By 1970, he had started his own training school for aspiring martial arts film actors known as J.A.C (Japan Action Club), and in 1973, in the wake of the international craze for such films started by Bruce Lee, he returned to the screen himself as an actor. Chiba's breakthrough international hit was The Street Fighter (1974), which established him as the reigning Japanese martial arts actor in international cinema for the next two decades.
His subsequent hits included such pictures as Bullet Train (1975), Karate Warriors (1976), Doberman Cop (1977), and The Assassin (1977). He also occasionally returned to the science fiction genre, in movies such as Message From Space (1978). Chiba was even busier in the 1980s, doing dozens of movies as well as making forays into television, and with roles in such high profile adventures as the popular Hong Kong comic-based Movie: The Storm Riders (1998), starring alongside Ekin Cheng, the then Prince Of Pop-Culture of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Heavenly Pop Prince Aaron Kwok. His fame in Japan remained unabated into the 1990s.
In his '50s, the actor resumed working under the name Shinichi Chiba when he served as a choreographer of martial arts sequences. At the dawn of the 21st century, Chiba was as busy as ever in feature films and also starring in his own series in Japan. Roles in Takashi Miike's Deadly Outlaw: Rekka and directors Kenta and Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale II effectively bridged the gap between modern day and yesteryear cinematic cult legends, Chiba's enduring onscreen career received a fitting tribute when he appeared in a key role as Hattori Hanzo in director Quentin Tarantino's bloody revenge epic Kill Bill in 2003.
Chiba has starred in more than 125 films for Toei Studios and has won numerous awards in Japan for his acting. In November 2007, he announced the retirement of the stage name Shinichi Chiba and will now be known (in Japan) as as an actor and as a director.
Samuel L. Jackson's character in the movie Pulp Fiction recites a creed partly based on Ezekiel 25:17, beginning, "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities (sic) of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men," and ending, "...and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee." This creed was originally used as the opening scroll in the Sonny Chiba movie, Karate Kiba (English title: The Bodyguard), substituting the words, "...and they shall know that I am Chiba the Bodyguard...," in the above passage
SHOWBIZ: Kill Bill Vol 2 Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivica A Fox, Sonny Chiba, Samuel L Jackson, Lucy Liu, Gordon Liu
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Apr 23, 2004; Byline: Damon Smith THE second half of Quentin Tarantino's eagerly anticipated martial arts epic begins with a whimper and ends...