Dragon”. The past will be vividly remembered. “Xiongba” is no more. Rest in Peace.”

Vincent Zhao pays tribute to his co-star Shinichi Chiba
Vincent Zhao pays tribute to his co-star Shinichi Chiba

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