Quentin Tarantino was one of his biggest fans!

Sonny Chiba, martial arts expert and legend of Japanese cinema, died of complications related to Covid-19 at the age of 82, we learned from his agent on Thursday.

“Sonny passed away yesterday from Covid-19… He was a great friend and a great customer.

Such a humble, caring and friendly man, ”said his representative, Timothy Beal.

A karate expert

Born Sadaho Maeda in 1939 in Fukuoka, in southwestern Japan, Sonny Chiba devoted himself to a large number of martial arts in the 1960s, notably becoming an expert in karate, his favorite discipline.

He became a very prolific actor in Japanese films and series, with some 125 performances for the famous Toei studios which had won him in a competition for new talents.

The star of the "The Street Fighter" trilogy

In the wake of Bruce Lee's worldwide success, Sonny Chiba had distinguished himself outside of Japan with an ultra-violent henchman character in

The Street Fighter

trilogy

.

His performance had marked Quentin Tarantino in his youth and the American director had called on Sonny Chiba to play in

Kill Bill

Hattori Hanzo, the samurai converted into a cook who forges a sword to help Uma Thurman achieve his revenge.

In 2006, the Japanese actor also appeared in

Justin Lin's

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift

.

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